Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WAO Presents: "Save The Last Dance For Party Steve"!

Set 1 (64 megs)
Set 2 (27 megs)
Timelapse of the Whole Evening (14 megs ... just video for now ... will hopefully add an audio track soon)

Here's another surprisingly unique Woodland Acoustic Orchestra show, this time with the Chai-House-provided theme of "Save the Last Dance for Party Steve". The orchestra for the evening included John Beezer (rad 80's electric 6-string), TQ Berg (guitar and voice), Dennis Jolin (ukelele and miscellaneous percussion), Jesse Silvertrees (showing up mid-way through set 1 on djembe and voice), Me Woods (bassbox, trumpet, and voice) and a fantastic piano player named Colin (on the house piano) who we hijacked after hearing some of his magical key-noodling while we were setting up.

I'm enjoying the top of the night quite a bit now on the recording, but given the fantastic group we had out, it really did take us a while to get much momentum built up! For at least the first 20 minutes, the music kept drifting to a near-halt before each signaled change. Still, the spaces between signals were beautiful, and it seemed we had built up just the right amount of heat to make a quick switch from slow-boil to steam-fireworks when Jesse arrived with the djembe (at about 28 minutes in). And from there, we were suddenly able to maintain some energy even across the occasional signaled transitions.

You may notice a mysterious guest-vocalist on the recording: a guy that we've seen a few times before who we took to calling "party Steve" by the end of the night. He was playing the part beautifully, but then suddenly disappeared right before the "last dance"! We mostly couldn't hear him singing at the time, but he's clear as a vacuum on the recording since he was usually sitting on the front couches right next to the Edirol (singing "GO! ... GO!", laying down beat-poet versions of "takin' care of business" -- see JCR episode 21 --, and even briefly commandeering Dennis' dumbek -- which we quickly confiscated, since it was still the top of the night and we were barely keeping it together *without* the addition of semi-random finger-drumming. ;)

As I mentioned above, things really took off when Jesse showed up. I think Sarah nailed the strongest parts quite well as "heavy tribal" (albeit with diverse stylistic layering and many a harmonized anthemic chorus). All in all, as the energy built through crescendo after crescendo, it was a great cathartic evening and a fitting end to both 2009 and our long run on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. Starting in 2010, we'll be moving to Tuesdays, where I'm excited to continue to expand the tradition, but where we'll definitely miss seeing our Wednesday-night super-baristas!

So that's about it for me for this one. As always, please call out anything I may have missed here in the 'comments' section and I'll look forward to seeing you all again in '010!


dennis said...

super fun and i also enjoyed the random noodles and other pasta before the amazing jesse. more free form and that is the nature of melding the music. there is a cohesiveness about the sometimes chaos. and btw, happy new years

F R E E L A B said...

yeah, agreed! :)) When listening back, I always love that part where the group is still feeling things out ... some of the most surprising and responsive playing often happens there.

F R E E L A B said...

(I just slightly rewrote that second paragraph, to better express what I was thinking there... :)

Armand D'Ciopper said...

I like how the total feel of the evening centered around how party Steve must have felt. The stereo space seemed wide -- which is was due to the left/right distance between John and the piano, and the front/back distance between Steve himself and the rest of us. The tuning (and sometimes key) was arbitrary and we were all off on a cloud of craziness.