I'm still in recovery mode from spending 3 of the best weeks of my life at the Bang on a Can Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. It was pretty much the ideal life: spending all day playing weird, new music in a contemporary art museum.
Above, I'm preparing to play Amanda Schoofs' piece, Fragility of Permanence underneath the breathtaking phoenix sculptures by Xu Bing.
A really gracious and talented group of musicians agreed to play my piece, touch, in a gallery recital. Here we are playing amongst early Sol LeWitt.
From left to right, the ensemble is:
Stephanie Richards, trumpet
Lina Andonovska, flute
Adrianne Pope, violin
Ted Babcock, vibraphone
Jacob Abele, toy piano
Chuck Furlong, bass clarinet
Doug Machiz, cello
Zeca Lacerda, vibraphone
Ken Thomson, bass clarinet
So sometimes, a shakuhachi master sits in with your band, and he tears it up. And then you find out after the show that he's the bass player for the Violent Femmes. This happens to everybody, right?
Many thanks to Brian Ritchie for rocking out with us last night!
The last Lovely Socialite show in Madison (for a few months) is next Saturday, August 11th at the Project Lodge.
My time in Madison is running out! I will be moving to Ann Arbor, MI, this fall, to start graduate school. While I'm excited for the change, there are certainly a lot of people and projects in Madison that I will miss. This also means that I'll be cramming as much work into this summer as possible!
I'm still reeling from the incredible success of the Lost City Music Festival this past weekend. Mine All Mine Records did an impeccable job of throwing this inaugural festival, and raised a bunch of money for local music charities. I'm very excited to see what they do with it next year. I performed five times at the Festival, and also managed to catch many other bands performing at the various venues.
Here I am with Lovely Socialite at the Project Lodge:
Here are the performances I have lined up for the rest of the summer (more to come):
Tuesdays through July: I'm joining Dietrich Gosser and Dan Kuemmel at Mickey's Tavern throughout July. We're working on getting comfortable as a trio this month, in preparation to do some recordings of Dietrich's songs in early August. My first hit with them was last night, and I had a blast! Excited to see how that develops. Music is free, and starts at 10:30 PM.
July 17th: Siblings, my duo with Page Foster, will be joining Dietrich at Mickey's. 10:30pm
July 20th: Anna Vogelzang at the Project Lodge 7:30pm
July 25th: Weather Duo performs at Project Lodge with Five Dollar Ferrari! and Amanda Schoofs. 7:30pm
August 1st: Lovely Socialite plays the Memorial Union Terrace, sharing the bill with Control, 8pm
August 2nd: Soft Alarm, my new trio with Amanda Schoofs and Devin Drobka, will be debuting at the Project Lodge
We leave tomorrow! Pat (of the Weather Duo) and I are the backing band for Anna Vogelzang's spring tour. Hello midwest! East coast later this spring.
I might post updates as we go, but I don't have a camera and can't afford one of those popular Internet Phones, so we'll see. Check out the dates on Anna's website; maybe I'll see you there!
Played some rock and roll music at the Electroacoustic Barn Dance in Fredericksburg, VA with the inimitable Jeff Herriott, our fantastic host, Mark Snyder, and the cool dudes who ran sound for the whole festival, Stephen Chew and Clayton Gregory.
Last week's concert was a blast! Some people have impressive devices devoted to capturing high-quality images of real-world events, but here are some shots that I captured with the mediocre imitation of such a device that my cellular phone is equipped with:
Rocked the Sett yesterday with Glacier, opening for A Hawk and a Hacksaw:
Whirlwind week. Got back from the Thistle tour and immediately jumped into a bunch of performances. Played L'histoire du Soldat on Tuesday, followed that evening by a Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps performance for Honky Tonk Tuesday at Mickey's Tavern.
Here's an excerpt of us playing my tune, 'to float before sinking,' at that show:
The recording is a super low quality reference recording, but hopefully you get the sense from it that we had fun, because we did.
Next, I went on a mini tour this week with conspirators Anna Weisling, Jeff Herriott, and Eric Sheffield, as a project we're calling Sympathy Swimmers. We reworked Anna's, Eric's and my piece, exit crafting, to include Jeff, and the three of them had a piece called a scrape in the liquid, which we reworked to include me. We also conceived a new improvisation as the four of us to flesh out the set.
I feel super lucky to have these three as friends/collaborators. A good deal of my most artistically satisfying adventures of the last year and a half have been with/through them. (Fyi, their band, bell monks, has just release a great song.)
We played in Minneapolis on Thursday at Bryant Lake Bowl, supporting We Can and We Must. BLB is a bowling alley, bar, and theater. When I first heard of the place, I admit I thought it sounded dubious, (I generally have an aversion to bowling alleys) but it's actually a really cool space to perform. It would have been nice to have had more of an audience, but we had fun. We took the show back to Madison on Friday with a show at the Project Lodge.
We Can and We Must is a really awesome improvising electronics duo from Chicago/Beijing. Composers/performers/improvisors Ryan Ingebritsen and Jason Wampler brought an impressive energy to the stage, using a variety of live electronics, samples, live samples, programmed beats, and live drums and keyboards. Anna Weisling jumped on board with great aplomb to do visuals for them both nights, which was very impressive.
And then tonight! Local innovators New Muse coordinated another splendid event, a Vaudevillesque variety show at local gay bar Plan B. They asked Weather Duo to open the night, and we obliged.
We play again on Sunday, with a May Day performance at Crossroads Coffeeshop in Cross Plains.
And amidst all this running about, I've been rehearsing this week with singer/songwriter Page Foster, because I'm playing with her on June 4th at the Just Coffee warehouse. I'll also be playing a set with Thistle and the Thorns. Page had to teach me her tunes this week, because she's all cool and going to play some shows in New York throughout May.
Here she is playing on Mars or somewhere:
Drove into Madison early this morning through the rainy Wisconsin sunrise, returning home from the week-long Thistle and Thorns Earth Week tour. What a great week! It's really rewarding to be performing on the road. Through meeting some really great people, we explored farms and mansions around the midwest.
It was also great to spend a solid week performing Thistle's songs--I definitely gained a deeper appreciation for them by getting to explore them every night. She's one of those artists who does really important work.
Getting excited to perform Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat later this month! Tuesday, April 26th, 11am, in Mills Hall at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
I've gotten so excited I drew a poster for the recital:
Any excuse to draw a grinning devil is a valid one.
We're also playing Bach's Brandenburg No. 2 (as you can see), which will be rather fun as well.
I send emails occasionally about upcoming performances. They're very cordial.
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