I headed out to Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) where Paul Burke was hosting bands he liked. Tonight, he included his own production BELBIVDEVOIVOD which consisted of excellent electronic near-melodies with a bit of a dark edge. I like to listen to his work because it makes me look at everything in the world differently, and somehow intensifies a sense of serenity and inclusiveness, almost like a drug. Next up was Godlazer who DJ's and remixes, frequently heading into mashup and experimental territory. Not everything he played piqued my interest, but it mostly hit home.
I headed out to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) a second time [and a late update to the JayceLand page, in case you wondered if you missed it the first time]. First up was Bird Show which consisted of one guy playing synth-sourced, digitally-altered, experimental, anti-melodic, anti-tempo music. It was a lot like interesting ambient — only not mellow. Next was Sun Circle who did a trippy meditative set — in one song, for instance, they harmonized reed instruments with a rolling synth tone and burned incense; it was actually a lot better than you might expect.
Finishing up was Autumn In Halifax — joined by "leaves" Joe Tunis and R. Scott Oliver. Although I loved Dave's solo work when he first started playing as Halifax, I've come to really enjoy the new line-up, especially now that it's more mature. The lush poetry of Dave's lyrics works just as well now as it did before, only now it's set against a more traditional three-piece band.
I got to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) a bit early just in case but things got started later than usual. I chatted a bit with Dave Merulla of Autumn In Halifax who was interested in what I'd think of the show tonight. Despite my description last week, Dave would be playing things vanilla acoustic style: no "Leaves" (additional members who join him now and then) and no "band in a box" (a reference he made a few years ago to the digital effects he uses).
In the end, the show was excellent. It's still Dave and still his songs. He was clearly itching to use some effects or have people accompany his playing at times, but he persevered. Afterward he said that he likes to do a few shows all alone like that to shake out the songs. It's like he's building a foundation: that the melody and lyrics have to be strong on their own before he fiddles around with adding decoration and style. And they are generally strong songs to start with. He'll be playing them with "The Leaves" in July at The Little Theatre Café (240 East Ave.).
I've come to really appreciate what he's trying to accomplish. He said that he enjoys playing with additional people for the variation it causes — that there's always something unknown by doing that. He commented that it's usually a matter of trying to figure out which of the wheels is going to fall off first. And as such, the band is constantly changing … I said that my notes on bands are thrown way off with this kind of thing: by this time next year, Autumn in Halifax will have a completely different sound, although rooted in the same quality of music.
I got to thinking about how I like to see people do what they've done before, but it kind of makes them machines. I already have machines for that: they play back audio recordings. So no matter how many times any band plays something different, there's always the possibility of revisiting what was through the last CD.
Anyway, the other band up was The Weird Weeds. They do a sort of accessible experimental music — a bit of alternative-rock and with a bit of experimentation and a bit of harmonization. One of their members was nursing some kind of cold with whiskey, but they still did a great job.