I Went To See A Band...

Ries

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Some bands, I saw once, and that was enough.
I saw Crosby Stills Nash & Young live in 1970, for example, and never felt the need to go see them again. Young, yeah. But once was enough for the whole band- I got the full experience, one and done.

Other bands, though, I will go see as many times as I possibly can, because they dont just play Suite Judy Blue Eyes for the 1 millionth time, but instead, are always different.

Axel Krygier is one of those musicians.

I went to see him on Saturday, the day after his birthday, at a small club in Agronomio, and the club, filled to capacity, was mostly his friends, come to see what he was up to today.

Axel has been a sideman, a collaborator, a bandleader, a solo artist, a dj, a composer, and a shit disturber all his life.
He plays a wide range of horns, reeds, keyboards, and can vamp on most any instrument, but he hates rules.

This show was a layered construction of beats, samples, and live keyboard, with the result strange dreamy songs that were soundtracks from films that never existed, snatches of overheard voices, and radio hits from another planet.

He was joined by Federico Lamas, who is among other things, a video artist. Lamas matched Axels music with projections of animated Dutch Master paintings, brought scarily alive and demonically possessed, bopping and fingersnapping along with the music. His videos were not quite narrative, but often responsive to the music. It was creepy and irresistable at the same time.

Nobody expected quite this music, or this video, and the crowd was pretty quiet and transfixed, although quickly appreciative. You couldnt exactly dance to it, but a trancelike sway came over us all.

here is a video, for another musician, that Lamas recently created, using his style of re-animating dead paintings.

Axel at a TED talk, ten years ago- but it gives you an idea of who he can be, which is a collision of rock nacional, classical, klezmer, tango, cartoon soundtracks, experimental music, jazz, and science fiction- in other words, someone who is always worth going to see, because it will never be the same.
 
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Arizona gal

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Some bands, I saw once, and that was enough.
I saw Crosby Stills Nash & Young live in 1970, for example, and never felt the need to go see them again. Young, yeah. But once was enough for the whole band- I got the full experience, one and done.

Other bands, though, I will go see as many times as I possibly can, because they dont just play Suite Judy Blue Eyes for the 1 millionth time, but instead, are always different.

Axel Krygier is one of those musicians.

I went to see him on Saturday, the day after his birthday, at a small club in Agronomio, and the club, filled to capacity, was mostly his friends, come to see what he was up to today.

Axel has been a sideman, a collaborator, a bandleader, a solo artist, a dj, a composer, and a shit disturber all his life.
He plays a wide range of horns, reeds, keyboards, and can vamp on most any instrument, but he hates rules.

This show was a layered construction of beats, samples, and live keyboard, with the result strange dreamy songs that were soundtracks from films that never existed, snatches of overheard voices, and radio hits from another planet.

He was joined by Federico Lamas, who is among other things, a video artist. Lamas matched Axels music with projections of animated Dutch Master paintings, brought scarily alive and demonically possessed, bopping and fingersnapping along with the music. His videos were not quite narrative, but often responsive to the music. It was creepy and irresistable at the same time.

Nobody expected quite this music, or this video, and the crowd was pretty quiet and transfixed, although quickly appreciative. You couldnt exactly dance to it, but a trancelike sway came over us all.

here is a video, for another musician, that Lamas recently created, using his style of re-animating dead paintings.

Axel at a TED talk, ten years ago- but it gives you an idea of who he can be, which is a collision of rock nacional, classical, klezmer, tango, cartoon soundtracks, experimental music, jazz, and science fiction- in other words, someone who is always worth going to see, because it will never be the same.
Both these videos are very fascinating to look and listen too. Not boring for sure. Thanks for sharing them and other bands you go see.
 

Ries

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While I know a fair amount about obscure and weird bands, globally, and more than average in Argentina, I am not at all interested in mainstream pop, and dont pay much attention to it.
So, when at La Grande on tuesday, the first set was mostly the band backing up a woman singer, I had no idea who Ivonne Guzman was.
It turns out, she was one of the TV show winners chosen to be in Bandana, a Spice Girls like band in Argentina in 2001, which had records that went quadruple platinum, and several of their albums were the single best sellers the years they were released.

Who knew?

Guzman evidently only lasted 3 years with the group, but it obviously made her famous, as the night was full of "bridge and tunnel" chicas who were 12 in 2002. She is OK, in my opinion- a good singer, not incredible, but to be praised for breaking free of the packagers, and creating a career for herself that is, while commercial, personal and creative. The crowd, of course, went wild, lots of phones filming the entire set.

The band stretched her out, too, obviously playing stuff she was comfortable with, but in a much more jazz and funk way than her studio work, with more changes, solos, and improv expected of her. She did well, everybody was happy, and after intermission, most of the single purpose fans left, but the place filled up all over again with regulars.

Here is a recent solo song of hers.
 

Ries

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After the break, the core 9 piece house band ( 2 full drum kits, one percussionist on congas, keyboard player, bass, guitar, electric cello, and two horn players) began a long jazz based jam, with lots of solos, and started adding guest perfomers- the number on stage peaked at 13 at one point, including 5 percussionists. At one point, Juana Molina sat behind a drum kit, and acquitted herself quite well, particularly since the other drummers were world class. Then there engaged a sort of rap battle between Juana and a couple of rappers who regularly sit in. The music ranged wildly across all genres, and everybody danced.

