Amazing Grapes, 5/23

After a half day at the day job I piled myself and my gear into the car and headed south. As this was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend the traffic on the thruway was like a parking lot… thankfully on the other side of the median and pointed in the opposite direction of where I was going. My side was moving swiftly and smoothly in spite of the number of troopers on the road. Got down in good time, arriving at the venue about a half hour before scheduled load in.

Headed inside to loiter while waiting for the rest of SD to show up and we could schlepp our gear in. While waiting the phone rings at the register by the front door. The guy who answers it (Jeff? – sorry, I am really bad at retaining names) says to the guy on the other end, “hang on, I’ll put one of the band members on” and hands me the phone. “They want to know what kind of music you play.” Uh… that’s THE question, isn’t it? I give the guy on the phone what is becoming the standard answer:

“We are a trio playing what might best be described as ‘improvised, post-progressive fusion of experimental rock and ambient music’. We are often compared to early Pink Floyd though I don’t always hear the connection. A blend of all of the incarnations of King Crimson might be a more accurate comparison with a strong resemblance to the King Crimson side project ProjeKCt 2.”

Clear? Easy? You know just what we sound like now don’tcha? Actually, if they are familiar with King Crimson the second half of that above description actually paints a pretty clear picture. If they aren’t – well it’s all just gibberish. And as much as I’d like to think what we do is unique and groundbreaking, we have yet to escape our influences. I wonder if the guy on the phone came out and what his response was.

So Mike shows up, we load in, set up and then Doc shows up and loads in and then the gremlins get to work. This time it is Mike’s turn to be plagued with technical difficulties so we got off to a slower, more ambient start. When Mike finally joined in I think we had enough tension wound up in the three of us we exploded. And then began what might be the eternal pattern for a SD gig. Some audients are perplexed, taken aback and/or frightened and start to migrate away from where we are playing while others are drawn in and actually listen. Then there’s the folks who just don’t want to give up their barstool and weather the storm regardless of their opinion of the music (which sometimes but not always shifts throughout the evening). All of this effects the enrergy in the room in very noticeable ways and in turn informs our musical choices.

The sets went by in a blur. Doc was complimentary of my playing but post-show I have no idea what I really did or how well. Gotta trust the Doc, I guess. Highlights were throwing in random samples of everything from a soundbite of Doc speaking on an old radio interview to samples of Mike’s v-drums to spoken snippets from Fripp, Bennett, and excerpts from a dramatization of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Also at one point there was a cacophany coming from Mike’s corner of a new and unusual tambre. Apparently he plugged his iPod in to his amp and was playing a Stockhausen excerpt. You will never hear the recording of a Stone Document gig in an elevator – unless it’s an express elevator to Hell.

Ed from the Looper’s Delight list showed up and it was really great to meet him. We seem to have a lot of mutual aquaintences. It was also nice to have someone there who understands what we are doing both aestheticaly and on the technology side. There’s talk of a kind of a Looper’s showcase or festival happening somewhere in the Northeast and we’re hoping it wll allow a lot of us to meet and share what we do and what we know.

Also, the folks who run Amazing grapes have been and continue to be very supportive of us and we greatly appreciate that.

Then came the drive home, or more precisely the drive back to Vermont and to work. By the time I get home and to sleep I will have been up for about 33 hours. The things we do to make ourselves available to music…

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