Monday, July 12, 2010

Rasputina - Larkin Grimm -- Black Cat - July 11 2010

Larkin Grimm - Ms. Grimm is a singer/guitarist who I saw several years ago at a Terrastock festival in Providence. I remember her as being part of the waves of freak folk that was coming into vogue then. I was curious to see what has transpired since and I was pleasantly rewarded. She has added a female bass player and male drummer who add backing vocals. The drummer adds snappy percussion with brushwork mostly. The bass player lays down good background lines allowing Grimm's guitar to move off into spacey distant textural landscapes. Then, with interesting lyrical stories on top, we have very accessible songs that really stayed with me. Twisted, but catchy. An Irish harp was added at the end to give another twist and keeping off of any formula. Maybe she was this good before (lost in my mind among 29 bands I saw), but I thought she and her band mates were truly excellent tonight.

Rasputina - Melora Creager returns with a new cellist and percussionist in their classic "two cellos and drums" line-up. It has been a while, but having a baby does slow down the touring, at least for a while. She was up to her usual witty stage patter with humor that would almost work in a stand-up routine. However, the music sadly went another direction. The first song had buzzing and sounded thin. Shortly thereafter, they had to take a break as the Daniel De Jesus's cello had a broken or loose string. He worked on it but had to say he could not get it to hold or stay in tune or something. They worked on through with Creager doing two solo songs on banjo that were ok, but did not really move me as much as their regular material. The new drummer was fine, but the sound was a bit smaller as it was mostly mallets on bongos and not a full kit. Normally that may be ok, but De Jesus was fighting his cello the rest of the night trying to play things differently to keep the songs going. It looked like they were calling audibles all the way trying to come up with songs that would work. Too bad, as I really like this band. It was to their credit, that this was not a total trainwreck, but it was far from their best. The half full Black Cat crowd (maybe a bit smaller than last time I saw them here) was appreciative, so the mood was good. Hopefully there will be a next time for me.

Quotes of the night: From Ms. Grimm... "It seems there is a sadness in the house. Anybody need to come up and talk about it?" "That's better. I'm feeling you guys. You know what it is? You're not a bunch of jerks, you seem like an intelligent bunch of people."

1 comment:

Tess said...

Good to hear complimentary things of Larkin Grimm. I'm going to see Rasputina Friday evening and I rather hope De Jesus has better luck with his cello - I've been wanting to see this group for some time, and I'd love them to shine.