Thousand Statues; Jon Carr, Kaori Suzuki & Chris Davis; Terminal Fuzz Terror [; Stalebirth; Stres] - Vermillion Art Gallery - September 27, 2012"/>
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Thousand Statues; Jon Carr, Kaori Suzuki & Chris Davis; Terminal Fuzz Terror [; Stalebirth; Stres]
Thursday, September 27
I walked into Vermillion Art Gallery on the Hill last night just after nine o'clock. Perfect timing, I thought to myself. Doors were at eight; no waiting around for me, I'm a start-time artist! So...the second band was packing up their gear, the second band (I also missed Stalebirth, hence the brackets in the blog title) that happened to be Stres (accompanied by his faithful live drummer Aaron Walters): the act I came to see. No big deal, I thought to myself. I'll just get some audience reactions, and pick up the show review at its mid-point (well 2/5-point) all natural like. People came up to the duo gushing about their set. "You guys blew my mind," was an approximation of what one girl said. Numerous variations of "You guys were super rad," were showered upon them like so much glitter. With that second-hand knowledge, I settled into the "stage"-front (the back recess of the bar floor) gathering area, and prepared to be pleasantly surprised.
The next thing I knew, three people who (using my show-flier powers of deduction here) were probably Jon Carr, Kaori Suzuki, and Chris Davis, set up what I would call a "sound lab" on the long performers' tables in the stage area. Their equipment looked as much like appliances you'd see at the eye doctor, an old phone-operator office, or shock-therapy center, than outboard music production gear. Some of it looked like this; some of it was way weirder/cooler. Their sounds were entirely ambient, void of (easily discernible) rhythm or repetition. Think Delia Derbyshire's vintage trippiness coupled with the last minute of "I Was a Teenage Hand Model", but the massive swells aided by a modern sound system pushed to its brink by three sound scientists were even further out of this world. Their set consisted of one twenty-one-minute, aqueous movement (one of the performers set his iPhone timer, and set it on the table within view), which left the closer audience members standing mainly still in what seemed like either quiet admiration, or simple bewilderment. When the sound came to a pummeling, pulsating end, however, there was much applause, which gave the impression that everybody was on the same plane. Very interesting stuff.
Outre duo Thousand Statues came on next, using comparatively minimal equipment to make pretty massive sounds. The bass player created much of the melody by making use of harmonics and distorted repetition (the last song had kind of an "I Might Be Wrong" thing going on), acting as the low-to-mid-end backbone of the operation. The vocalist appeared to be cueing the drum tracks through some effects pads she had on the floor, and added some cool textures with a smaller device on a nearby table top. The fullness of their compositions was amazing given their modest set-up, and - while somewhat ambient, and dissonant - they were incredibly engaging. The singer can wail, btw.
To cap off a strangely eclectic bill, the last act of the night was stoner-metal trio Terminal Fuzz Terror. They played two songs, each lengthy pieces, and extremely fulfilling build-ups. At times, all you could hear was bass and crashing cymbals (the place isn't really set up acoustically for rock this loud), but fuuuuuuuck, this was an unexpectedly wicked end to a night of pleasant surprises. TFT blew away the six people left stanging in the bar area, and the several others lingering in the gallery hall.
Bonus observation: Probably the best side effect of playing a show in an art gallery, by the way, is that people aren't necessarily tied to the stage, and can enjoy the performer's music in tandem with the artwork if they grow tired of standing in the same place.