LOVAGE with DAN THE AUTOMATOR, KID KOALA, MIKE PATTON and JENNIFER CHARLES at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Tuesday (January 15). $22.50. 416-870-8000.
Dan "The Automator" Nakamura isn't one for thinking small.
Rather than simply cash in by making beats for MCs, the San Francisco hiphop DJ and producer prefers to work on massive concept records like the futuristic hiphop fusion of Deltron 3030 or Damon Albarn's cartoon band, Gorillaz.
Nakamura's Lovage project is a sequel to the high-concept Handsome Boy Modeling School set, and again reflects the DJ's unusual approach to beats as well as his phenomenal skill at getting interesting people to work together.
The project's slinky hiphop soul and frantic turntable cut-ups feature former Faith No More singer Mike Patton, Montreal wax addict Kid Koala, Elysian Fields crooner Jennifer Charles, hiphop architect Afrika Bambataa, Prince Paul, Albarn and Maseo of De La Soul. It's an amazing cast, but one that, on record at least, only gels occasionally and is weighed down by its hokey concept.
The real reason to go to Lovage's Toronto gig Tuesday at the Phoenix is to see what they manage to pull off onstage. Last year's live sets from the equally ambitious studio project Deltron 3030 turned out to be disappointing, with each member apparently operating in his own world.
Considering that all the members of Lovage have worked in proper bands before this, there's real hope that Nakamura's latest all-star cast can be more than simply the sum of its notable parts.