With a film by Robert Longo: Pictures for Music (1979)
29 January 2007
Electric guitars:
Rhys Chatham
David Daniell (San Agustin, Essentialist)
Chris Brokaw (Codiene, Come)
Jonah Rapino (Devil Music)
Brendon Wood (Devil Music)
Electric bass: Winston Braman
Drums: Tim Nylander (Devil Music)
House engineer: Chris
Tour recording engineer: Eric Block (Semaphore Recording Studio)
Tour manager: Regina Greene of Front Porch Productions
Produced by Dan Hirsch of Non-Event and Front Porch Productions
We left in the van immediately after the New Haven performance and arrived in Boston at around 5 in the morning. We were to stay with Mark Pearson of Neptune, who amazingly was at the door with a smile on his face to greet us when we arrived. Eric and I crashed out in the living room, and everybody woke up at around 12 noon. We hung out and talked over breakfast. And later, Dan Brocher, the drummer of Neptune, arrived and cooked a wonderful meal for everyone.
After lunch, we went to the soundcheck at Great Scott's, which is a bar/music club with a good sound system.
It was freezing cold outside with snow on the ground when we arrived. Fortunately, the members of Devil Music were already at Great Scott's and they helped us load in. Then Chris Brokaw arrived. Chris and I had worked together before on the Table of the Elements South by Southwest Festival last spring and he already had experience with Guitar Trio (G3). So when Dan Hirsch of Non-Event was organizing the concert, he called Chris and other musical luminaries from the area of Boston: composer/guitarist Keith Fullerton Whitman, as well as the fine folks from Devil Music: Jonah Rapino, Tim Nylander and Brendon Woods.
The Devil Music is a group of musicians who are working on a variety of projects. Their current one is live composition to accompany silent films. They also compose collaboratively for larger ensembles in a wide variety of styles. For the G3 performance, Dan completed the group with the addition of Winston Braman on bass.
Dan Hirsch of Non-Event was there to greet us, too, of course. NON-EVENT began in 2001 as a independent platform for concerts of experimental, improvised and electronic music by local, national and international artists at various venues around Boston. Since then, Non-Event has presented over fifty concerts by artists from seventeen different countries, partnering with venues such as The Boston Center for the Arts and The Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT along the way. As Boston's The Weekly Dig says, Non-Event is "Boston's premier purveyor of fringe music."
After suitable contemplation, Non-Event decided to produce G3 at Great Scott's. Great Scott's is a rock club, which of course is a very comfortable context to play G3 in. The room is dark yet somehow warm at the same time and has a great sound system. Chris the soundman did a brilliant job and was a pleasure to work with.
The concert started with a fairly full house. David Daniell opened with a solo for electric guitar and electronics that he had made in Max, a programming tool developed by the French R&D institution IRCAM in Paris. The piece was minimalist in its gesture, starting out in C major and modulating to other tonal areas in its middle section, eventually returning to its C root at its finish. Various overtone areas of the generated long tones were emphasized, with David adding a live element by incorporating a righteous finger picking technique, soulfully played on guitar along with the electronic tones.
People were continuing to stream into the club and things were nicely packed by the time Neptune was ready to play.
I had heard Neptune for the first time at the Issue Project Room last Saturday, but I wasn't able to actually see them because the sightlines were blocked by people standing in the way. Happily, Great Scott's had a stage, so I was able to see the performance this time, and what a show it was!
The music itself is kind of like: heavy metal meets noise rock. All the instruments, such as a 60-pound guitar made out of sheet metal, were made by Jason Sanford, who has a background as a sculptor and welder. Neptune started out as an art project and eventually evolved into a bona fide rock group. They had just finished a 117 city tour of Europe, so the music was tight and the performance strong, with all of them violently banging, quite literally, on dangerous looking metal objects in addition to their regular instruments.
Neptune is based in Boston, so they had a lot of fans in the room, and by the time Neptune got done playing, the fans were going wild!
Then it was our turn to play. The house was packed and we were playing in a rock club, so everything was perfect! One thing that was remarked upon about this particular performance was how much fun the musicians seemed to be having. Everyone in the group had massive performance experience in many musical contexts, and that, combined with the musicians already being well versed in minimalist technique, gave us the freedom to really PLAY together, to interact on both a rhythmic level as well as a harmonic one. Too, there was quite a bit of dancing being done by the musicians on stage, not to mention by members of the audience. Lots of dancing and smiling. As Regina was saying, "HellfuckYEAH! Nothin' but fun!"
On a purely musical level, we had truly magical moments during the tremolo section on all six strings of the electric guitar, where one seemed to hear choirs of singers in the mix. Of course, there weren't any singers, but when G3 is played correctly, one hears them... and hear them we did during the performance.
Standing from left to right: Keith Whitman, Winston Braman, Chris Brokaw, Brendon Wood, Jonah Rapino. Kneeling from left to right: Dan Hirsch, David Daniell, Tim Nylander, Rhys © Rhys Chatham
Photos legends:
Rhys, Keith Fullterton Whitman, Chris Brokaw and Jonah Rapino © Tim Bugbee / Tinnitus Photography
Dan's lunch for us. Not your typical tour food! © Rhys Chatham
David Daniell solo © Tim Bugbee / Tinnitus Photography
Mark of Neptune © Tim Bugbee / Tinnitus Photography
Dan and Jason of Neptune © Tim Bugbee / Tinnitus Photography
G3 performance at Great Scott’s