Gigs, dance, art

May 27th, 2010: Christian Rizzo – L’Oubli, toucher du bois

@theatre de la ville

I’ll start with the best: I loved Caty Olive’s lighting. Really an amazing show in itself. Unfortunately I didn’t like much else. It started with the stage full of furniture and random objects, including a black ball and a plant that reminded me of a show Christian Rizzo had done a couple of years ago. All these were carried off the stage, but the lying down and carrying of others remained. And it was just as slow. The figures wrapped in black got me back in for a short while — the lighting got me again — but what little happened was way too obvious and predictable. The last sequence started different, with at first a dancer oscillating back and forth that had me think I could like some of the show, but I didn’t. The worst for me was the music, which made dead sure there was no way I would be able to like the show. That was by Sylvain Chauveau, and it featured the exact same tunes that bored me so much when I saw him play a couple of months ago. I knew the show was over for me as soon as I heard it.

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Dance | , | Leave a comment

May 26th, 2010: Penthotal / Sgure / Miho – Erik Minkkinen / Zaraz Wam Zagram / Emmanuelle Gibello


Those two weeks had taken a toll, I was probably too tired and burned out for another night out. But I just wanted to go back to this place, they could definitely get kicked out any day now. I ended up chatting way to much and not focusing enough on the music, my bad.

I usually like what Emmanuelle Gibello does, and this time was no exception, with those sounds of night and rain. But I was just too tired to appreciate the details, I was too busy fighting the urge to nod off. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like Zaraz Wam Zagram as much as usual too, I would have liked the tapes to be more in front but I may have missed that part. Erik Minkkinen joined Miho for my favorite set of the event, a nice sound texture from guitar and electronics that had some cycles and drones, a nice mix between static and dynamic. Sgure brushing his teeth with contact mics was a fun take on the latter, and the set was short enough not to overextend the idea. I didn’t last until the end of the Penthotal set. Turning on a radio then plugging in effects and stuff while playing it and loops of earlier sounds was nice at first, but it was just too much of the same for too long and I gave up.

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 25th, 2010: Kris Davis – Ingrid Laubrock – Tyshawn Sorey / Andy Emler


Andy Emler opened with a solo set on piano. That’s a tough act to pull off, but I believe he’s good enough to do just that. I didn’t like the set though, too much virtuosity most of the time. I did like the time he spent playing the piano strings directly, and the rest of that piece, which was more percussive. The rest was too fast and brilliant for me.

Tyshawn Sorey is the one who made me add yet another gig to an already busy schedule. I had only seen him play with Steve Coleman, but I like Fieldwork a lot — though I haven’t seen them live — so I just couldn’t pass, and I’m glad I showed up. He played softly a lot of the time, especially at first — he even spent the first few minutes sitting on the floor in the back. But he also played loud, pounding so hard a couple of times I could hardly hear the others, especially the piano. He put his control of loudness to very good use throughout the set, adding another level to the sounds themselves, and his play was a big part of what made this set so good to my ears, but that’s just because I’m partial to drums, because the others were just as good. I had seen Ingrid Laubrock just once before, as part of Sol6, so it was nice hearing her in a smaller formation. In the quieter moments she could sound close to the European improvisation scene I’m familiar with, but she could also be more forceful. She also added some nice voice parts that were not exactly singing. I didn’t know Kris Davis at all, and I came away much impressed. She was just as skilled as the others, equally at ease in the quiet and loud parts, and made the piano melodic and/or percussive as required. I couldn’t hear her at first during the louder moments, but I tried harder and it was very much worth the trouble. That set was such a blast I even lingered to buy their CD, a rare occurrence these days. I really should pay closer attention to the schedule of this fine venue.

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

May 24th, 2010: Austin Townsend / Agripon


I can’t say I expected much of Agripon with them played on such short notice. Well, it was fun and loud, the set had some progression and even held a couple of nice moments despite the clowning. So I guess it was better than I expected.

Austin Townsend’s set was completely different, an acoustic set with actual songs. Again, he had two members of Radikal Satan with him, and that trio just works. Townsend had a very nice deep voice, and his music is quiet but not that peaceful, there’s a tension underneath that quiet.

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

May 23rd, 2010: Melted Men / Headwar / Erik Minkkinen

@instants chavirés

First a short but very good set by Erik Minkkinen. The sounds were interesting as usual, but the percussive side was stronger and the occasional scream didn’t hurt either. More diverse and balanced than the last couple of times I’d seen him, the set was intense. Short, but if that what it takes to get that kind of intensity, I’m all for it.

I don’t know if I changed or Headwar improved since the last time — probably both — but there was qualifying it time: their set was just great. They sure have a lot of energy, and even more ideas, and they managed to put everything together in a set that never chose between both sides, and with a contagious commitment as well.

Melted Men were much more elaborate scenically, with their changing costumes and props. I didn’t like that side much after a while, but the music was percussive and the unapologetic fun side of their show was nice. Strange to see them as both primitive and too elaborate, but that’s how I felt.

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

May 22nd, 2010: Endless Boogie / Sugarlife / Thickly Painted Walls / Capricorn Band


I wasn’t in the best of moods going there.  Part of it was me having a hard time switching from that Indian music concert, part was being pissed off at missing Trans Am — but I knew I was taking a chance by not booking for that show. Maybe that’s why I was quite disappointed by Capricorn Band. Not that it was bad, but it was a bit too close to what Antilles did not so long ago, and I’ve seen them enough times to get seriously picky.

Thickly Painted Walls turned out to be my favorite set. I guess it had been a while since I heard this pretty basic feedback sound, though he explored the possibilities in a way that went way beyond basic. Maybe it was a good thing the turnout wasn’t that great, as he had room to move away from the amps at time. Maybe he would have been on the stage instead, and that might have made it less satisfying for me.

I can’t say much about Sugarlife, because his set seemed to have a strong visual component, and I just couldn’t see him.

Endless Boogie were loud and relentless, which is usually my kind of thing, but for some reason I tuned out after a while. Too bad, because I really liked them at first, and I think it was a good set. Maybe the earlier raga had burned me out.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , | 1 Comment

May 22nd, 2010: Pandit Jasraj

@theatre de la ville

Indian music remains for the most part out of my reach, because I just lack the proper training to know what I should focus on. Pandit Jasraj seemed easier though, maybe because there was a more melodic side to his singing, and maybe too because there was a female singer — Tripti Mukerjee — as well, and that made for interesting changes with different voices alternating. That was easy enough for me to follow. The musical accompaniment was rather unobtrusive, with tabla and harmonium quite secondary but providing just the right support for the voices. I’m not exactly thrilled about the electric tambura though, a bit too loud. Pandit Jasraj still has a great voice, and its range was just striking, especially at first when he hit the lowest notes. Kinda the Johnny Cash of Indian singing, or at least that what I thought at the time.

I’m not really sure I enjoyed this show more than usual. The melodic side made me follow more of it, but I missed the rhythmic part. I’m starting to think I’m not going to get Indian music anytime soon, and I’m having second thoughts about hoarding a ticket to these sold out shows when one of the people left out would like it more.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Music | , | Leave a comment