Thursday, October 19, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Weekend show roundup!

I've got a Surplus 1980 rehearsal to attend in about an hour or so. Below, a brief roundup of this weekend's shows.

Surplus 1980-Classic Cars West, Oakland CA; 10/13/17
Riding over to Oakland from Richmond on Friday night, naturally my thoughts and prayers and sadness were directed toward Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties. The air was thick with smoke and ash, the news tragic and horrible. Such a bad week for this area. Thankfully, the vibe on 26th St. in Oakland was stony and festive, I guess mostly on account on it being a Friday night. Surplus 1980 were kind of in a weird spot, being sandwiched between the pure Electronic Music of Piano Rain and the Witch House of Religious Girls. I gather that this made some members of the group kind of nervous or out of sorts in a way. To quote Moe!, "one of these things is not like the others". Despite the nerves, I think that we sounded pretty good navigating our truncated set. It's always a drag to cut a set short, but time constraints made it a necessity to do so. I was happy to get through Temporarily Present again, gaff free, especially since I'd be mucking its changes up in rehearsal and practice all week. No such problems on Friday the 13th! Alright! Question After Ended Question came out pretty good, too, as did Motivated Song About Procrastination. Again, despite feeling a bit like the odd folks out, Surplus played pretty well, at least in my opinion. We donated any earned money to animal rescue groups in Sonoma. Religious Girls, with their swirling, percussive rainbow of sounds, are really great. It was their night, and I can absolutely see and hear why. Great band.

Crow Crash Radio-Free Oakland UP!, Oakland CA; 10/14/17
Compared to the previous evening's high strung feels, the quiet and care free action at Free Oakland UP! was in effect. Crow Crash Radio set up and breezed through about eight songs in two hours, stretching out their forms and going to whichever places they lead. It was a nice, airy couple of sets, to be sure. Whenever we play at Jocelyn's great shop/art project, we always have a relaxed, enjoyable time creating the soundtrack for people as they walk in and peruse the free stuff. We worked on a few new ideas and some purely improvised pieces, which was exciting. A fine way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon in Oakland.

Below: Moe! digs on his new drum kit at Classic Cars West; Moe! and Bill, guys that tune
Above: Crow Crash Radio surrounded by art and free stuff in Oakland



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Upcoming shows!

I will play a couple of gigs this weekend!

Surplus 1980
Classic Cars West
411 26th St.
Oakland 94612
6-10 PM
Religious Girls
Surplus 1980
Piano Rain
BS
$5
Surplus is scheduled to play at 8 PM.


Crow Crash Radio
Free Oakland UP!
2809 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland 94602
1-3 PM
Crow Crash Radio
Free

Looks like and Oakland-ish type of weekend for me, musically. 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Norcal Noisefest-Cafe Colonial, Sacramento CA; 10/8/17

What had seemingly promised to be a leisurely drive up I-80 to Sacramento was somewhat mentally fogged up by ominous winds and spooky haze. These were portents for both me and the region. In my personal case, hardly had I made it to the Capital City when I received a text from Andrew of Pure Finder, telling me that he'd had a major collapse in his gear and would not be able to play. As regards the Northern California region, the winds brought brutal fires to the region around Santa Rosa. Much of the news has been heartbreaking; indeed, one of the facilities of the company that I work for was razed.
Regarding Andrew's absence, I had to scramble a bit, but managed to put an ad hoc group together, with Ninah of Big City Orchestra/UB Radio and Shannon of Eurostache.  We dubbed ourselves the UB Alumni Asylum, as UB Radio Salon was the one common thread that we all seemed to share. Ninah played a mic'd cymbal, and Shannon played some digitally processed flute sounds and percussion. I stuck mostly to the waterphone. It was definitely a set that in which I flew blind. I can't recall what we sounded like, or even if my contact mics were working. Shannon and Ninah were both audible; they totally saved the day for me. Their perceptive, intuitive playing was really nice to hear. Noise trailblazer Monte Cazazza gave me a sweet compliment, so maybe, just maybe we did alright. Ninah mentioned that we got some cool, circular rhythms going, and Shannon seemed pleased. Perhaps there will be a recording forthcoming from Norcal Noise. Anyway, major thanks to Shannon and Ninah for helping a brother out.
Ear Spray's set was pretty unique for us, in that Carlos was not a part of it, due to conflicting plans. Ann was debuting her newfound passion, electric cello! I played a mic'd cymbal by itself. Things went alright to start, with some decent interaction between cello and cymbal. I must confess that I lost my way after a bit, and proceeded to jump out into the audience while crashing the cymbal on the floor. Instant karma for me, though, as this action destroyed one of my contact mics. I ended the set sitting in a chair with sweat rolling into my eyes and nothing to play. Ann sounded at her best at this point, though. Kind of a bust for me; hopefully Ann had a good time.
A few days before Noisefest, Lob of Instagon contacted me and some other players with a request to play a set of percussive, scraping, Industrial sounds to accompany his bass for Instagon #738. I readily agreed, and was glad to have done so. Instagon's set was truly satisfying, as the percussion work four players melded really nicely with the bass, guitar, and synth sounds. That set had the kind of clang and whirl that I so enjoy from Industrial music, that junkyard, steel mill aesthetic. I had a blast scraping the mic'd cymbal (yet again!) with a small metallic hammer and rolling a large chain across its edges. This one seemed to deliver the goods, satisfyingly rowdy and energetic.

Below: UB Alumni Asylum contemplate the sounds; Ear Spray on the stage
Above: Instagon #738 crankin' up the energy!

As usual, it was tremendous fun to play Norcal Noisefest. I always have a good time doing so. I really had to roll with things as the event unfolded in unplanned ways, but, that's just part and parcel of being in the Improvising Music scene. One just has to take things as they come.
Many thanks to Andrew, Lob, Ninah, and Shannon. Hopefully I'll find a way to get on next year's bill!
Below: Ear Spray video, courtesy of Ann O'Rourke

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Norcal Noisefest this weekend!

I'm stoked to be playing at Norcal Noisefest this weekend!
This event goes from Fri., 10/6 to Sun., 10/8. I will play on the 8th with Ear Spray and Pure Finder!
Details:
Norcal Noisefest Day 3
10/8/17
Cafe Colonial
3520 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento 95820
3PM

I will likely play with Pure Finder at 5 or so, and then with Ear Spray at 6:30 or so. The entire weekend will be filled with odd, wonderful, scary, ugly, beautiful Noise, so go over to Cafe Colonial or Luna's Cafe at any time this weekend!