this one is gonna be really, really good

September 12th, 2010 · No Comments · By

I know that there has been a ridiculous amount of stuff going on this week, but I hope y’all still have some energy and attention span left over for tonight’s Tea House show; out of all the events that are cluttering up early September, this one might be the one I’m most excited about.  Although for a while I was worried that I was the only person who was excited about it, so I asked Allyson & Jeremy to lend some of their sweet art for one of my posters to try and spread the word:

He may not be a household name, but Greg Davis is one of my favorite contemporary musicians. I randomly met Greg on a whim about 8 years ago when he was touring with Keith Whitman (aka Hrvatski); I had bummed a ride across LA to see them play in a tiny bar — where I was denied admittance because I was only 19, but Keith and Greg were incredibly gracious about it (and even gave me a free 7″!) They also mentioned that Greg’s debut album had come out on the (then-mostly-unknown) Carpark Records label that very afternoon; on a whim, I picked it up from Amoeba the next day, and it was pretty much all I listened to for the next six months.  Tracks from it made their way onto pretty much every mix tape I made that year; it’s a charming and wholly natural blending of acoustic and electronic instruments, sounding something like a cross between John Fahey and Fennesz. Since then Greg’s career has taken him pretty much all over the map; he’s done field recordings, chiming avant-pscyh/folk, drone music, tone-based modern composition, harsh textural experiments, and Beach Boys covers. I’ve tried to keep up with everything he’s done, and it’s all pretty spectacular. Actually, Greg has played the Tea Bazaar before; I believe he opened for Animal Collective back in 2003. I finally saw him play about a year later, opening up for a then-unknown Ariel Pink out in LA (there were only 7 people there, and 5 of them had video cameras; it was a weird show). Anyway, the dude’s got credentials.

Ben Vida (Greg’s Kranky Records label-mate)’s resumé is no less impressive; I guess most people might know him as one of the main members of the (now-defunct?) turn-of-the-century Thrill Jockey act Town and Country; about which here’s an amusing anecdote: I saw them open for the Sea&Cake waaay back in like September or October of the year 2000…  it was my first semester of college, and of course I hadn’t gotten a good nights sleep in a few days. My friends and I arrived at the venue super-early, and ended up front&center as the enthusiastic crowd filled in behind us. In fact, the venue was so crowded that we couldn’t even move; I ended up leaning forward up against the foot of the stage and the monitors for the entirety of the show, because there were so many people packed in behind us that there wasn’t even room to stand up straight. Town & Country had string instruments, some gongs and chimes, some acoustic guitars, and some other resonating bowls&stuff and they proceeded to play extremely repetitive, gentle, hypnotic music for about 45 minutes; in fact it was so soothing that at one point, I actually fell asleep while I was standing up. Well, leaning up, anyway. But I definitely dozed off for about 5 min somewhere in there. Now, I don’t want you to think that Ben Vida’s music is boring, or anything. I’m just trying to make a point about how successfully they pulled off what they were doing (for the record, I loved the show). Anyway, years later he’s been releasing a flurry of stuff under the name Bird Show, and it’s totally worth checking out; they’re mostly plotting similar territory of lush, gentle acoustic instrumentation mixed with electronic assemblage and avant-garde techniques… although the last Bird Show album was, strangely, some sort of Moog-jazz thing backed by some of the guys from Tortoise.

Anyway, I’m not sure why this is a “Ben Vida” show rather than a “Bird Show” one… but I do know he and Greg are doing a few tour dates together, so maybe this means they’ll be playing a collaborative thing together, rather than separate sets? (or, if we’re really lucky, maybe both?) Either way, these guys are awesome and I’m really psyched to have them here in Charlottesville.

The openers include Myceum, aka the solo drone project of Scott Ritchie (formerly of Cloeburner, Articulate Chewbacca, Double Complete Rainbow, erstewhile Great Dad, and also the drummer for the Raqeullos).  Some of y’all may have heard Scott’s music before, perhaps at a house party or at one of the Bridge Experimental Music Showcases; either way, his stuff is really solid and it gets better every time I hear it.

The other local opener (whom I’m also really excited to hear) are Wendy Hsu and Carey Sargent (formerly ⅔ of Pinko Communoids, the Cville branch of the HzCollective, and also members of Nakashi surf-rock band Dzian!). Their new group is called the Grapefruit Experiment, but this time around they’ll be joined by their fellow HzCollector and Dzian! band-mate, Charlottesville composer Jonathan Zorn — so of course they’ve changed the band name to the Jackfruit Experiment.

The whole thing’s getting started at 8pm — a little earlier than usual, due to the fact that it’s a work/school night; actually, the Tea House usually isn’t even open on Sundays, but tomorrow they’re unlocking the doors just for this show (which in the past I think they have only done for… Devandra Banhart and maybe one other time). The cover charge is a mere $7, which in my humble view is well worth it. Tell your friends! I’ll see you there!

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