The original lineup of Isaac and the Haze didn’t have anyone named Isaac in the band—then again, it wasn’t called Isaac and the Haze yet, either. There was a lot about the band that was very different in those early days.
In its earliest, pre-gig stages, it was a throwback deep-cuts soul cover band. Then Isaac Tayrien joined the band as the lead singer, and by the time the band booked its first show as Isaac and the Haze, it had already scrapped the old soul sound for modern R&B, pop and hip-hop hits. The response has been great.
“We wanted to play what the crowd wants to hear. What people want to hear are popular songs that get people out of their chairs and on the dance floor,” says bassist Kevin Enos. “We do some Michael [Jackson], some Prince and stuff, really not going further back than that.”
They sometimes even do straight-up rap tunes—ones that have a soulful sound—or they’ll mash together a popular rap song with the original soul song they are sampling (Like Kendrick Lamar’s “I” which samples the Isley Brothers’ “Who’s That Lady”). That way, they can squeeze just a little bit of the old soul music into their set. This all started when they heard the song “Feel Right” by Mark Ronson, which features rapping by Mystikal. Enos volunteered to do the rapping.
“None of us had rapped before, other than some karaoke. I’ve been a fan of hip-hop since the ’90s. I thought I’d give it a try, and it sounded good,” Enos says.
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, March 3. Crow’s Nest, 2218 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $6. 476-4560.