La Grande will be back at Sala Siranoush, in Palermo, on Saturday the 22nd.
 

Ries

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I am a huge Daniel Melero fan- an artist who is virtually unknown in the US. To me, he is kind of the John Cale of Argentina- not in the sense of musicianship, as Cale is a far better musician, but in the sense of his Zelig-lik 40 plus year career of constantly being behind the scenes of all kinds of amazing records and musicians, and of constantly playing whatever he wants, often very adventurous and non-commercial, but always interesting.

Its been a couple of years since I last saw him live. So on Friday, we went to see him at La Tangente, in Palermo.
In typical Melero style, the opening act was an hour of wild animation by Ayer Blasco, which is kind of the Bevis and Butthead of Argentina. Blasco is pretty well known for his Bugs Boni and Don Luis mini animations. And his comic books, and his stop motion animations.
Its not what you expect to see in a club.

que cool-

Then, Melero.
The last few times I have seen Melero, he had a crack band of incredibly talented young musicians, and a very rocking live show. Usually, his studio albums are more reserved and minimal- although they can range from electronica to piano ballads. He has a big following for his ironic, minimal lyrics, which could be perceived as philosophical, or poetic, or punk, depending on your viewpoint. Some of them are Cohen-esque, although, unlike Leonard, Melero never talks to, or receives instruction from, God.

This night, however, in typical Melero fashion, he has done exactly what he wants- which means re-interpreting his classic album, Travesti, from 1994, solely with synths and electronic beats. He is not a lounge act that will recreate your fond memories of your teenage years- he always insists on expanding your mind...

He was playing a synth, in a very wild and abrasive style, while crooning the old songs, accompanied by my friend Naku Berni, who is a mad genius if there ever was one- Naku is a recording engineer, who works with dozens of bands, but also has helped make the last few Melero albums- and Naku, in his spare time, has a cumbia band that plays only modded Nintendo Game Boys (with maybe the occasional playstation). So Naku was supplying beats, and going wild on synths, controlled by sometimes two Ipads at once, totally rocking out. The result was kind of somewhere between Leonard Cohen, Blue Cheer, and the Acid Mothers Temple, with a bit of Elton John backed by Skinny Puppy thrown in.

And yet, the crowd, which ranged from about 16 to 70, was totally into it. Argentines often seem to have less ridgid expectations of what a star MUST do. It was great, you could dance to it, and Naku and Melero got very sweaty.

It was a bit like this concert they did in September, but crazier and more chaotic. Picture this, plus Sonic Youth.
 

Ries

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Melero has a history of being unexpected.

There is a story, probably apochyphal, that the first time Cerati saw Melero, in the early 80s at somebodys rehearsal studio, he said- "hat guy is the worst musician I have ever seen, and I want him in my band."
But even if its not true, its easy to imagine it happening.
Melero's first band, Los Encargados, was, like its name, irreverent.
In the early 80s, he played with many of the most important rock nacional musicians, and did a sort of tongue in cheek variation on British post punk, and was big on TV-

But he was never afraid to make fun of himself.
 

Ries

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Tuesday at Lagrande, the featured artist was Mariana Baraj. After a warm up set, she joined the band for some percussive heavy afro cuban jazz like music, although, technically, I think she is probably a folk singer. They did several songs together, and then, she returned for part of the second set, along with up to 4 female percussionists on stage at once, a female freestyle rapper, and another argentine expat (I think she lives in NYC) who had a truly amazing, powerful voice. I think they peaked at 14 people on stage.

When she is with her own band, she sounds like this-

With the La Grande band, she stiffened her backbone, and wailed, because to compete with 9 guys, including 2 drummers and 2 trombones, you need to be operating at full power. When everybody on stage has such amazing musical talent, powerful things happen.

 

Ries

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One of the things that never changes here is the casual attitude towards promotion.
Last week, my wife saw, on a personal facebook page, an announcement of a show the next day.
Previously, we had seen zero publicity.
So, of course, on Weds we went down to Torquato Tasso, on Defensa, across from Parque Lezama, to see Soema Montenegro and Grecia Alban. Torquato Tasso is a classic small Argentine bar/theater, it could be any time in the last 80 years when you walk in, with a jewel box of a little art deco stage, pizza and fernet and cokes.
Miraculously, it started on time, at ten, promptly.

Soema Montenegro, who lives in Haedo, has an irrepressible personality, an amazing range, and sings in a wide variety of styles that range from folkloric to jazz. She is always very fun to watch, and this night she had an excellent 3 piece band with her, all of whom played multiple instruments very well- at one point, there was guitar bass and drums, another song was both accordian and bandeon, some soprano sax, and lots of percussion.

about of half of this band was with her.
 

Ries

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After a brief intermission, there was a set by the Ecuadorian singer songwriter Grecia Alban. Like Soema, Alban starts with folkloric songs, but then adds a wide range of singing styles, and can really sing.
She was accompanied by a classical guitar player, and a keyboard player on accordian, both of whom could play anything. It was somewhat like this, although the styles of songs she sang went beyond just folk.

 
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