the show 102 megsHere's a top notch Juggler's Challenge Revival show by a group that is mostly a duplicate of April's 5-piece band, but with two extra musicians. So, all told, that's Noah Adler (Mandolin), TQ Berg (Destroyer), Brett ??? (Big Sax), Dennis Jolin (Electro-Uke), Michael Perry (Drums), Donovan Raymond (Bass) and Me Woods (Hybrid Guitar and Vocals).
For those of you who are interested in numbers but not good at counting, that's 7(!) people at a fully-improvised event where (1) interpreting audience-input in a relatively focused and accessible way and (2) keeping the instrument volumes in balance with the vocals are both of fairly-high importance. And really, on both of those counts this was possibly the best group yet! Apparently, if the players are actively listening (something I know I can count on from all of these guys), 7 people is actually a
great number of people for something like this -- allowing each person to play more sparsely and have plenty of leftover attention to explore and amplify whatever conceptual challenges the audience has thrown our way.
Throughout the evening, grooves, melodies, and counter-melodies morphed and intertwined seamlessly with nary a hint of devolving into an escalating-volume war. In fact, now that I think about it, we actually had 8(!!) for a while when William Precht briefly plugged in a thumb-piano for perhaps our most nuanced, uplifting, and rhythmically-interesting piece of the evening.
We started a bit late due to a combo of transportation malfunctions and generally poor time-management on my part. Except for Dennis, who was still completing his marathon journey to the Chai House, we were all finally ready to go at around 8:30, when I got a funny feeling about the recording device and decided to check the adapter.
Sure enough, the AC-power adapter was shorting and the screen was already flashing the 'low-battery' message. Sensing that it was likely to be an extra good one, I booked over to the drug store on foot while everybody else started warming up with some instrumental grooves. The recording here starts when I got back about 10 minutes later and stuffed the new batteries in. Since, we had less than 90 minutes from our start-time to Chai-O'Clock, the show became a single unbroken marathon set!
With only a little hounding of the audience on my part, the transparencies began showing up on the overhead-projector early in the evening and became ever-more-inspired, all the way up to the closing verbal input of the night from Erin, "Snails Exploring an Abandoned Salt-Mine".
Here's a rough outline of what went down: 0:00:Warmup-Jams/JC-Introduction/Dennis Arrives/More Jams, 20:30: 'A Musical Experience in 10 Words or Less with Some Cheating', 27:30: 'The "Musical" Love Song', 39:30: 'Todd's Abstract Graphical Swirl-Score', 44:00: Thumb-Piano Jam --> 52:45: "The Key", 59:30: Challenger-Penned Lyrics ("Leanne Rhymes With Busta"), 1:09:00: Sadbot's Grand Cycle, 1:15:30: Snails Visiting A Salt Mine, 1:24:00: Introductions/Sweet Home Mr. Spot's.
So that's it for this one! It feels like this format is really starting to come together. I'm looking forward to coming up with some new challenge-templates over the next month. I'm also looking forward to seeing where this goes if we can keep at least 75% of the band from show to show and can make the whole concept as accessible for the Challengers as it seemed to be on this particular Wednesday. As always, feel free to add your own notes in the comments here!