Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Concert Review: Blues in Space at le Poisson Rouge, NYC 8/19/09

Nice to see a good crowd come out late on a brutally hot weeknight and fill the house for a creative band who refuse to be pigeonholed. Are Blues in Space a metal band? Art-rock? Avant garde? Yes, all of the above and more. This time out bandleader/cellist Rubin Kodheli was backed by a powerfully propulsive drummer and two guitarists, one playing an eight-string a la Charlie Hunter for basslines when Kodheli himself wasn’t fingerpicking a line himself. But bass isn’t what this band is all about – the show was a whirlwind of rich textures, mostly in the high midrange where most noise-rockers make their home. Matching lush melody to ferocious roar, they played a mix of both recorded and unreleased material that almost predictably spanned a vast range of styles.

They opened with the appropriately titled Rage, a chromatically-charged, minor-key stomp perfect for Ozzfest. Kodheli transcends the mold of the classically trained string player, showing off a smirkingly vast knowledge of metal licks and an ability to transpose guitar voicings to the cello. The single best song of the night was a spaghetti western instrumental, Tumbleweed, probably the last thing you’d ever expect an ornate, amplified string ensemble to tackle, but it worked, masterfully, right up to the understated diminuendo of the ending. In the same vein, the group reworked the metal raveup Apocalypse almost as a chamber music suite, the two guitarists feeding the fire with a remarkable restraint. The playfully titled Happy Minor was in fact upbeat, inspiring and completely psychedelic, with the echoey effects on the stringed instruments blending into one another. They closed with another playful, ornate, smartly crafted multistylistic number, The Greatest, matching atmospherics to a crushing metal crescendo. Bands like Blues in Space make a good battering ram: they destroy boundaries. It would make as much sense for them to do Bang on a Can as it would for them to do Ozzfest or for that matter take up residency at a place like Barbes.

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August 20, 2009 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I was there – Blues In Space effing rock! Great review, btw!

    Comment by phunkyjedi08 | August 24, 2009 | Reply


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