Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Carlsonics Rock Like Pink Stars Can Fly Out Of Their Crotches

...I managed to capture the phenomenon on film here:


Oftentimes I have used this space here to blow up the Carlsonics, loudly braying their rock-n-roll virtues like a car horn that has gotten stuck. Sure, they're my friends from college, so I'm biased. I mean, they're not perfect or anything...but last night they came real close.

Last night's show at DC9 set the band up well. The venue is cozy and familiar, and the whole room had a real sense of community. People were digging the opening band but talking a lot, hugging and high-fiving and I overheard a lot of "so what'd you do for New Years'?" I felt really cozy there, and I can remember thinking "yes. I am among my people."

That cozy sense of community must have given them the go-ahead to get onstage and rip the joint apart, because they sure did just that with the first two songs. Their opening sing was tense, jittery, with this crotch-rumbling doo-doo-doo bassline gluing the whole thing down. The first two songs definitely felt like nervous rock for frantic times, edgy stuff in total opposition to the desk job--just the sound DC does best.

The C-sonics have been trying really really hard to get away from the conventions of post-every-damn-thing punk and garage rock, a commendable effort that does not always work so well. They've been heading in a beeline for the psychedelic jam session...potentially dangerous territory. You can't wander or faff around too much in a jam, or else you'll totally lose the people. The C-sonics have made this mistake onstage before, probably more than once. But they've learned from those mistakes and emerged on the other side as loud-rock improv wizards. They're really grasping when to jam, how to focus and steer the session, and trimming the fat from the whole process to escape the murky noodling bog that so many improv bands get stuck in.

Last night's jams were free but focused, something listenable and groovy that the whole crowd could get really melted the sense of "band-on-stage" into a thicker, more electric sense of community, strengthening an already friendly crowd into something really participatory and real, real, fun.

They passed out heaps of percussion instruments to the crowd, and like at least 40 people shook, rattled and rang along to a thick sort of scary groove. I myself got to go right up on the dang stage and play on Mike Scutari's drums while two other dudes helped themselves to some guitars. At one point I was alternately beating on the drums and hitting the saucepan and tambourine Carlson carried around the stage--he rotated the two in one hand, hitting one side with a rhythm-stick while I rocked the other. Looking Mike right in the eye and collaborating on some wandering tribal beats was the coolest-sounding fun I've had in weeks. The whole thing, the band, the crowd, the sound just whirled itself right up into a pink, swirly psychedelic frenzy that looked just like this:


The great thing about the Carlsonics is that you, too can be a Carlsonic...all you got to do is show up and get over yourself and just shake that tambourine. They're playing a residency at DC9 every Tuesday this month...get out there the next two weeks and join the band.


At 11:40 AM, Blogger vervalred said...

in spirit of our day jobs, "good stuff, Jeff, good stuff!" ;-)

At 5:29 PM, Blogger nm said...

love the photos, plus the one on DCist.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I caught The Carlsonics this summer at Carter Barron for the Crosstown Jam and really enjoyed their set. I'm planning to make it downtown for one of the Tuesday night shows. By the way, I was glad to see them get a Wammie nomination for Rock Band. It's nice to see more young bands and some new faces getting on that ballot.


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