Monday, November 08, 2004

lethargic concert

As someone who purely hated the forced piano practice and could come up with inventive excuses for not practicing, I do not have a pair of appreciative ears for music, I admit that. That taken into consideration, however, I cannot contain the urge to say that the first night of Impetus Concert Series that a friend of mine has been organizing was less than a success. Held in the small, cozy space in 3030, a former church converted to a musical venue by a nonprofit group, the concert featured two performances; an ambient-music-leaning piece probably composed and definitely played on a couple of PowerBooks, accompanied by a oddly tense drummer, and a piano and electric guitar ensemble with occasional singing by the pianist/singer.

The first performance did have its moments when the beat picked up and let us be oblivious as our bodies naturally reacted to the beat. The major disadvantage of that kind of music is that it is not very exciting to WATCH as it is being played. One guy sat in front of two computers, almost motionless entire time, with only his right forefinger inching back and forth on a mixing console. The other guy, the drummer, was far from boisterous as one might expect from a drummer. I have my reservation here, for he seemed to be deliberately containing his body movement as he performed (to the extent that he appeared as if he was trying to control compulsive movements of his paralyzed muscles). So his very restricted and subtle drumming could have been something my underdeveloped musical aesthetic couldn't fathom. Their performance could have been much more enjoyable and effective with a help of some visuals, for I felt like I was watching a movie without the image being projected.

The second performance, a duo of a singer/pianist and an electric guitarist, was a disappointment, to say the least. I was fortunate to have a glimpse of their rehearsal and the female singer's husky voice, almost painfully jumping up from a low key to a much higher key in a small passage she practiced over and over again, was haunting. Her grievous voice seemed to be perfect to intensify the melancholic melody of the passage. However, to my great disappointment, the two musicians, even though they seemed to have played together before, never got along well in this particular night. It seemed that the singer/pianist was playing selfishly without listening to or respecting the guitarist, and eventually lost control of her unjustifiable frustration against the poor guitarist. The sounds rendered by the two never had an euphoric moment of resonance and sublimation. (P said that the singer was far out of tune, but I do not have the ability to discuss that possibility here, or anywhere in this world, on that matter.) Combined with the fact that the singer/pianist was incessantly drinking during her own performance from a plastic cup placed on the piano, a wine bottle, and from a Sake bottle, which deteriorated her performance, instead of adding free and spontaneous element to it, she didn't give me a single good impression to say the least, but that is not the point, either.

I am very pleased to see the venue full of people coming to an independent local concert (that my friend helped organize), and exactly because it was bustling with audience, am very sorry that the first night was not as good as it could have been. Also, the Impetus Concert Series has put into practice an interesting idea of distributing CDs containing new works of the performers so that it would bring an ideal balance of studio work and public performance to the artists, at the same time providing one more incentive for audience to join the concert. I hope that tonight's audience will stick around and the next concert on the 5th of December will bring us more enjoyable pieces.
(3030 W. Cortland St. Chicago, Nov./7/2004)
3030 monky and crown (rszd)
Originally uploaded by uBookworm.


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