Friday, October 18, 2013

Keep It Moving

I was overdue for a good nine-hour evening.

First up was an in-store performance at my neighborhood record store, Steady Sounds.

Performing were a Japanese duo called Elekibass, two Japanese guys who love the Beatles and the Kinks.

The lead singer had a Beatles-esque mop-top and the lead guitarist (wearing a brown short with a lace jabot, I kid you not) somehow had curly Asian hair, making them totally adorable.

They began with an upbeat, sunny song called "Good Morning Blues," sung in heavily-accented English as the lead singer, wearing a plaid suit and tie, walked among the small crowd in the record store.

After a couple of songs, two others joined them, one playing tambourine and shaker ball and the other bass.

At that point, the songs were sung in Japanese.

When they finished, the lead singer began passing out Elekibass buttons as souvenirs.

I don't know why. I'm quite sure none of us will forget a Japanese band anytime soon.

Ashley Eriksson followed, playing someone else's keyboards and singing young woman songs of loss and love.

But enough about that.

From there I went to Reynolds Gallery to hear an artists' talk with Sally Mann, Jessie Mann, Liz Liguori and Ray of the Mountain Lake workshop.

They were discoursing about the new show "Metempsychosis," large format pieces that had used laser imagery, linseed oil, paint and debris like pine needles and wasps to create a wholly new image over a Sally Man discard.

Sally Mann's daughter Jessie, both her muse and once her photographic subject, is all grown up and at the root of this project that used her Mom's photos to scratch, paint and essentially collage on.

The gallery was full of attendees eager to hear about the collaboration and processes (four months just to dry one of these images) required to bring these diptychs to fruition.

During the discussion, the subject of authorship of a collaborative piece came up, raising the issue of attribution when multiple artists use multiple processes to complete a single work.

Looking at the striking works afterwards, a combination of Sally Mann's "bonfire" pieces (discards), Liz's use of a laser through multiple prisms and Jessie's painting, assigning one name seemed ridiculous.

I left the over-crowded opening to go have a bite (the crabby patatas bravas were outstanding) and ran into a DJ friend who had messaged me just a few days ago, saying, "Hey, need a song for a mix. Got one?"

It had been many hours later when I got home and saw that message, so my input was no longer needed.

Tonight, he explained that he'd gone ahead with the mix and promptly went to his car, retrieved a copy of the mix tape and gifted me with it.

Not a bad outcome.

I chatted with a nearby beer-drinker who, when asked about music, told me he liked bands like Periphery and Born of Osiris.

"You know, progressive metal," he said condescendingly.

"Oh, you mean like Between the Buried and Me?" I asked earnestly.

"I have to hug you now," he said, jumping up. "You have changed my world."

Not only was Between the Buried and Me his favorite band, but he had never encountered a single person who knew of them.

Score one for me.

I may know about progressive metal, but it's not really my cup of tea, so when I left with my belly full of South African wine and patatas, it was to go to Balliceaux for music.

The Hi Steps were playing and they're a band who play vintage soul music for the current audience's dancing pleasure.

They say it right up front: they're not for listening to, they're for dancing to.

That means songs like "Higher and Higher,"Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up."

I ordered a Cazadores and found a spot  near all kinds of people I knew and I was set for the night.

Since I'd last seen the Hi Steps, they'd increased their repertoire, adding in songs like Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," admirably sung by the red and black-clad Butterfly Vazquez with enough lung power to do Joplin proud.

The always impressive Bryce McCormick on keyboards handled vocals when Butterfly didn't, like on their superb cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together."

A couple of guys came in and positioned themselves near me, one of them leaning over and asking, "Do you recognize me?"

I did. It was Hugo, a gentle soul I knew from several restaurant jobs, who soon asked me to dance.

Bio Ritmo's conga player Giustino was in the audience and soon joined the band for "Proud Mary," playing with pliers in his teeth until he could stop and adjust his conga drum.

A restaurant friend suddenly appeared at my side, saying, "How did I not see you when I came in?"

I had no idea, but welcomed him in just as bandleader Jason entreated the crowd to fill the empty space in front of the stage. To come dance, in other words.

"Come into the light," he pleaded.

This somehow reminded my friend of a movie and he was soon sharing  a childhood memory.

"I remember when my parents took me to see "Jaws" at the drive-in," he said. "I was sitting on the roof of our mini-van and they were inside having sex and I remember the raft scene and rocking on the top of that van."

Too much information. That's the kind of thing that scars a kid for life.

Back in the real world, the band did a killer rendition of MJ's "PYT" and even I was tempted to dance.

When they began Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic," couples flooded the dance floor to slow dance, something I'd have done if I'd had someone appropriate to do it with.

About that time, three of the members of No BS Brass band came in to catch the final song, Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle."

You know what's not hard to handle?

Starting at 5:00 with cute little Japanese boys and finishing out at 1:45 with seasoned musicians playing music I never heard live until they came along.

That and changing a guy's world with the just the right music talk.

No comments:

Post a Comment