Rock Gods #141: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

The Eight Gates may be one of the only acts in our little scene this year to have to get to a gig by airplane. The band was formed after a couple of married grads from the college on the hill—Danny and Joanne Gates, who shared Suite 8 in the American Hall dorm, get it?—founded a software development company in town. Sounds cushy, but they say they’re still “a ways away” from profitability.

The gig is a birthday party for a classmate of the Gates whose ship HAS already come in. “She insisted we play just as we did five years ago, even the same instruments if possible. We’re not the only nostalgia trip at this party, so we’re going all out. Found clothes we wore then, turned up the original lyric sheets…”

A lot of bands around here wouldn’t find it troubling to dig up T-shirts they wore at gigs 20 or 30 years ago, let alone five. It’s a cross-country flight, however, so the equipment’s proving to be a problem. “The keyboards couldn’t be picked up somewhere else if we tried,” says Joanne the technological sorceress. “They were a prototype to start with, but then I modified them beyond recognition.” So they have to come as is. Insured and specially packed, at excessive cost. But when they told the party’s sponsor, all was cool.

“This is what you expect if you’re some huge band, right? And we’re this little electronics duo who never made more than a cassette demo.  We feel like royalty. Except, I guess the keyboard’s getting treated BETTER than us. But hey, we’re getting treated like ladies in waiting!”

While the Gates are gone, another keyboard duo hits the Bullfinch: For Free City, with an opening set by Himno IStemno… Land of the Brave keeps the covers flowing at Hamilton’s… Dance trio Erta Erta Erta at D’ollaire’s with about eight DJS earlier on…

Listening to…

Gayngs, Regrind EP

An almost mathematical exercise in trackbuilding, in which Gayng’s first full-length album Relayted was pulled apart into “stems.” Remixers were invited to pluck any ten stems and transform them into new tracks. What still made them Gayngs songs was everyone’s adherence to the band’s trademark 69 beat-per-minute tempo.

It ain’t Dangermouse’s Rome, but there’s a similar suspense and mystery and thematic build to these scattered yet relayted snippets of sound. More than ambient, less than lyrical, a track like “Cologne & Water” (reground by Paper Tiger) makes me want to go grab a modern movement troupe and stage a dance piece, while the Lazerbeak regrind “Sprinkle Juice” deserves to be transcribed and played live by a classical/rock ensemble.

Rock Gods #140: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Grains of sand at the beach. That’s what the crowd seemed like for -\ at D’ollaire’s last Friday. Sandlike not just in volume but consistency. You could wallow in them. So singer FMan did, stepping blithely out onto outstretched hands and heads as if he were waking into a pool.

Its an extraordinary thing to witness. Not just the defiance of gravity, though that’s pretty darn miraculous. The implement trust. Its an image no song can enhance, only soundtrack. We’re the proof. Except floor two songs(certainly not the hits), we have no patience for -\’s music. But boy do we live to watch.

Limited clubgoing this week. Blame holidays and vacations. A March Against the Fourth revolutionary hullabaloo is the big deal at the Bullfinch, though it’s really just a couple of solo sets by tired punks… Cook-out on the sidewalk outside Hamilton’s, but no bands inside… D’ollaire’s closed, doing their serving-to-minors penance…

Listening to…


From the start of its new video, you’d think “Fountain” was another indie road song, a journey toward nodding enlightenment. Instead, the turns into a freakish bout of mutant enlightenment, much of it homebound. The music is sweet and flowing and lulling, so much so that you keep expecting it to lift off in a violent new direction. But except for the drums, which occasionally move to the forefront, it’s all airiness and light.

Not Lost in L.A.

I’d never been to Los Angeles, or California at all, before last week. Now the West Coast suddenly seems real to me—even if the NEA/Annenberg program I went there to attend seems like a wonderful dream from which I never wish to wake.

This week’s Entertainment Weekly mentions that a scene from the upcoming season of true blood was filmed at “the famed Biltmore Hotel.” To think I was just at the same famed place, attending the Theatre communications group conference.

On the other hand, the whole time I was in downtown L.A. I couldn’t stop humming songs from a quintessential New York show, Guys & Dolls. Not just because there was a seminar with Broadway producer Jack Viertel (of the Lincoln Center Encore! Series), but because of places like Biltmore and Roxie scattered throughout downtown L.A. Just a couple miles from Hollywood, all those sunglass-and-shiny-skin stereotypes fade, and downtown L.A. struck me as startlingly similar to any number of other big cities I’ve been in.