FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
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– SET I (tracks 1-6) –
– SET II (tracks 7-16) –
– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#26)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!
The Montréal theme picks back up after another absent week last Friday – sorry, folks, it’s summer and last minute plans to hit the sunshine/woods/beach can get in the way of sharing tunes … but I’m not going anywhere, so more tunes will always be coming, if a bit delayed, and of course The Shack Project is open 24/7/365 for streaming/downloading HUNDREDS of shows. But back to the gig at hand (or at ear?) …
– SET I –
Big Time > I Wanna Ride You kicks of the 1st set in fine energetic fashion, and then Brahim Fribgane joins the trio for Lifeblood and the sounds get a little more expansive and percussive over the rest of the set, and show when Trilok Gurtu joins in as well. Brahim adds a nice layer in Lifeblood that carries over into the plodding opening to Think – illyB and Brahim, along with John’s squonks, lay the bed that Wood bows over and moves to plucking, building up the tension as we wait for the Think melody to really kick in from John just before the 2min mark. There is some stellar piano work from John in the middle of this tune – like, wow! – before the tune opens into a Drums/Percussion session for a couple of minutes that eventually leads us to Fire! Hendrix-style, through an MMW lense … and where there’s Fire, there’s Smoke (sometimes the reverse) – a subtly groovy end to this pumping set. Clocking in at just under an hour, that is still some dense musicality to wade through – it’s about quality, not quantity. The set has a perfect overall feel and arc to it … the 2nd set gives us a little more quantity with our quality though …
– SET II –
After roughly a minute of sounds gurgling and building, the HEAVY Uninvisible bassline begins, everyone jumps in and this set is off to a HIGH energy start – there’s quite a sound palette on stage with the trio now that Charlie Hunter (8-string guitar) and Trilok Gurtu (tablas & percussion) have joined the mix in addition to Brahim. So when the Open Improv busts out the end of the track, it actually develops into this percussive heavy groove by the end of it before veering into a very smooth Improv on the next track, again with a heavy percussive feel. Oh yeah, this sounds real nice and eventually the melodic instruments drop out and we are in a full on drums jam – sweet! These guys are having fun together, lots of different toys in the mix, Billy (presumably) moves to the kit after a while as the other two(?) carry on with some more hand-based percussion. The Percussion Improv takes us into a jiggly Jelly Belly, and again so cool to hear the sounds the guests bring to this familiar tune, which opens into its common Drum Solo outro, but Billy is once again accompanied by our percussive guests who colour the classic Nostalgia In Times Square as well when the others join back in after the drum break. Interestingly, Nostalgia isn’t its usually medleyed-self since Sun Ra’s Angel Race (I’ll Wait For You) is absent from the performance, so instead we get a full fleshed-out take on this old tune with the life of these new young sounds.
Next up is Start/Stop, which is a groove I can’t get enough of. Love the way the tune pushes itself out into space, further and further with each “stop” break, again HEAVILY coloured by percussion, so these moments of open space have a little extra umph to them (and is Charlie absent here? Not sure I hear him? Sometimes he’s getting lost in the mix though, so …). Just when you’re not sure if the open space is just pushing out further only to “start” again into the main melody, or whether the band is just pushing out into open space more, suddenly a beat starts @11:20 of the track and we are instantly Toy Dancing – nice! Love when Billy starts that beat on his hand drum. So this has a nice slow burn for a start as the percussive groove builds up more and more, creating a bit of tension to finally be released when the tune kicks in a bit more, Billy moves to the kit and the groove settles out – not sure if that’s Trilok on vocals? I think so … only show we have with the guy, and I don’t recall Brahim ever vocalizing in the past. Charlie steps up nicely in Toy Dancing for an extended solo, before the track eventually simmers down to more percussion interaction and then eventual silence, followed by some line-up announcements by Billy.
A high energy combo of Pappy Check > The Lover, so new > old, closes the set. Oddly, it sounds to my ears like both Brahim and Trilok have left the stage when Pappy Check begins, leaving only Charlie to guest on this tune, but then it seems like those guys return to close out the set on The Lover.
And then as the encore, for the first time in 2002, Bubblehouse is played much to the crowd’s delight! (I sometimes wonder if folks calling for “Bubblehouse” at every show even know *what* song they’re requesting, but I digress.) Billy announces they’re going to play this song for the LAST TIME ever simply because of the very special guests – last time Charlie played with them in ’96 Bubblehouse was one of the tunes – but that they don’t play this song anymore, and this is basically it. (They do play the song again, but not until 2003 which only has like 2 performances, 2004 has 4 takes on the track, and it starts coming back a bit more after than until we get to the Radiolarians years, after which Bubblehouse makes a triumphant return being the *only* song requested for *every* show on the band’s 2011 tour where they solicited audience requests for their first sets along the tour, and improvised the 2nd sets.) And the version’s intense Bubbles bring the House down!
So anyway, this is a very HEADY version of Bubblehouse so soak it up and check out this whole show top-to-bottom as you enjoy your Friday Afternoon In The Universe …
enjoy the grooves,