Charlottesville Experimental Music Showcase at The Bridge!

December 16th, 2009 · 3 Comments · By

There’s a concert at the Bridge tonight that I’m super-excited about, and I heartily encourage you to come check it out.  It’s a showcase of “experimental” musicians in Charlottesville… actually, pretty similar to an idea I had last summer, but never had the time or talent to put together. {The idea was basically, “let’s get every good musician in Charlottesville who’s too “weird” to play in a bar and have them all play a gig together at The Bridge.”}  Thankfully, Jacob has pretty much done just that. Check out the poster / line-up:

Pretty sweet, yes?  The show runs from 7:00-11:00pm, and probably costs something like $5, and boasts an awesome line-up of creative local folk. I can personally vouch first-hand for the quality of:

• Adam Smith (the Invisible Hand frontman) and Jeff Simmons’s noisy synth-improv side-project Great Dads

Jonathan Zorn, the Charlottesville electronic musician who confusingly has the same name as the New York avant-jazz guy (and whom I wrote about yesterday),

• Scott Ritchie (the Raquellos drummer)’s deep-drone pseudonym Myceum

Mss., consisting of Tyler Magill (from Grand Banks, Bucks & Gallants) and Josh Krahn (Curious Digit, One Hundred Dollars)

• David Benson’s on-going project DBB Plays Cups, in which his brilliant, Silver Jews-esque lyrics are obscured by a haphazard combination of partially-rehearsed collaborators (which I believe will be Taylor and Andrew, this particular evening)

I’m also looking forward to Rythm Bandit and Grapefruit Experiment, although I haven’t heard either one before…

• I believe Grapefruit Experiment involves Wendy and Carey from Pinko Communoids / Dzian! (and maybe the dude from Caustic Castle?) It’s always fun to discover yet another Pinkos side-project; apparently this one is inspired by Yoko Ono and involves playing a bicycle.

• and Rhythm Bandit is Dylan Mulshine, who used to be in a local High School surf-prog band whose name I can’t recall, and is now jamming with the Nectar Bats fellows, doing a late-night mash-up show on NRN, and playing some solo gigs around. He’s a nice kid, and I’m psyched to see him out there doing stuff.

• There’s also a band from Wilmington, NC called Lands of Wonder. Not sure how they landed on the bill of a Charlottesville Experimental Music showcase, but it’s piqued my curiosity.

The show starts at 7:00 and will be over by 11:00, and it sounds like there’s a lot of short sets happening back-to-back in that time frame. So instead of trying to figure out who’s playing when and only showing up to see one friend’s band, why don’t you take an hour or three to just show up and check out what’s going on? There’s a ton of different styles happening, from pop-rock songs to laptop wizardry, pedal-based harshness, low-fi dance music, and who knows what else. I’m really excited about it, and I encourage you to let your curiosity get the better of you this evening.

Tags: charlottesville · feature · preview

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James // Dec 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    also, you might want to start getting psyched about this show.

  • 2 James // Dec 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    that might be the best show in Charlottesville I’ve seen in a LOONG time. Jacob had the brilliant idea of having every band set up their gear simultaneously in different parts of the room, so that each band could start as the act before it finished up, Whartscape-style. It made the whole thing feel like a crowded craft-fair of musical weirdness, which was seriously awesome (and got everyone WAY more into the music than previous Bridge shows of this nature, it seems)

    Grapefruit Experiment was a fun start, and not distinctly different from the Pinko Communoids material. Wendy and Carey played bicycles (they sound fairly Gamelan-esque) while their friend played an amplified cactus, which started a running gag with the out-of-town band about how every Charlottesville band has a cactus player.

    speaking of which, Lands of Wonder (the only non-Cville band) were nervous and afraid they’d stick out on the bill, but they actually fit in pretty well. keyboards&sequencers, and a live drummer… they sounded like Cold Cave without the vocals. unfortunately they had to leave as soon as they’d played…

    Mss. were next, with their simple setup of pre-programmed beats, organ, guitar, and vocals. sort of like Beach House but 10 years older and both dudes. their Skip James cover was as revelatory as ever, and I really like the droney extended final song they do. on the whole, we agreed it was one of Tyler’s mellower projects; I hadn’t seen them since last summer, so it was nice to catch them again.

    It was the first time I had seen Dylan’s Rhythm Bandit act, which was a lot of fun. Fit it nicely with the Lands of Wonder material… droney keyboard riffs and stacked cheapo-drum-machine claps run through delay pedals. it came together really well, but still had the feel of a teenage bedroom art project (which I guess it pretty much is), so that was a nice balance. not too many memorable songs (yet), but a lot of great moments and sounds, which is sort of the whole point anyway. also, standing on the keyboard while you play live drum is a pretty nice move (topped only by the Bermuda Triangles set at the Box two nights before…)

    DBB Plays Cups were, again, totally unexpected and haphazard. No vocals or “songs” at all, just David jamming on Bass with Taylor & Andrew on guitar, and both Adam Smith AND another fellow I couldn’t see on drums. I admired the intent far more than the results; it seemed rare that they were ever able to sync up and play on the same page. A helpful reminder that for every time you see a band cut loose and improvise some weird noisy shit onstage, there are many hours of rehearsal and learning each others musical quirks that go into that. Still, there were some moments that sounded like Pärson Sound or International Harvester, so it wasn’t like a total washout or anything. I had fun.

    Myceum played the best set of the night. Scott took the music way farther than he’d done before, into lots of subtly different territory. There was a lot more distinct bleepage and rhythm amongst the waves of droning warmth, and it almost had a Berlin-school / Oneohtrix Point Never -type of feel to it. My one complaint was that the transitions seemed a little sudden or forced, BUT the nice thing was that Scott always knew exactly where to take things next, it was a pretty perfect arrangement (and largely improvised, too).

    immediately after Scott finished, Jacob announced “Ladies and Gentleman, directly behind you is… Jonathan Zorn!” and Jonathan immediately launched into his laptop-based set of bleeps and squiggles. It was a total 180° turn-around, and functioned as a great palate-cleanser while still being interesting and worthwhile on it’s own. As far as the crowd, it was the complete and total opposite of the sedate, gallery-style laptop show; everyone seemed really supportive and engaged with it, a rare thing for that type of music in this town, and I was really grateful for it.

    Great Dads closed out the night, and their set surprised me quite a bit, although maybe it’s because I’ve caught their last bunch of shows and had different expectations in mind. Usually it feels as if Adam’s the front-man for the band, dictating where the sounds go and providing the foregrounded vocal texture, while Jeff (or whomever’s sitting in that night if Jeff can’t get here from Crozet) backs him up adds texture and depth. Tonight it felt far more like Jeff was leading the way, and his keyboard, pedals, and drum-machine stuff was the focus of auditory attention while Adam played sideman on organ and vocals (all heavily pedalled into incoherency, of course). Not at all what I expected, but a solid set nonetheless, and a great introduction for the countless people there who had never heard Great Dads (or any of these bands, for that matter.)

    So, yeah — it was totally fulfilling and awesome to see so much support and curiousity and enthusiasm for the kind of music that often remains on the margins in a small town like this, and it was also just a really excellently fun night filled with friends and music and merriment. Let’s totally do this again in a few months!

  • 3 d.b.b. plays cups // Dec 27, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Let the record reflect our gratitude to all the artists who shared the bill, to the consistently attentive audience, and to Jacob for the organizational inspiration.

    Let the record also reflect that Max D. was the other fellow on drums, Gary C. was playing guitar adjacent Andrew, and that Taylor was lamentably elsewhere that evening.

    Looking forward ever so intently to the next installment of the series…