Public Works – February 15

Founded in 2011 by 2 DJs and sound engineers, Stavroz is an experimental take on jazz indie electronica. Ijsbrand and Gert produced music around their Balkan origins. They were soon after joined by friends Maxim and Pieter creating a 4-piece band for their studio productions and live performances. Their first EP, The Ginning, released on Delicieuse records, gained the band international traction ranking in the highest position on Hype machine while being awarded 2nd-best breakthrough artist in their hometown, Belgium. The EP is built on the foundations of dance music with an ethnic acoustic flair. The title track sits at 124 bpm bringing plenty of energy to an organic string melody that is complemented by a muffled trumpet and percussion. The percussion and bassline immediately engage one’s feet in continuous rhythm while the seamless, harmonic flow of guitar and trumpet engage the mind. The resulting sound creates an original piece purely characterizing the style of Stavroz.

The band recently performed at Public Works SF. This club concept was created as a hang out space for artists and dancers. Stripped down to the basics, a large hardwood dancefloor surrounds the DJ booth, creating an intimate feeling as dancers and performing artists interact. Stavroz has attracted a following from SF as club goers packed the dancefloor. They are a rare concept, rapidly gaining popularity as a fully live band with a dance music approach. The music starts at a low tempo as the drumlines build energy and people start dancing. Melodies from the guitar flow through the audience as hands dance through the air. The performance is unique because of the primal energy the band creates in the room. Pieter switches from a bass guitar to the saxophone bringing the energy and style of a punk rocker to his movements. In response, the atmosphere in the club escalates to a full blown rager. I could feel the intense movements and energy of people around me as beads of sweat dripped down the wide eyed smiling faces of clubgoers. The front row transformed into a mosh.

Their story is told through sound. No words were needed to convey emotions. Instead, dancers expressed jubilation through elated movements of the body coupled with persisting footsteps. Floating to a melancholic state, the last track starts. The Finishing is centered on the voice of a saxophone. As the percussion and bass breaks down, the melody expands into the heart of listeners evoking strong emotion across the dance-floor. This was a moment when listeners were suspended between a dream and reality. Through the last note of the trumpet, the audience swayed in unison and exercised a strong round of applause in standing ovation for an orchestral story told by Stavroz.  

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