Continuing their year long road trip, Greg Ginn and his pals rolled into Berkeley on an unseasonably warm evening, setting up shop in the basement of Blake's on Telegraph. Scott and I followed suit, foregoing a chance to see Gang Gang Dance over in S.F.
Although the format of the show was exactly the same as that of their July appearance, there were differences in the sound(s). To start with, bassist Cliff Samuels is no longer with the group(s). Greg has taken over the bass chores within the Corrugators, and their sound has changed pretty substantially. As opposed to their earlier sound, which was very heavily guided by Samuel's Can-like playing, Ginn's bass lines are much bluesy-er. Greg also seems to like leaving tons of space between his notes, giving the Corrugators a somewhat easier overall flow. Steve DeLollis's drumming has benefited profoundly from this year's heavy SST approach to touring. His touch was sweeter in Jazz sense, his swing reminding me at times of the great Kevin Carnes, master drummer for S.F.'s Broun Fellinis. His approach in the Corrugators is now much funkier. Lastly, Bobby Bancalari has had to assume the sole conventional melodic spot within the band. His mandolin playing was just beautiful, at times hitting Garcia-like heights within the improv Rock of the band. His sound gives them their Jam Band stamp, and if you're inclined to enjoy that approach, you'll probably dig hearing his flights of fancy.
After a short break, during which the band essentially acted as their own road crew, setting up the video monitors for Jambang's multimedia aspect, Greg strapped on his guitar and led his new fave project through their set of synced-up-to-samples sounds. Obviously the lack of live bass has somewhat of a detrimental effect on the overall Rock bottom end of Jambang's spectrum; their new approach allows for the listener to be really transported by the extreme high end tones that they generate. Towards the end of their set, during which I believe to be the song The Big Bang, Jambang achieved really psychedelic lift-off, with guitar and mandolin locking in tight with Steve's motorik drumming, all three elements delivering an amazing, minutes long locked groove. It was awesome, and had me pinned to a wall, eyes closed and mentally tripping. That's what Jam bands are good for, right?
I guess Jambang and the Taylor Texas Corrugators will be heading back to the Lone Star State soon, hopefully in order to take stock and do some new recordings. Greg Ginn remains an innovative and creative musician, and I'm happy that I was able to hear him live again. Gang Gang Dance will have to wait. I probably wouldn't have been wearing the correct pants for that show, anyway.
Thanks Scott and Melissa, who both asked, "what happened to your blog?"