You kids, get off my lawn!
Um, is there anything more flamingly homoerotic than this Ultimate Fighting Championship nonsense?
I realize I run the risk of getting my ass kicked by a Hummerload of Tapout mooks, but sometimes the obvious must be stated. And when half the joints in town are featuring TVs blaring video footage of sweaty guys on mats humping each other like crazed teenagers or tumescent yard dogs, it becomes a public-nuisance issue. So, restaurant owners: Knock it off already! You’re spoiling my lunch!
Anyway, Ross Hammond has a pretty sweet new CD out now, called Duets. Happened to catch some of his act at Bodytribe last weekend, where he played guitar in between vegan-food demonstrations, as part of the Ni Project trio, with drummer Alek Jenkins and sampler/texturalist Ruben Reveles.
Duets nicks an idea previously explored 20 years ago by eclectic bassist Rob Wasserman, on an album with the same title. It was a nifty idea then, and it still is: Showcase a player’s versatility in a variety of contexts, with the duo structure providing a framework that keeps the recording from becoming excessively Byzantine.
As a guitarist, Hammond has grown tremendously over the years, as this set of pairings with local and Northern California players—Jenkins, Alecia Sanchez, Byron Blackburn (who was playing up the street Saturday at Old Soul at Weatherstone), Chris Ferreira, David Bole, Kevin Corcoran, Lisa Mezzacappa, Lucio Menegon, Phillip Greenlief, Randy McKean, Rick Lotter, Scott Amendola, Shawn Hale, Tom Monson and Vincent Difiore—attests. The individual pieces vary from meditative and melancholy to densely forested and upbeat, some of them either with multiple overdubs of Hammond’s guitar, or else he’s got more hands than an eight-armed Shiva statue.
You can catch Hammond live all over town, with a concentrated dose at the upcoming In the Flow Festival, a two-day event he’s curating for the weekend of August 2-3 at the revamped True Love Coffeehouse, which now occupies only the upstairs at 2315 K Street. The fest has 15 acts lined up, with Saturday’s show “co-headlined” by the Lovely Builders and Vinny Golia and Sunday’s show topped by Nagual and the Harley White Jr. Orchestra. Hammond’s Web site, www.rosshammond.com, should have the details up soon.
Monday nights have turned into a pretty good evening for live music, now that Jerry Perry is booking Old Ironsides (this Monday features the English Singles, Phil Wilson of English pop group the June Brides and Baby Grand), to compete with the established Club Pow! feature at The Press Club.
This past Monday’s Club Pow! opened with a live-drummer edition of Pets, with Eddie Jorgensen replacing the drum machine behind guitarist Allison Jones and bassist Derek Feith. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Jesus and Mary Chain-style buzz saw robopop Jones and Feith make with their drum machine, but a live drummer really opens up their sound, and the unpredictability of one (especially a skin pounder like Jorgensen, who brings a hyperactive drive and rapidly cycling attention span to the kit) serves to shock the guitarist and bassist out of any kind of complacent synchronization they might have established with their drum machine, making for big, buzzy and fun pop noise.
Canja Rave, a superb duo from Porto Alegre, Brazil—think White Stripes format, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion-meets-Sergio Mendes content—followed.
If you’re curious, this Pets lineup will play Cesar Chavez Plaza on Friday, August 1 (with the Generals, We Prick You and Diciembre Gris), with another gig later that night at Old Ironsides (with the New Humans and the Evening Episode).
As for Ultimate Fighting, I’m kinda hoping next year’s Sacha Baron Cohen Brüno film does for this sport what This Is Spinal Tap did for hair metal. And you?