Well, I actually went out and listened to some actual real live local music. People like Seattle Show Gal do this all the time, but for me, I don’t take a chance on new local stuff as often as I could. Maybe I should be a little sweeter and a little less snobby.
Tonight I went to see experimental guitarist Bill Horist. I’ve seen experimental music that was much more experimental wanking than experimental music IMHSO. I mean, believe me, I believe in whatever kind of performance people can get other people to show up for! But a few random atonal noises every few seconds on the trumpet doesn’t make me personally show up twice.
What Bill did was both experimental and music, so kudos to him. He played two long pieces: one with an acoustic guitar and some weird electronic box, and after saying he was going to come back from an intermission “as another person” he played an electric guitar number.
The acoustic number filled the space for sure… he combined strange whirring feedback from the box with cyclical, looping guitar phrases. At times I just let my head slack in my hands and just moved my body in similar looping motions with my eyes closed.
When he came back, he set the guitar on his lap, and shoved a porcupine-style letter holder in the strings and proceeded to play it with a bow (see photo above). In time he abused his strings with cymbals, long bent metal sticks, and a few hemostats clipped to them. Sounds like just messing around, but he did manage to consistently make interesting and different sounds with each new instrument. After the show, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of his tray of tools. Holy crap, I wonder what it would have been like if he’d used the electric toothbrushes!
I went because the drummer has been a true pal to me and has been cutting my hair better than anyone for the last two years. So, I finally got to see his band and meet his lovely wife. In the barber’s chair, he told me (a little ruefully) that his band was “kind of like a nerdy Arcade Fire”.
I didn’t really see that myself, other than that they had a small string section (violin and cello). They didn’t have any of the crescendo addiction of Arcade Fire, and instead played an 11-song set of rollicking energetic, bluegrass-inspired numbers with intelligent lyrics.
The lead singer is a straightforward singer who sang energetically and with humility… although in the end I wished he’d ditched a little of the humility and turned on some of the star power and gave it his all.
Some songs really worked, like the cello-driven The Price, and the radio-ready drug/relationship number, Codeine. (You can hear both.) Some songs (I didn’t catch the titles) put a snooze on the crowd, without enough to distinguish themselves. All in all though, I was glad to be there and loved the energy of a band playing a late Thursday night set and really showing some spirit. The kazoo number kicked ass.
And last but not least, another shout out to Noise for the Needy, which throws summer shows every year to benefit a charity. This year, Teen Feed, which feeds and provides outreach for the most vulnerable almost-adults out there on the streets having to act a little more grown-up than they really should have to.
Thanks to Pillow Army, Bill Horist, Holly, and my girlfriend for showing me a good time!