Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Alone Together @ LPR 4/10/12

Free for members and I would have gone anyway!  I went for Billy and he was definitely my favorite.  I did enjoy Sarah.  Gregory was great - I could certainly feel it - just a little more mellow than I would like.

It started with a 15 minute phenomenal Billy solo.  He had a scaled- down setup compared to the massive amounts of instruments I've seen him haul out to gigs.  It really doesn't matter what he brings - I'm happy with whatever he wants to play.  He had a standard drumkit, mbira, some flat bells on the floor, some kind of glockenspiel, a bunch of interesting tribal whistles, those shaky things I still haven't found the name of, probably something else.  It's interesting how whistles and duck calls seem to be in the percussion family.  I need to research that.

At the end of the phenomenal 15 minute set, Gregory came out to play some piano.  He had some visual artists put together films after listening to his compositions.  There was a mixup at first and he played a very sad song to a funny film piece and then the more lively song to the sad visual.  I liked the concept, it was more mellow than I wanted that night.  Also. When I skimmed the listing, I thought he was going to be playing tablas and I was excited about that.

Sarah Neufeld came up to join him a little for the last piece before she went into her violin set.  She has a very interesting sound.  There's almost some kind of drone or hum that's included and it makes it sound alive in a different kind of way.  I enjoyed it.

Billy was sitting on the floor of the stage for the other 2 solo 15 minute sets so he was ready to start his next one right after Sara ended.  It was phenomenal and much more for me.

We got another piano visual arts 15 min then another violin 15 min.  It ended with Sara on violin, Billy on the drumkit, and Gregory on some percussion bells with sticks.  It was an awesome 75 minutes.
The Alone Together Tour - An Evening of Solo Works
w/ Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) , Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre) and Gregory Rogove (Devendra Banhart, Priestbird)

Three instrumentalists from different but related musical communities step out of the band atmosphere to present their solo compositions for this very special "Alone Together" tour. Each artist will perform solo on their respective instrument, exploring a variety of different compositional approaches. Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) will perform his impressive array of spontaneous percussion/drum set compositions, Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire/Bell Orchestre) will present her unique and vibrant solo violin pieces, and Gregory Rogove (Devendra Banhart/Megapuss/Priestbird) will play his minimalist, solo piano pieces, from his recently released PIANA album (Knitting Factory Records).

The Alone Together Tour - An Evening of Solo Works
Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood)
Above all else, Billy Martin believes in the power of unguarded expression to capture glimpses of the truth – sometimes only fleetingly, sometimes for extended, intoxicating stretches. He pursues the ecstatic and the insightful from a variety of vantage points: as a drummer and percussionist, as a composer, as a filmmaker, sculptor, visual artist, and even as a carpenter. To varying degrees, each endeavor is marked by Martin’s dearly held belief that unfettered improvisation and an honest commitment to the moment at hand can bring about new levels of understanding, new perspectives, new sonic textures, and a more profound emotional impact. “In any circumstance, any medium,” he reflects, “you need to be sincere with yourself and with your audience. This is who you are, and you’ve got to be trying as hard as you can to create something for the situation that’s new and fresh. There are going to be some mistakes, it may not be perfect, but you’ve got to be willing to take that chance at any given moment.”

Photo: Danny Clinch
Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre)
Gregory Rogove (Devendra Banhart, Priestbird)
Gregory Rogove grew up in Amish Country, Pennsylvania. At the age of eighteen he moved to Mumbai, India to study the tabla. In 2002, he moved to NYC where he remained for six years. There he met Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi and formed the band Priestbird (Tarantula A.D). Priestbird released two EPs and two LPs on Kemado records and shared the stage with artists such as Pearl Jam, Grizzly Bear, Marc Ribot, and the Sword among others. While in NYC he also collaborated, toured, and recorded with artists such as the Flesh, Metallic Falcons, CocoRosie, and Devendra Banhart. Greg contributed to Banhart's Cripple Crow album in 2006 and the following year joined the band full time, recording and touring in support of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (2007) and What Will We Be (2009).

In 2008 Greg moved to Los Angeles and formed Megapuss with Banhart and Fab Moretti (the Strokes). That same year Megapuss released their first album, Surfing, on Neil Young's Vapor records. Priestbird recently recorded a new record with Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) at the helm in his studio Litho in Seattle. They released their new album, Beachcombers, in May, 2011.

In early 2012, Knitting Factory Records released the Rogove’s album Piana, a collection solo instrumental piano pieces, which were performed by John Medeski (Medeski Martin and Wood) for the recording. Piana includes a DVD of musical and visual reinterpretations, or “remixes” of the piano pieces.

Greg has participated in a few multi-drum ensembles including the Boredom's 88 Boadrum piece performed on 8/8/08 at the La Brea Tar pits, and along side Beck and Caetano Veloso for Doug Aitken's 20 drummer/auctioneer/gospel choir/whip master piece for LA's Museum of Contemporary Art in November, 2010. In addition to his full time projects, he has recently recorded with The Family Band, Living Sacrifice, Tamara Kaboutchek, Chase Cohl, and Adam Green; and co-produced Natalia Lafourcade with Noah Georgeson. Greg recently scored the film Guadalupe the Virgin by director Victoria Giordana.

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