Blue Sausage Infant - It has been a while since I have seen this one man electronica set. He has a few pieces of equipment and creates some nice murky pre-Halloween backing with some clean Tangerine Dream-like atmospherics on top. Very smooth and involving. As I often write, I'm not much for one guy on a computer, but this fellow has multiple things happening on his equipment (not just a Mac) and creates an interesting musical environment where listeners can easily join in. Or something like that, at any rate. I enjoyed it and he received a nice ovation from a really good crowd tonight.
Kohoutek - Busy line-up tonight, so one of my local favorites quickly get set up. It's only a four-piece tonight with the core trio of John (guitar), Scott (drums), and I believe Craig (bass). The fourth member has a pedal/electronica/effects set-up on the floor. The guitar and drums start things off in their usual quiet fashion as the others join in. It's a 20-minute continuous set with the usual dynamics, although they don't quite blow the doors down as often is the case. And that is not a criticism, as they establish a great groove where the core trio is completely locked in with all the melodic momentum I come to expect here. The percussion is deft, the bass an anchor, and the guitar dreamy. The electronics is fairly quiet with occasional skronks startling the moment. Lovely stuff here--you will never go wrong with this band.
Hans-Joachim Roedelius w/Xambuca - Xambuca is a solo electronica musician who started the set with dark spacey background sounds and ambient beats on top. This is a tad more out there than Blue Sausage Infant and it has its moments. I do hear a sample or recreation of TARDIS (of Doctor Who) landing. The video projections are much better than usual, so the effect is good and the audience is certainly into it. After a bit, Hans-Joachim Roedelius joins in on keyboard where they briefly play together before Xambuca leaves. Roedelius also has an electronica/synthesizer unit he additionally employs, although the created sound always has a lot of space. Roedelius is an important name in krautrock and experimental music as a founding member of Cluster. I am stunned to find that on my 52nd birthday (and feeling all of that), I am watching someone two weeks shy of their 77th birthday! I've done the math three times and am quite impressed at his abilities and desire to keep making music (especially overseas). It appears that an ATP show with Silver Apples may have gotten him over here for a brief US tour, but he's playing a lot of dates with Xambuca and it is a real treat that he included Washington DC on the tour. He plays an ambient style but with plenty of melody and dramatic tension. It was quite enchanting and the room was riveted. Well, aside from the group behind me where a guy was describing how he added some lo-fat cream cheese to something and added some mint... You know maybe that's ambient, too, but I really don't need full out ambience. But the crowd roared at set's end and coaxed a brief encore of more quiet meaningful piano tinkling. This was an entertaining show that was a nice offset to the heavy or the heartland which populates most clubs. And it was great to see one of the real pioneers on stage at the Velvet Lounge.
Quote of the Night: From one of the regulars standing near me when discussing how large the crowd was... "Wow, that's great. When was the last show here that had a large turnout?"
Good question. It has been a while. The Velvet Lounge has some really intriguing worldly acts like tonight and is also a showcase for a lot of excellent local bands. I was disappointed to see in a recent Washington Post article on the clubs, there was no mention of the Velvet Lounge. I will be doing my own take on that article where I agree with them (they did nail some clubs quite well) and where I depart, plus add a Velvet Lounge section.