Review and photos by John Keegan
Not by punk alone.
Bet on the Metz show at the Paradise not being sold out. Lost. "Remember that horn player who runs the Gulu open mic, his band is playing up there tonight." The scenic route to Salem ran through Brighton. Anyway…
What do you get when you daisy chain Can, Live Evil Miles, 69 Mind Left Body, Pharaoh Sanders, Marquee Moon, basidiomycetes and Sun Ra and throw it into a bong? Found Objects among other things. Jam is a word that seldom crosses our public lips given BGN's doctor approved diet of punk, garage, terse solos and all things rock hard. A great Rx, but the palette needs an occasional cleanse.
Found Objects are an improve-based septet. They have great control over the skill set that differentiates good jam from spam: dynamics, melody, listening to each other, responding, building the grove, working the model, a sense of humor, danceability and chops. There is of course some wankery - it comes with the territory - but in general, the whole equals more than the sum of the parts.
The band builds their trips on the latticework set in place by Steve Burke on multi- faceted, six string bass. One minute he peddles a monster low, the next he cooks up a melody line to save the day, the next he is twisting knobs on his pedals to create a bit of electronica mayhem and finally he is locked in with Jeff Pearlstein on drums in a hyper drive race to outer space. Pearlstein is all over the kit. He's a busy player. He bends and stretches the groove, sometimes he pushes other times he pulls. No solo per se, Pearlstein slips into the forefront, splatters the beat around the room and kicks and crashes to the side. The two of them snap the transitions into place.
Glen French keeps the psych in the guitar mix. He maintains a low-key, lysergic howl throughout. He keeps his input conversational. He steps up to make a point or back to listen and nod to keep the musical conversation on track. Kevin Leahy on violin and Estelle Rand on trombone poke and prod around the edges of the dialog. Leahy's contributions are caught up in the general swirl and a tad low in an otherwise decent mix. An opening second set trio improv allows him to cut through sweet and clear. Turn him up. You know you want to. Rand keeps her commentary pithy. She chucks out short phrases and or builds a riff as the band takes the rocket to the planets. The value of a good rockin' bone cannot be underestimated.
Finally there is Dr. Nemo Spaceman, the self-proclaimed Prometheus of vampires, musician, magician, meta-physician, herald of the mythic Munkybunny, psychonaut, and super clown-psychedelic garnish on tenor sax and vocals. Clown prince yes, but he's no fool. He gives the band room to cook the psychojazzjamgumbo. He marches around the room, serenades the bemused patrons and then drops back into the tune. The drops start a bit silly at first. He takes his time laying into the key before he improvises melody and lyrics - or spews some intergalactic common tongue on vocal or horn that sends the tune spiraling up to the next peak. .