Monday, February 21, 2011

Energies: Past & Present

Gang of Four at The Fillmore 3, originally uploaded by deanv41.

I took in two concerts on Saturday night, one planned and the other by happenstance.

The main event was Gang of Four at The Fillmore, the most durable of the post-punk bands from the late 1970s and early 80s. Their show was a masterclass in energetic tension, ecstatic release, sharp social critique and proof of the viability of the group's power nearly a quarter of a century after its founding. Here, Jon King keeps an industrial beat with what appears to be a large bone striking a microwave oven, beating it into submission.
Both before the show and after I stopped in across the street at The Boom Boom Room for a drink and happened to catch an Oakland band that brought a spirited energy to their performance as well as a very catchy look. Tornado Rider, a trio of bass, guitar, and bowed electric cello, whipped the crowd up wonderfully with a combination of Jabber-rappy banter, musical muscle, and the confidence of Queen.
Tornado Rider at The Boom Boom Room 3
The shows were less a contrast than a compliment between generations, both channeling rock's endless energy from opposite generational poles and reminding me of music's collective power and life-giving inspiration. Even if, having drunk too much from the physical cup, I felt a tiny bit like death the next day...

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