Wednesday, September 06, 2006

While The Many Were Away...

With the Bay Bridge closed-up (pretty much) and the Burning Man generation out of town doing their yearly pilgrimage, San Francisco had a wonderful, vacuous, airy and easy feel to it. Reminded me of the mid-eighties, when there seemed to be no one real scene…but instead a quilt of randoms hitting various clubs and checking out different pallets of live music. Easygoing and mellow.

And yes, being offered this weekend was great live performances that electrified comfortably filled clubs. For me, it started after an aborted attempt to reach Mississippi for the annual Turner Family Goat Picnic. 17 hours in a bunch of airports and a fear of being stuck in a Chicago Airport Hotel for the night was all I needed to hit it back home. But if I had landed in Senatobia, I would never have experienced the amaizing musical Sunday night presented.

Greg Ashley started it at The Make-Out room playing solo and showing off his ever-impressive finger picking/strumming/hard-made-easy guitar playing. His set featured songs from the solo record he is currently recording, including a favorite that I THINK is called Life In Prison. The psychadelic wonderboy entranced the crowd and then got up and jumpped out, going to play with the Colossal Yes at the Rite Spot. The headliner of the evening, Tarnation, was at least an hour away. So, I caught a couple of middle-band Winter Flower’s set and then jetted off to catch Greg one more time.

The Colossal Yes were in the middle of their set when I got there. Utrillo Kushner from Comets On Fire is the main man of this trio, playing piano and singing songs he has supposedly been recording in the crevice of his apartment for years (I have to get a hold of the new record). With drummer Garrett Goddard from The Cuts juxtaposing Kushner's gentle but driving playing with valiumed Keith Moon bashes of his own, the songs sounded seventies-sweet and alive (especially huddled around a lone tumbler of whisky, making pretend it was my world being sung about).

Fifteen minutes after their set, Greg took the "stage" and, with Kushner and Goddard, went through a swell version of Apple Pie And Genocide (from the record MEDICINE FUCK DREAM, released finally on vinyl this month). And while I would have loved to see the rest of the set, it was Tarnation I hit it on back to the Make Out. Their new record is coming out on Birdman in February (it is a mighty one, to be sure) , and the set was plum-full of ripe, new songs of sadness. Paula's voice sounded beautiful (how many ways can one describe its signature angelic quality?), and her constant stage compainion Patrick Main (keyboards/background vox/Oranger) filled the room with fragrent garnishes rich. Totally lulling and euphric with a hint country twang amist the dark mirror-ball slowdances. Special note: the killer classic Voxx guitar employed by Frazer to set the tone.

My ship sailed (the show over), I was blasted tired, so I scooted on home to watch Phantom Ship on ARCHIVE.ORG. No playa dust, but with the crisp air of the outer richmond swirlling around.

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