Hey look – it’s me! Well, was. This photo’s from 2015, taken at a show I played in Costa Rica sometime around when Baltimore decide to go all neoclassical and revisit the whole race riot thing. Xime was about 9 months old then and this was probably our first major trip outside of the occasional expedition to the county line for a Trader Joe’s run and one burn up to New York for a long weekend to check out the massive failure otherwise known as the Björk retrospective at the Moma. Not to knock the artistic merits of said Icelandic songstress, but a.) being a fringe member of popular society ors not make you a contemporary artist by default and b.) Biesenbach should be downgraded to window dressings ad Macy’s and the occasional show in Vegas. It really was that bad. Case in point, over a year afterwards, the mere thought of the show boils the blood, much like a certain presidential candidate from New York – you know, the corrupt, racist misogynist one. I’m sure it’s probably already happened, but for those in the know about the whole X-Men franchise, several parallels can be drawn to the various Mojoverse story arcs.
That was all a tangent. It was May 2015. I hadn’t played a show since August 2014. I was rusty and I was still hauling the rig I used at Battery Townsley for the Soundwave Biennial as my live rig. Having spent a good portion of our week in San José, working on paperwork, we had just done the proper Tico thing of taking the weekend off and heading to Puerto Viejo for surf and sun. José Duarte had me booked at Amon Solar, opening for his latest band with Arce and Ortuno and we hit construction. Then, after construction, we encountered a fatality on on the road as a Norwegian footballer collided with a banana truck. Then there was a storm in the pass and the car was down to one headlight. We arrived back to the house just in time for me to change, grab my gear and hoof it to the venue, fortunately only 5 blocks away. Checking in, I was in for a bit of a surprise as José only then mentioned that I was playing with Alex.
Enter Alex Catona. Good guy. Cellist. Not from Costa Rica, but I met him the first day I arrived in 2011. Has some similarities other than an involvement with the Costa Rican art scene via marriage to a Costa Rican artist, as discovered over several beer sessions at Bar Buenos Aires. We’d talked about playing as a duo several times but our schedules never allowed it to happen and trying to get the local crew to go along with our non-idiomatic training just wasn’t happening. In certain parts of the world, explaining the merits of Derek Bailey and free improvisation outside of any particular idiom is still a thing. I will neither confirm or deny if it is or isn’t down south.
So anyways. The gig was ok. We’re improvisers. We roll with it. Of course, I was performing on an instrument designed for printmaking, but such is the case. After the gig, we discussed the prospects of a couple real shows, some recording and a tour. And as of tomorrow, that’s a thing. The only issue is that it’s September, and the non-profit that holds the monopoly on new music shows in Charm City just had their “curated” festival that also involved a moratorium on just abut any other gig in the city for a month before and a month after so the east coast was out. So we’re going west by way of a long weekend in the Bay.
Show 1 = Thursday, 9/22 at the Luggage Store in SF.
Show 2 = Friday, 9/23 at Pro Arts in Oakland.
Then some recording and social visits and the like. Then a burn to San diego for me to look at a school. then a burn back to Balt to get my GRE on. Life – it is better when you have deadlines as opposed to vague plans such as “work up until a certain point, plan to quit and then push it back another few months as something comes up. Either way, we’ll be in the Bay this weekend – drop a line if you want to hang.
Also, a quick re-touch on thing one: I’ll be doing a small, limited run of Mosswaves for those looking for a fancy box for autumn. For the holidays, we’ll probably be rolling out a Mosswave kit for those DIY folks out there. More coming. Have the fly gig bags packed – just need to finish laundry, work, send out a bunch of emails, pack, sleep, check in and get on a plane.