New Deal’s Kurtz celebrates 30th with Herbie Hancock 

The beat goes on with Toronto outfit

Who: New Deal

When: April 12 at GLC

When: April 13, 3- 6 p.m., at the WSSF mainstage

Does the musician life get much better?

Bassist Dan Kurtz of the New Deal doesn’t think so.

Kurtz spent his 30th birthday playing on tour with Herbie Hancock, whom he calls "a very mellow, cool guy." The New Deal opened for Hancock during a series of shows.

"I remember reading about singers in music magazines like Rolling Stone where it would say ‘Bono, 32’ and thought to myself ‘god, that guy looks so old!’" he laughs.

"Age 30 feels just like the beginning, and we’ve got a long way to go before the band feels like it’s getting old, or we’re tired."

The band liked that jazzmeister Hancock was doing something new for audiences.

"Herbie was making a point of doing something more avante, playing with kings of dub and electronica."

With the combination of Hancock’s new musical vein, accompanied by the New Deal sound, a younger audience was attracted to the shows.

The New Deal played the Hancock tour across major American cities, including New York and Chicago’s famed House of Blues.

"The room is impressive-looking, with different balcony levels and gilded finishings and paintings everywhere. It has a Louis XIV kind of feel, and the shape of the building (is akin to) the style of older architecture you can see in and around Chicago venues."

Touring, touring, touring.

"There can be a little stress when you only get four minutes to do a sound check when you’re opening for another band. But we put full trust in our sound guy Kevin. We haven’t had a show yet that sucked!" he exclaims.

Kurtz says New Deal drummer Darren Shearer tends to set the pace for their shows, but that the trio always communicates with each other – and the crowd.

"There’s a great degree of understanding among us, and we certainly have a fair amount of control and know what affects the crowd’s vibe," he says.

"We really ride on gut instinct on a number of songs, and because we don’t have a set, 10-song list the show never gets boring."

After an appearance in New Orleans on April 28, the band will head home to Toronto to begin work on their second album and set up a studio.

"I guess subconsciously we loaded a lot of touring at the front of the year, so we could go back for the summer and work on the album."

Grab new wave electronica tonight at the GLC and tomorrow afternoon at the Jim Beam Outdoor Concert Series, part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. The outdoor concert will also feature Seanski, Breakestra, and special guests.

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