Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Neon Brown Presents: "Juggler's Challenge Revival (Episode 18)"!

Set 1 50 megs
Set 2 37 megs

"Wednesday, June 10th, 2009. This is Juggler's Challenge." This week's typically raucous interactive-music extravaganza featured veteran jugglers TQ Berg (Electric Guitar and Vocals), Dennis Jolin (Electric 6-String), Michael Perry (Da Kit), Donovan Raymond (Bassss), Me Woods (Hybrid Guitar and Shouting) and -- for the second set -- Woody Frank (Acoustic Steel-String). Continuing to build upon the recent Juggler's Challenge Revival momentum, episode 18 featured plenty of inspired Challenger (audience) input and the various sounds that this input provoked from the band.

Set 1 started off with the usual warmup jamming and show-introduction, followed by a less-usual kick-off sheet from within the band (thanks TQ!) to get us going. The "song" that resulted was one of my favorites of the night. IMO, this is another fine example of the increased synergy within the group resulting from retaining most of the same Jugglers from show to show. And this particular idea seems like something we should keep doing (helps tie that first 20-minute free-jam while waiting for Challenger input into the rest of the show)!

As the Challenger input started coming in, the music built on plenty of continuity, creative counterpoint, and ready energy. Several of the pieces spontaneously developed distinct repeated movements (verses and choruses?...sortof). A rich sonic palette combined with some new and effective leadership on the part of the other Jugglers really made this a breakthrough JCR show in my mind. Michael brought out a sheet as a screen for the overhead projector, and TQ even launched a whole movement on lead-vocals, which makes me think I should really set up some extra mics and try to lure the rest of the band to step up to the mic from time to time. Thanks to the band for continuing to jump right into the mess each month!

Speaking of energy, somewhere in the second set, I began to realize that my ears and the small vocal PA couldn't quite keep up with the swelling sonic mass. At the time I couldn't clearly determine or articulate the problem (you'll hear me repeatedly calling for general volume reduction towards the end of set 2), but in retrospect it's clear that the two electric guitars, while perfectly balanced with each other, ended up well above the remaining instruments and were most likely the searing stereophonic source of my ringing ears. (Given the often laser-like throw of a 12-inch guitar cabinet -- stealthily spitting fire well beneath the altitude of the average player's ears whilst flash-cooking the corneas of the guy who's only 7 feet further from the amp -- I suspect neither of them had any idea at the time.) Even still, with a bit more shouting than is maybe ideal, I think most of the concepts came across at some level and a good time was had by all!

That's it for me for this one for now, but as always, please jump in with your own observations, favorite morsels, costume-suggestions, etc... here in the comments section.


F R E E L A B said...

Footnote: Originally the second-to-the-last paragraph in this post had a bit about the guitars bringing us "dangerously close to the 'banished-from-weeknights-at-the-Chai-House' level". I retooled it once, but eventually just deleted it since it seemed no matter how I worded it that I either had to ramble on for a while or it would seem like it was *me* who was going to banish people from the NBP shows (which I wouldn't even consider for such talented and sensitive contributors as TQ and Dennis, short of them repeatedly laying the equivalent of a Cleveland Steamer on the piano-bench). At the risk of beating a dead horse: What I was actually referring to here was the rumor that Juggler's Challenge is pretty much the only electric show that the Chai House allows on weekdays these days...with the implication that this is because they can count on us to tune the volume to the venue.

Anonymous said...

what that a hint of Jean Genie in there?

Destroyer said...

Yeah, I squashed you a bunch in the 2nd set. The Hamers like it loud so it's hard not to give them what they want. I just need to get a smaller amp or a power soak. If you had your own amp, I think that would help (centralizing your sound). You need to turn up and we need to turn down... Second set at 19:10 - 22:00 is nice.

F R E E L A B said...

Definitely a cool section. :) I really like what's been coming out of the 'musical-experience-in-10-words-or-less' modules. (Check out your riff right before 24:00: what in the crap!!?? A perfect entry with such an unusual line!)

Anonymous: sounds intriguing...what part of the recording? ...I guess I'll see if I hear it next time I check these out.