NOISETET AND BILLY BANG LIVE AT THE CBGB LOUNGE SUNDAY, JUNE 19, 2005
Noisetet played a pretty deep, nervebending set last night, moodier and perhaps more depressing than the previous two cybercasts I glommed with a cool intensity-laden (bent) electronic sound thanks to Donny Silverman and some mighty riffage via David Phelps' unique applications of both avant and fusion stylings making for some of the better jazz-oriented guitar heard since at least Bruce Anderson. Unfortunately the camera remained stationary throughout the show focusing on guest drummer Dee Pop and later on flautist Yael Acher (and maybe trumpeter Shane McGloine, who seemed to be studying "He Loved Him Madly" if last night's performance was any indication)...heck, you were lucky if you gotta glimpse of one of the Sculpturemotion Project dancers' arms waiving above 'em while they did their (as I've said before) Grateful Dead-esque dance o' ecstasy! Every set I've heard by this magnificent avant/rock/fusion aggro has been different yet still burns with the underlying high energy I've come to expect from the best of these new working units, and what's more, I still think that the shows I've witnessed via the CBGB Lounge cybercasts as well as aboptv.com were much better than their sole CD release, and that one's a pretty hotcha contender for top disque of the year if you ask me! Only hope that Silverman had the brains to record these shows so he could release 'em somewheres down the line because I know that when it comes to music that shakes me out of deadly complacety and has a positive effect on me as all good music should, I could use a lot more Noisetet and a lot less Content Providers (who def. are in the running for "worst group name" of all time...howcum nobody voted for 'em here???), if you know what I mean.
Following Noisetet came Billy Bang, a man who perhaps deserves an award for his longtime devotion to the various stages of the perhaps-crumbling CBGB empire, having played there ever since he sat in with Material back in the early-eighties, eventually performing as either a group leader or backing musician (Frank Lowe etc.) not only on the main stage, but at the Gallery and Lounge as well. Now, I gotta admit that for a long time I never really thought Bang's violin playing was as good as some of the other players on the New Black Music freedom circuit (not as, er, scranky as Leroy Jenkins', but ever since Jenkins admitted to not liking punk but liking disco in the pages of a late-seventies DOWN BEAT interview my opinions of the man were, er, tainted a bit!), but last night he certainly soared with the best of 'em, at first playing this strangely folky/eastern/Henry Flynt-ish duet with drummer Shoji Hano before being joined by bassist Todd Nicholson (who, again, remained out of frame with only the edge of his bass showing!) for some mighty power trio playing that harkened back to the mid-seventies loft jazz movement from whence Bang and a good portion of the players on the CBGB Lounge avant-scene sprang. Believe me, there was some purty incredible creation going on during Bang's set last night, and to be tres redundant about it I only hope 'n pray it was all preserved (just like most every other set at this soon-to-destruct series) for future release. And if in fact CBGB is going under and Bang indeed played his swan song performance at the hallowed dive (or at least a stage operating within the club's auspices), then I couldn't think of a better way to go out, and I doubt you could too.
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