2011.06.10 - Dublab: Tonalism @ The Music Gallery

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19 juin 2011, 22h17m

Fri 10 Jun – Tonalism

It's been ages since I've been to an all-night/bazillions-of-musicians event of any sort, and I hang responsibility entirely on my recent tendency to fall asleep at 9:00 PM. Getting older sucks, and I encourage you to avoid it if you can.

Thankfully, the weather was fairly pleasant when I got off work for the afternoon, so a quick walk around the city stuffed my bag full of CDs that I'd been meaning to hear for a while, stuffed my guts full of pretty-good burrito, and found me outside the Music Gallery at about the same time as the security dude for the night showed up. A short wait later, I was inside, chatting with a recent arrival in the city from London who knows his Steve Reich a whole lot better than I do. For whatever reason, I almost never talk to people at shows, and it was a nice change to have someone to chat with for a bit.

Musically, things were pretty varied. Sure, the DJs blended together in the background, though the occasional screech or blurp would poke its way through the conversation to demand your attention for a moment. Up on the courtyard stage, Wallace Halladay was the first one to play a note, accompanying several other reeds on a backing tape with his soprano sax and sounding, to my ears, a lot like Clarinet Thing. He was, as it turns out, playing some kind of Reich composition, which lets you know how much I know about 20th-century minimalists, but I'm keen to learn more... the piece ended on a really bright, uplifting note and Halladay seemed like a good guy, too.

Somebody familiar-looking set up a MacBook Pro and started making noise about twenty minutes later, but he was driven inside by drizzle and, honestly, didn't stand out from the DJs in the least. Coming back from the resulting sandwich run a bit later, I found that Isla Craig and Colin Fisher (who I didn't recognize at first without his big ol' beard) had started a droney yoga/meditation set that would normally have put me right to sleep, but on a cool(ing) night outside, it turned out to be a really nice accompaniment to lying in the grass and enjoying the weather.

GuSHee... I'm a bit more ambivalent about. They took a while to get their gear strung together, and while they were doing it, the iPhone-photo-blogging crowd took up position right in front of the stage and wouldn't let anyone see much more than their asses and beer bottles. When the duo (Insideamind's Professor Fingers and some woman I didn't recognize) got started, their microKorg improv was perfectly decent head-nodding stuff, but nobody's mind was blown wide open. Is it petty of me to be mildly annoyed by the DoRkY cApSiNg in their name? Probably, but at least the preening teenagers went inside to lick the sandwich trays clean when the set was over.

And then, finally, in the last half-hour before the city drove everyone inside, I finally got to see Not The Wind, Not The Flag in person. They got started with Colin Fisher on drums and Brandon Valdivia on kalimba and looping pedal and actually kicked up a pretty solid free-jazz clatter. (It's unfair, incidentally, for Fisher to be such a competent-to-excellent player on so many different instruments... the rest of the world should at least get a crack at some of that talent.) About fifteen minutes in, they switched places, with Valdivia beginning to pound the everloving hell out of the kit and Fisher picking up his guitar to howl holes in everyone's faces, and there was much ecstatic fire. Everyone in the neighbourhood who wasn't there, you got to hear the best bits of the night for free.

Things headed inside, where the pews in the church had been dragged around into a funky diamond-patterned layout and coloured whizziness was being projected every which way on the walls. Had I not had to show up for work the next morning, it probably would have been a lot of fun to wrap up in a blanket, lay a pillow down on a pew somewhere and zone out for a couple of hours, but the train home beckoned and so I presumably missed out on a whackload of blunted beats from California. Stupid part-time job.

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