Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review of Makeout Room free first Monday

A friend had a rendezvous at The Makeout Room in the Mission District, SF last night and I went to a show. There were three sets.

Will Redmond, guitar
Rob Pumpelly, drums

Phillip Greenlief,alto saxophone
John Shiurba, guitar
Tom Scandura, drums

Kjell Nordeson - Aram Shelton Duo

I missed most of the first, but heard way too loud though interesting electric guitar improv. I stayed on the sidewalk, listening to the second set. I forgot noise concerts require earplugs. But these guys played the kind of noise influenced by progressive rock and jazz and who knows what contemporary explorations that kept me bouncing and savoring. I'd been in a critical, depressed head space walking to the show, so it really picked me up. I caught Tom afterward and demanded to be emailed as soon as PG13 puts out a CD. We'll see if those guys get it together.

After the first set they shut the bottom half of the bar door and I noticed when someone pushed it open, it freed lower fundamentals in lazy swings.

The last set was dreamy. The sax player said at the end of their first piece "I thought everyone had left. My eyes were closed... I heard something and thought they were stacking chairs." I actually got to sit and watch this set because it was unamplified. There were several moments the extended drum set got too loud for comfort, but they always passed with sensitive use of dynamics and textures. The drummer used hands, toy bongos, and cymbal on snare; the sax (alto and tenor alternating) traded long, long solos of fluttering runs, polyphonics, and breathy trills. The audience around the stage area listened with rapt attention, and cheered appreciatively. Near the front of the bar was constant conversation, which sometimes drifted over during the quietest moments. I appreciate that. I itched to jam with them.

Anything eccentric in the Mission attracts the white hipster, etc. crowd. Across the street a cafe had a student piano sextet playing Schubert, which created a glut of foot traffic. But it's satisfying to find a casually social audience for this kind of music, loud enough to compete with punk, tastefully complex enough for a classical tradition stage.

The calendar for noise style shows is the Bay Improviser.

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