Gordon Marshall is a prolific Boston-based poet and music critic who loves going to shows. Read more poetic reviews like these at The Flash Boston
Dave starts by passing out Lucky Strikes. I take one, of course; though I didn’t take a Nat Sherman the first time I saw him in 2006. He sings Elton John’s “Your Song”, and you really feel it. Vic Rawlings dominates on his electric guitar, power pressure chords, Polly is just like Ringo. It’s an experience that transcends transcription. Like a carnival or bursting open a piñata. Angela Sawyer sends blitzkriegs through her synthesizer, and Vic comes back with sixties cheese fuzz. Then it’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. This is twenties’ style Paris pastiche.
Chalaque is Punjabi for smart ass (no one likes a smart ass). Nick of Chalaque is English, of the North country. His band is heavy acid, and instrumental. The music goes nowhere and everywhere. One point of reference, The Bevis Frond. It’s got that dark and painful, but gentle melancholy.
Chalaque is a trio, power trio I guess, with bass and drums. The effect isn’t like Cream or Hendrix though. It’s spacier, and spicier. You feel like you’re traveling tapestries over different lands.
JOOKLA DUO & BILL NACE
Jookla is an Italian energy band, with tenor sax and drums, and electric lap guitar. It has the feel of Machine Gun, or Last Exit, driving dentist drill music. It just keeps driving, harmonic on tenor pushed to the limit. The energy is erotic, and carries through Virginia, on sax, as she travels into the audience, willow blowing in the wind.
This is sewing machines gone wild, a specular sweatshop, the stitches making music, needles sewing flesh and bodies. The basic gist is linear propulsion of tones into the stratosphere. Harmonically simple motifs that are ripped and mangled and wrought into new shapes.
Now she picks up a curved soprano, with a small bell. The sound is strangely familiar, Coltrane soprano, but deeper and darker, because of the bell. Bill Nace on guitar gets a Peter Brotzmann effect, demolition derby drives. The lanky drummer, Davide, with the long hair and beard is one with his set.
This is Andy Allen’s band, glamor boy psych jazz stuff, with genuine claims to each. He gets strange sounds out of the bell, sometimes by stuffing stuff down it, but it’s always beautiful. He uses pauses gently and dynamically, showing a grasp of dynamics, the interplay of sound and silence.
The music goes from acid bliss to soft floating petal tones, natural but architectural. Jesse of Cowboy band on bass is a great grammarian, punctuating the flow of sound with funky commas and semicolons.
Billy McShane on alto sax joins for last number. I saw McShane at Deep Thoughts anniversary, and he was mellow but very human. Here he deals with another music. Still he’s very sparse and minimal, with sharp spurts and honks. He duos with Allen, an avian dialogue. The two just play their mouthpieces, but they have sublime control, and get many notes from them. Ethan on drums is salt and peppery. Sam Lisbeth, of Cult and Leper, is subdued, as the music starts to border on schizo-folksy.
Then it gets intellectual and complex, but with a hypnotic, building beat. Jungle forest birds.