Sunday, September 23, 2012

Last night in Turners Falls: Spirit in the Boot #2

From the people who brought us Endless Gratitude is a series of shows at a lovely home on K Street. Beverly Ketch, L' Shunkle Ebunkle and their old dependable beagle Hank welcomed strangers and friends alike with chili and margaritas to enjoy a line up of original local talent.

The night was pleasant and the people friendly but the show got off on the slow side because the first set was supposed to be done by OLD PAM who never showed up. This is forgivable because Old Pam is a moniker for a woman who was having a birthday and the last she was seen was hiking and climbing enchanted caverns with a flickering headlamp and (it is said by some) mushrooms and glitter manicures. This is unsubstantiated rumor, however, and this reporter denies all gossip-mongering.

The show started with Chris Carlton, known around the Pioneer Valley as one third of Frozen Corn, doing a solo set. He filled the living room with pathos and amusement, sometimes concurrently, such as with his first song, a lively tune played with banjo but with lyrics that could deflate a clown fresh out of clown school.

The next few songs reminded me of tunes by Donovan but slower and more thoughtful. Instead of singing, as Donovan did, of lovely prostitutes and helio superheroes, Chris showed us a world of attacking birds and doleful townspeople. One song almost became less bleak when he sang about someone driving their (assumed deceased) father's car and the melody of the tune made me think of Harry Nilsson, which I enjoy, but then the last lyric reinforced the seeming theme of the set. For the last two of his songs he treated us to a vocal wonder when he sang along to a couple harmonium type instruments. He had a smaller one on top which he ran while playing along with his guitar and after that song, put that instrument aside and opened up the larger harmonium-type player and sang in unison to some of its notes which was very interesting sounding.

 We then left the living room for the garage, which had been recently cleared out by Beverly, and made good use of for while Bryan Gillig played and sang inside its cozy walls, it began to rain outside.  Bryan was set up with guitar, prepared tape noise and recordings and microphone. He had a lot going on for one guy, levels of sound which was amusing to try to inventory. I spent sometime outside the window of the garage listening because it got crowded in there quick. Here he is continuing the rapture with a banjo.

The rain continued and a storm rolled into western Mass. Laminated Apes was ready to play. They were going to finish the night with a set of improv noise and melody. While they played, lightning lit up the garage again and again through the windows and the antics of the band included a broken lamp.
This photo of them is amusing. It shows the vocalist, L' Shunkle Ebunkle, with a scary mask and holding his small keyboard. The keyboard is held in such a way that it looks like it is Andy's head, except you can see him peeping out from under it a little while playing his slide guitar jams. Shown clearly are the other folks, Jim Bliss, who played guitar riffs and toward the end of their set things got quiet and he showed off some colorful parts, Bob Fay playing tape sounds and an electrified mini-autoharp, which was bright-sounding and somewhat startling at times and Ted Lee, over to the far right, playing his cymbals and styrofoam with bow and imagination. They went on for a while but the lightning outlasted them.

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