Sunday, September 17, 2017

Surplus 1980-Winters Tavern, Pacifica CA; 9/16/17

In what was presumably Surplus 1980's last public show for this year, we convened at Pacifica's venerable Winters Tavern on a Saturday night with the feel of autumn very much in the air.
I am always fascinated by Pacifica's unique blend of So Cal and Nor Cal. It sits squarely between the two, and has feels from both. Its sea salt swept hermetic vibe is really strange and appealing. I took a couple of walks around the neighborhood in which Winters is located in order to soak it up. On the first one, I saw a beautiful shade of orange-red on the hillside. Spectacular.
After a somewhat shaky rehearsal during the week, I spent as much time as I could re-learning certain aspects to Surplus' set. The songs can be somewhat tricky, and it just doesn't help to sleep on their changes. This worked for me: from Moe!'s opening beat of Pigeon Obstacle Course, I felt confident and aware of the changes. Inspired, really. It didn't hurt that the drummers from the two previous bands, Rip Room and the Tunnel, are so good. I dug on watching both of them as they drummed.
Surplus made through our current big opus, Temporarily Present, with only a small clam by me during the first part of the song. That one is getting really fun. Ten epic minutes of rumination on death. Good times!
Things got a bit weird during Failure of Commitment, as the electrical source for the entire stage went down. I decided to just keep up with the 16th note beat that drives the bridge section. I flashed on a story about Jaki Leibeziet that I'd read, in which the same thing happened during a Can set, and he just kept up with his drum pattern. Really, I resolved to play until I was physically stopped. Thankfully, no need for that. Nelly, Moe!, Bill, and Melne got their juice back and came back in, right on cue. Excellent.
Our set finished with good versions of John Cage's Perilous Night, Question After Ended Question, A Motivated Song About Procrastination, and, at the insistence of the audience, Morale Is High.
After a really fun night of music, I took the long way home, cruising up busy 19th Ave. in San Francisco and over to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge by way of the Golden Gate Bridge. Richmond Parkway is kind of spooky at 1AM in the glow of the Chevron refinery.
Surplus 1980 will hit the studio in October and November. I'm really excited to get all of the past couple years' hard work documented.

Below: great back line drum kit, provided by Tunnel drummer Michael Scott Jacobs, thanks man
Above: funny blurry shots of Bill, Moe! and Mel
Below: Mike Watt's bass on the wall of Winters Tavern

Above: moody Pacifica shots, such a lovely area

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Surplus 1980 plays this Saturday night!

Surplus 1980 will play in Pacifica this Saturday, 9/16, at Winter's Tavern. We're looking forward to this one, as the stage can accommodate both drum sets. We'll be doing a nice, long set, too.
Sat., 9/16
Winter's Tavern
1522 Francisco Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94044
9 PM
Rip Room
The Tunnel
Surplus 1980
Should be a rockin' good time in Pacifica!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

M-KAT Ensemble-Studio Grand, Oakland CA; 9/4/17

After a sweltering three day heat wave in the Bay Area, it felt really nice to be driving into Oakland on Labor Day evening under temps merely in the 70's. People were out, too. Often when I pull up to Studio Grand for a gig, folks have already scattered from the Grand Lake District for other spots. Not so last night, true, thankfully also, at Studio Grand.
M-KAT Ensemble had a nice little group of people to play for. We were grateful for that. We started our set off with yet another graphic score, entitled Sandbar Music. Its concept was inspired by looking at sandbars in Maine in August. I was fascinated with the way the elements of sand, water, light, and shape all share the same space but do not necessarily interact in any obvious way. Instructions on the score prompted the theremin, winds, bass, and drums to play according to that type of parameter. It seemed as though we were able to develop a decent improvisation from it. After that one, we did three more short pieces, the last of which, featuring Kersti's flute, really seemed to take flight in a cool way. Also of note was the strange Industrial-like timbre achieved from Thomas's bass melding with Andrew's theremin. M-KAT seems to have some kind of almost junkyard feel at times. This is cool to me: I say that we pursue it! I was relatively happy with my playing, as it seemed like I was able to dig in and intuitively feel my way for most of the 38 minute set.
After M-KAT, Andrew Jamieson and Charles Peoples III did an incredibly cool duo of voice and piano, utilizing meditation techniques and audience participation to get to some very evocative and subtle spaces. Those guys are great, seek 'em out.
A fun night in which to decompress from the previous days' stifling heat!
M-KAT will play in SF later this month!
Many thanks as always to Oakland Freedom Jazz Society. Fernando rocks.

Below: M-KAT Ensemble sets up; drums

Above: The Sandbar Music graphic score, acrylic paint on paper

Friday, September 1, 2017

M-KAT Ensemble this Monday in Oakland!

We will do our second gig at Oakland Freedom Jazz Society's Studio Grand!
Mon., 9/4/17
M-KAT Ensemble
Jamieson/Peoples Duo
9:30 PM
3234 Grand Ave.
Oakland 94610

Hopefully some people will go! We'll be there, anyway.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Lithium Milkshake digital single

Friday, August 25, 2017

Surplus 1980-The Golden Bull, Oakland CA; 8/24/17

Not one note had been played at this show before some really disappointing stuff went down. Baltimore band Multicult, out West on tour, had their van broken in to. They bummed heavily and split town for Eugene, leaving everyone saddened. I don't understand why people would rip off musicians that are pretty clearly not living the "good life". Didn't they ever learn the Golden Rule? I guess it will come back to them in some way, so no need for me to pontificate about it.
Surplus 1980 had a bit more time to fill in our set, so we started a bit later than expected and hit. Right off, it felt to me like one of those sets where good things were happening, and that there was no stopping us. That delightful "on" feeling where even errant stick patterns cannot stop the groove and vibe. I don't know if the rest of the group felt that way, but bassist Nelly was smiling grandly: a good sign.
We performed our most epic tune, the ten minute Temporarily Present, for the second time live. Its changes seemed to fall in place really well. Things progressed from it, our set opener, in a rockin', manic way. On account of space issues at The Golden Bull, Moe! did not bring his drum set, and we stuck to songs on which he plays guitar: Failure of Commitment, Question After Ended Question (well, bundt pan on that), Morale Is High, 99 Is Not 100, an improvised piece, and a surprise Ed Saad. That last one because we had more time to fill. Things flowed, guitars chimed, it all just seemed to click. The kind of set where its ending has me wishing that we could rehearse tomorrow.
Reptoid slayed. Definitely seek his gonzo Noise/drumming mashup out.
Hopefully we'll get another chance to play with Multicult.
Many thanks to ace sound engineer Justin at The Golden Bull for dialing it all in.
Below: my drums; Surplus 1980 preparing to hit
Above: best surreal shot of Nelly; a bill torn asunder by thievery

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Surplus 1980 this Thursday in Oakland!

A short opening set planned for this Thursday.

Thu. 8/24
The Golden Bull
412 14th St.
Oakland CA 94612
Surplus 1980
9:00 PM
We'll continue to play some newer songs, as well as older Surplus 1980 songs. Multicult are on tour from Baltimore. Oh yes.