Friday, January 8, 2016

Anthony Pirog - Boat Burning - The Caribbean -- DC9 - Jan 7 2016

The Caribbean - A night of talented and original local bands tonight begins with an intriguing trio that I have seen before. They are puzzling once again, fully by intent, as they manage contrasts with a smooth dexterity that is ultimately fascinating by set's end. They drone a bit with a distinct edge to it all. The drums steady and locked in with mysterious bass runs, dreamy vocals slightly askance, and guitar moves that are sharp but elusive at times. They all work with and around the beat in a subtle push pull manner that keeps things edgy, even when the music creates a soothing atmosphere. But you will not be lulled to a false sense of comfort as the edge underneath remains apparent. Tricky contrasts are at work as the Caribbean is like that literary novel that you kind of understand, but you are only smart enough to know there are more layers to figure out.

Boat Burning - This was more a return to form to my ears as this guitar heavy collective had a little more time in their set tonight to stretch their tunes out to their glorious natural ends. The guitars had more bite and clarity in their subtle differences--I believe there were five and sometimes six tonight. The drums hold down the fort as the music slashes across this large audience. This is always a pleasure, taking a voyage with this smart group of musicians. You can hear the same songs, but you will never hear the same nuances.
 Photo by Shervin Lainez

Anthony Pirog - Is it not time more of the world has discovered what we in DC have known about for some time? Whether it is with his partner Janelle, solo, or in all kinds of variations of bands, Anthony Pirog is an absolute master of the guitar. He is fully versatile with styles and a great composer. The trio tonight included Mark Cisneros on bass and Ian McColm on drums who added their formidable skills and experience. They started out with a droning metal sound reminiscent of Sleep before heading into Neu! territory. Then it was a jazz freakout morphing into a dreamy space rock soundscape. And that was all within the first ten minutes. I just threw out my notebook, landing right next to their rulebook, and enjoyed the rest of the set. There are multiple textures of layered guitars and thick bass runs, which they deftly strain out into spacier, airier moments. Profoundly original and powerful, this is music that rise above the 'cult status' and connect with any fans of creative music and great guitar work. Kudos of the DC9 for starting the new year not only with a great lineup of talented local acts, but also starting the first of several $8 shows. 3 bands, 45 minute sets, eight bucks? Hard to beat in any entertainment medium.

But actually you can beat that price with a free show by Anthony Pirog at the Martin Luther King Library in DC. It's today at noon, so get on over there.

Quote of the Past: A while back, Guitar Moderne was interviewing the Police's Andy Summers about all things guitar related and here was his answer when he was asked if there were any new guitarists he found exciting. Here is his answer:

There is one guy whose playing and approach I really like called Anthony Pirog. He is one of my favorites at the moment. He feels music the way I feel it: a melodicism, slightly “out,” but not so out that it is unlistenable. He is lyrical; he plays very well. I thought the record he did with the cellist was beautiful. He is bold and starts a new territory.

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