8 September 2011


Begin a 2 week tour with one of the most extreme groups I’ve ever worked with- Lean Left. (w/Terrie Hessels, Andy Moor, Paal Nilssen-Love) The music is more deconstructed and unpredictable than any other band I play with, and much louder (this is the 1st Improvised Music group that I’m a part of which uses a PA every night); almost anything that I can utilize in other ensembles- creative strategies/sounds/structural organization- won’t work with Lean Left; it’s like starting from zero and relearning how to play music. The initial concert of the tour takes place in Utrecht as part of the “Night Of The Unexpected Festival,” an interesting programming idea that mixes many genres of contemporary music and presents them in short sets during one evening. Down side- each group gets about 25 minutest to play. Lean Left hits stage and are defeated by to many screwed up variables: a blinding light show with smoke (who could possibly think that using a smoke machine with a horn player performing is a good idea?), a monitor person who shows up after we were supposed to start, etc., etc. Ironically, the sound out front (which we couldn’t hear at all) was apparently terrific, and a number of listeners and friends told us that we sounded great. After having such a brilliant gig in Lisbon during August, the show in Utrecht was a bitter disappointment. On the 9th the band performed at Paradiso in Amsterdam, also on a “Night Of The Unexpected,” but this time we were given our own stage, separate from the rest of the festival, and this really worked to our benefit. The quartet ripped into its performance, still with problems with the sound, but able to create a cohesive assault that built throughout an exciting performance. In addition, the reception to the group was tenfold in enthusiasm compared to Utrecht, and this can always help overcome obstacles with energy/environment/whatever we can’t “control.” Footage from the Paradiso gig: