Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday Residencies - October 27, 2008

O.K., all the Monday night residencies have finally gotten to me. I was so screwed up this Monday (October 27, 2008) I went to Spaceland to see Seasons who were playing at the Echo and ended up staying at Spaceland to see some of Ilo Mar, a California-based duo.

Vanessa Micale plays guitar and sings odd folk/jazz fusion songs in a sultry/sing-songy voice. Her stream-of-consciousness lyrics are underscored by the sturm und drang of Ted Byrnes roiling drum and cymbal work making the whole thing sound like waves crashing on gigantic rocks. That's how it sounded to me anyway, and I found it fascinating music and stimulating to the brain.

I'd like to hear some recordings of what the Ilo Mar myspace page describes as 'folk/visual/ambient'. I guess that fits.

I would have stayed longer because I was having a nice chat with Grant (Mr. Echo Curio) who I'd been wanting to talk to. I said I was there because I'd enjoyed Seasons so much at the Curio last Friday and he looked puzzled and asked, "Are they playing here tonight?". This moron (me) learned that the Rademacher show with Seasons was at The Echo, not Spaceland.

I stayed for a couple of songs and then split down Silverlake Boulevard to grab the Sunset bus to The Echo. I knew I'd miss Seasons, but at least I could explain why. Plus I might be able to catch the set by One Trick Pony, who I've really enjoyed before.

The Echo was pretty empty when I walked in near 10, but Seasons had just finished and most people were out back. But I got to say hi to John and Adam and Shaggy and apologize for missing their set. I was real happy to meet them and they absolved me of guilt. I truly meant to see them because I've become obsessed with their CD since I picked it up last Friday, and I was most anxious to hear the songs live now that I know them better.

There's nothing like seeing a band you don't know who really impress you, and then picking up their CD and loving it. The next time you see them live becomes a wildly anticipated experience and it's usually an extraordinary one. This has happened for me with bands like Rogue Wave, Great Northern, The Western States Motel, Division Day, Amnion and Fol Chen and the list goes on. But it's definitely one of the highlight aspects of this incredible music scene.

Judging by the people I talked to; Seasons gave a great show. I know they're playing a lot in November so I'll get to see them again soon. In fact at American Legion Hall in Highland Park on Saturday, November 15 on a great bill including Manhattan Murder Mystery, Health Club and, I think, My Secret Alphabet, who I've been anxious to see. That's gonna be a fun night!

One Trick Pony took the stage just after 10 and performed a remarkable set of indie-folk songs. Backed by Jenny's terrific drumming and vocal work and the extraordinary violin of Charlene Huang, Randolph sings in a personal, sometimes painfully personal, voice that never sounds forced or maudlin. His vocal style is almost conversational and he tells stories of life and relationship experiences with a sometimes acid-tongued irony.

He seems to me quite a gifted songwriter in the vein of two other performers who are high on my list this week, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats (Troubadour Oct. 25) and Mark Everett of The Eels (tonight, Oct. 28 at Book Soup). Randolph's song often approach the unearthly beauty of The Eels when they reach that sublime place with the aid of their string arrangemants. When Charlene's violin becomes central to the song, the whole thing takes off to another level. I felt soaked in the beauty.

They played "Loose Talk", "Phonebook" and "Box Song", which are on the EP they offered for a donation. It looks like live versions of the songs as recorded at the CMJ Festival in New York last week, since the EP says right on it "Oct. 24th 10PM @ Sidewalk Cafe, 94th Ave. A, N.Y, N.Y.". How about that! A live show from last Friday is on disc and being distributed just days later. No wonder the music scene is exploding, nationwide!

Lots of friends and fellow musicians present including Nick Ceglio of Death To Anders, Eli of The Monolators, Elaine Layabout, Joe Fielder (Radio Free Silver Lake), Travis Woods (Web In Front), Christian Biel of The Transmissions and others.

As soon as One Trick Pony finished I had to hightail it out of there to catch a quick bus over to the Silverlake Lounge. Thailand were going on at 11 o'clock and I was looking forward to it.

On my third pass of the evening by the Silverlake Lounge, I finally went in. Had a nice chat with Marc Linquist, of Thailand, before their set and we couldn't help but turn the conversation to politics. We both shared that we're feeling marginally optimistic about Obama's chances next Tuesday, but still cautious. He said that the future direction of the band hangs in the balance, and they'll either be writing more politically charged material or they'll switch to sunny pop ditties. Somehow I doubt that, but he's such a good writer he'd probably write 'sharp-edged' sunny pop ditties.

I asked about any future expansion of the band. He said they've added a full time drummer and, tonight, a bass player would join them for the last couple of songs. I looked forward to that!

They began with "Favorite Sun" and continued with "Heartland Failure". The vocals were undermiked at first, but came up as the set progressed. The drummer adds a powerful punch to the songs, making them sound more urgent.

But when the bass player joined them on stage, the transformation was staggering. Their music never sounded more muscular. WOW! The bass added a wonderful, throbbing undercurrent to the last numbers. I was left wondering where this remarkable band will end up.

Cheers to Thailand, and here's to the future. I think it's going to look a lot brighter after next Tuesday.

For a night that looked to veer way off course, it all came down to a wonderful evening in the end. And surely, I must hold some record for attending three residencies in one night. It was worth it!


1 comment:

Huxtable said...

hey man - just saw this - thanks for the kind words. much appreciated! - ted