Friday, December 22, 2017

Radical Medicine Theater Movement International, Ivy Room; Albany CA 12/21/17

Having been an El Cerrito resident for several years, I am very familiar with the Ivy Room. I can't say that I ever spent any time there before last night, and that, even as there have several reportedly great Improvised Music shows there of late. Seems as though I'm always at a rehearsal or gig when they happen. My first performance with Radical Medicine Theater Movement International provided me with my first chance to hang out and play there.
A cool space, too, with a decent stage, good sound system, and homey vibes. The Ivy Room seems like a winner.
For the performance, Decoy Gallerina, Miguel Garcia, and me played four distinct pieces, all made up of music, poetry, and dance. The uniting theme for them was a theme of protest against the treatment of protesters at Standing Rock and the current political paradigm. especially President Trump. I'm not a particularly political person myself, especially when it's come to my music, but I am a big admirer of Decoy's art, and as such will gladly support her in her statements. Freedom of speech is very important.
We essentially played four short, 15-30 minute sets, all meant to be connected, but broken up by other performers' pieces. This flow felt a bit disconnected to me, but it was cool to hear other musicians sing and play. I felt as though our best sounds were achieved earlier in the evening. By night's end, I was really tired and probably showed it in my playing. Still, our last set featured a sound that I've dubbed First Nation Grime, a Punk Rock/Electronic hybrid that features great flute playing from Miguel and manic dance moves from Decoy. Actually, all of the music for this set blended electronics and programmed percussion with singing, dance, and my acoustic drumming, done on my old reliable and increasingly banged up 1970's blond Ludwig. I'd say that overall, the set was a bit jittery, a "first show together" kind of feel, with nerves sometimes getting the better of all of us, but a nice manic energy pulling us through the experience.
A fun, creative night, especially in light of being surrounded by Decoy's great visual, performance, and spoken art and Miguel's deeply creative sound creation.

Below: Miguel sets up; good old Ludwigs
Above: Cold lit Ivy Room, 42 degrees and dropping
Below: cool sculptural assemblage by Decoy Gallerina, whose creativity knows no bounds
Below: Decoy and Mark (photo courtesy of Claude Palmer, thanks, Claude!)

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