Friday, April 25, 2008
Stars Of The Lid with Christopher Willitts - 04.24.08 930 Listening Room, Louisville KY
Housed in what was once an old schoolhouse, the '930 Listening Room' is, in actuality, a part of Sojourn Community Church, and this is actually a really nice, informal place for shows. There's an adjunct art gallery (secular) attached, and the seated venue is comfortable and roomy. The complimentary coffee/tea is also a nice touch. There was no overt evidence of reference to any religious elements (aside from the initial opening act being a local church deacon named Jamie Barnes, who performed some really pleasant folksy indie sounds). Anyways, after our little hot beverage 'pick-me-up', we walked around the little gallery space and then found front-row seats. Chris Willitts is a San Francisco-based guitarist/programmer, and his funny faces and comical demeanor helped his set substantially. I thought his music was far too disjointed and freeform (and I appreciate a lot of abstract music, thank you very much). He ran his guitar through all kinds of digital computer effects, and the results were really pretty messy. His final track was his crowning moment, approaching a kind of ambience, but I wasn't really very interested otherwise.
SOTL were next, and this was quite a spectacular showing, and leagues better than when I saw them last in Bloomington in 2003 or so. Toting along a full (live!) string trio, Adam Wiltzie and Brian McBride's hypnotic, organic ambient sound was brought into proto-classical territory, with plenty of dynamic and melody. Their set ran about an hour, and their extended pieces were lovely and intense, with abstracted backing projection films and a lightshow that cast the stage in all kinds of hazy, colorwashed glows. Stunning and deep, Stars Of The Lid are among the leading purveyors of true ambient sound in all the world. This was certainly a world-class show, and in little lazy Louisville, no less. Wow! And if you happen to be near one of their shows anytime soon, check out the limited tour-only CD available (it looks like it's called 'Carte-De-Visite'), as well, featuring 9 rare or unreleased SOTL tracks. It is wonderful, as is anything in the group's astounding back catalogue. photo credit: Nick