Friday, September 17, 2010

Amps for Christ - Kuschty Rye Ergot - Sean McArdle - Tiny Concept -- Velvet Lounge - Sep 16 2010

Tiny Concept - Tiny, indeed. A petite woman with French accent is on stage laying down guitar loops and doing some vocals and drumming on a two-drum kit. This is primitive, but artful and melodic. A cover of Devo's "Mongoloid" is done fairly straight, but more intensely than the original. Good raw punk feeling in the modern day here. Only four songs which keeps the concept tiny and working.

Sean McArdle - We have the basic folk singer/guitarist who thankfully left the harmonica at home. McArdle has lived here, but is in San Francisco I think as his stage patter rambled almost as much as he has. Actually, he was pretty sharp and amusing, although he was trying to keep it down and dish out more songs in his 45 minute set. And it was worth it. His guitar playing is finger style with some strumming mixed in. His vocals are deep and solid, but the guitar playing was kept me attentive throughout. Very flowing with some nice inventive moves mixed in with what I might normally expect. I liked the songs and would see him again any time.

Kuschty Rye Ergot - This incarnation is similar to the last one that I saw and featured John Stanton on acoustic guitar and Scott Verrastro on drums, percussion and background noise (not sure what was in that box behind the kit). I always expect good things from these two, but they may have even surpassed my expectations tonight. Stanton really brought out a great long piece that was very psychedelic folk which lead to a psyche-rock point where it stopped sounding like an acoustic guitar. This was quite reminiscent to me of some of my favorite work from Six Organs of Admittance, who I like quite a lot. Verrastro did his usual excellent job filling in the background with great sounds and powerhouse drumming. It was a smallish crowd tonight but about 25 people were digging this set. There are a whole lot more of you out there in DC who would enjoy this band, so I better be seeing you out here next time.

Amps for Christ - From California comes this three piece lead by a crazy oddball named Barnes. He was accompanied by a drummer who looked very jazzy just trying to fill in where he could while awaiting his next joint. There was a guy also trying to fill in with synthesizer or other noise gear hiding behind his open case. Barnes did some vocals and played electric guitar and electric mandola, both instruments he made from what I could tell. He makes instruments and retro amps and has done very different noise projects in the past. This one had a lot of quirky folk touches such as a Scottish song called "Silver Whistle". And any noise guy that references Planxty is ok with me. His personality was a little big for the stage and the music, frankly. It was a very odd vibe, but amusing. The set was short and very strange. Conceptually strong, but the execution required some patience for us listeners. But there were only 18 of us by this time, so it went over well enough I guess. It was interesting sandwich tonight of two tasty meats in the middle surrounded by some very light aromatic bread.

Quote of the Night: From McArdle... "It's one thing I have never been good at, talking while tuning". Hint, this is an even better line if you do it like the bass player in Caedmon by tuning in between the words you say, slowing down maddeningly by sentence's end.

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