October 30th, 2006

October bonus concert: Pnuma Trio at Nectar

I did not end up going to see Yo La Tengo two Sundays ago, as I mentioned I might. I got up pretty late on Sunday and had a bunch of things to take care of. However, last night I did end up going to Nectar to see KJ Sawka again, opening for Pnuma Trio and their guest Ryan Burnett of Single Path.

I'm not sure what to add to my previous review of KJ Sawka. The man maintains impressive levels of energy and enthusiasm throughout his hour-plus set of nearly continuous drumming. It's definitely the kind of music you have to know well to pick out discrete tunes; some transitions are broad and obvious, but others blend seamlessly. The only bit I recognized from last time was a vocal sample that I know from DJ Shadow's song "Six Days" (although I'm not sure whether it's original to that song), and that sample doesn't appear on his album, Synchronized Decompression. Actually, I don't recall hearing any of the vocals that are on his album, but again, I'm not yet familiar enough with the material; he may have left those tracks out, or just not used the samples, or I may just be forgetting. After all, breakbeat is less about the recognizable single and more about the continuous beat for dancing, and there was definitely dancing going on.

The dancing continued with Pnuma Trio. The Pnuma Trio play a fast, heady mix of funk, jazz, and drum-n-bass. Their instrumentation included several keyboards and synthesizers, a PowerBook, a five-string bass, and a drum set; their guest Ryan Burnett played guitar and also used an iMac. The foursome demonstrated their virtuosity with tight arrangements, precise tempo changes, and some breakneck (break-finger?) playing. Initially their tempo seemed surprisingly fast for their funky sound, but they ended up varying the tempo frequently, both within the songs and from one to the next. The fast tempo didn't stop the dancers, either; if anything even more people got up and danced. The band also made good use of stage lighting, featuring four multi-faceted moving spotlights (I'm sure there's a short technical name for them, I just liked the alliteration there), and a little machine smoke to make the lights stand out. Unfortunately, I did not bring enough cash to pick up their CD, Live From Out There, but it's available online at the Homegrown Music Network. The band's from Memphis, so I suppose it'll be a while before they're back, but I'll be keeping an eye out for them.

I've got a couple shows in mind for November. On Sunday the 12th, Tahiti 80 are playing the Crocodile Cafe, and also doing an in-store appearance at Sonic Boom Records in Ballard at 6 pm - hmm, maybe I'll just go to the in-store appearance, as it's free. Then on Wednesday the 15th, Asobi Seksu return to Seattle and Chop Suey, where they played back on September 30. I meant to go to that show, and actually was anticipating it quite a bit, but then fate intervened and I wasn't able to make it. So I'm very pleased that they're returning so soon, and I'm expecting it to be pretty wonderful. Hmm, there are quite a few good bands playing in November - for example, Kinski's playing the Crocodile this Friday the 3rd, I see Reggie Watts is doing another show at the Triple Door on the 16th, and a bunch of other big-name acts. As always, take a look at the calendar on the Three Imaginary Girls site for upcoming shows; The Stranger's listings are more comprehensive, but only for the current week.