Commission Music

Commission Music
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Saturday, 17 May 2003

Concert Review

Last night, I went to see two bands at 21 Grand. My primary motivation for picking this venue was that it's a lot closer than the other two that were having shows. And it was awesome, so it was a good choice.

The first band was called Glass Bead Game. They're a female-fronted quartet. the female front sings and plays guitar. Her male backband is drums, standup bass and a guy that doubles on violin and alto clarinet. Their songs are pop-y, but with definite new music influence. there was a high level of musicianship and the singer has a strong voice. some of the best playing came from the bassist who did some arco lines here and there. some of his bowings got didgeridu-like sounds and nice drones. the whole band had a nice improvisational feel, which may be because, as the singer explained, thay haven't practiced together in a long time and not everyone knew all the songs. They were very entertaining and had good stage presence and banter. anyway, I would go see this band again. And I'm glad I saw them this time, since I was one of five people in the audience and I think christi and I were the only ones not personally known by anyone in the band.

The headline act was Peoples Bizarre. They play tunes based on Balkans and Eastern European folk songs. They have a stand up bass, a drum kit, an accordian, a cello, a violin and a guy that doubles on clarinet and bass clarinet. The clarinetest looks disturbing like The Onion columnist Jim Anchower, but played really well and wrote at least one of the songs, a nice mellow piece that mostly showcased the strings. the band was solidly good throughout, playing songs they composed. When they talked about the songs, they had a tendency to become academic, describing pentatonic patterns used in Albanian songs, for example. I appreciated the infomration, personally. They finished the set with a cover, which I thought was especially brilliant. The stock surf song that all surf bands play is actually a Hungarian folk song. So on their last piece, which had a section that either was that song or was very similar to it, their drummer switched over to a surf beat. It was awesome. I would definitely see this band again. In fact, I'm on their mailing list and I bought their record.

So I think I ought to strive to see a show (that I'm not playing in) at least once a week.

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