Sunday, July 8, 2018

Early July Show Roundup

As a really pleasurable weekend of muse chasing winds down, I'm already feeling a bit nostalgic. Just have to remember to take my time as I write about it!

Crow Crash Radio-Hemlock Tavern, SF CA; 7/6/18
A bizarrely fast Friday evening trip across the Bay Bridge had Andrew Joron and I meeting up with Brian Strang at Hemlock Tavern well before our set time. Seeing as that Rabbles drummer Dave had volunteered his beautiful Pearl drum set as a back line, I had minimal gear to schlep. So, after a bit of a wait, Crow Crash Radio hit to open the show. Things felt good pretty much right away, and stayed that way for the duration. We strung about three opening pieces together, using quieter interludes to connect our riffs. Brian has added some cool pedals to his set up, getting nice repeater sounds and electronic squalls along with his tasteful guitar playing. Andrew and I did a brief Cosmists-style duet to start the latter part of our thirty minute set; I even got in a few solo drum passages! Stoked. A set of slower, Psych-colored feels, and a fun way to start off a fun night of music, in which all of the bands had similar approaches but diverse sounds. I was happy to be there, especially on account of seeing so many friends.

Below: great back line kit; Crow Crash Radio photographed by Brian Lucas (thanks, Brian!)
Above: the tallest building in SF lit by the sunset. I guess it's OK
Below: Crow Crash Radio's set from Hemlock Tavern!

Aural Monsoon-BAMPFA, Berkeley CA; 7/7/18
A few hours later I found myself being picked up by Andrew Joron, with Will Alexander in tow, for our trio set at Berkeley Arts Museum's Pacific Film Archive. The set was added on to a solo reading from Will. If you're not familiar with his work, get familiar with it. His writing is stunning, and his live delivery is as well. Very impactful. Will has become more and more obsessed with playing piano, and as such had requested that he be allowed to bring Aural Monsoon in to play a bit. It's a testament to the respect that he commands that BAMPFA rounded up a piano in order for us to do so. We only had about fifteen minutes in which to play, but I felt as though we made the most of the time. I brought a visual score, dubbed "Valleys and Volcanoes" after a long talk with Will back in May. This piece was taped to the floor of the very cool auditorium and used a cue, with the loose instruction being that we work upward from lower tones and into higher tones at a slow pace. We seemed to follow this concept pretty well. To start, I played the bass drum taiko-style, from a semi-seated position and using mallets to get low rumbles. Andrew got great, low sounds from his theremin, as Will did with the piano. At times, it was tough for me to follow the piano's sounds, as its sounding board was turned away from me, but I felt as though I was able to play interactively with Will for the most part; this is important in Aural Monsoon, as the group's sound is all about call and response from attentive listening. I would have liked to have played longer! Ah well.

Below: Aural Monsoon gear from above; Valleys and Volcanoes score
Above: a happy trio!

Much more music scheduled for this month!

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