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“Wasn’t he just here?” you might be thinking. Well, yes, but the last time famed free-jazzer Peter Brötzmann played the Velvet Lounge, just a few weeks ago, he wasn’t backed by a rhythm section straight out of the extreme metal world.
Full Blast sees Brötzmann in a trio with electric bassist Marino Pliakas and whirling dervish/drummer Michael Wertmüller. Pliakas and Wertmüller both indeed have metal backgrounds, and if you can imagine a grindcore band going full tilt with Brötzmann wailing mercilessly on top, you’ve got the right idea. Since I can’t make tonight’s show, I caught this trio last night at the Windup Space in Baltimore, and, just like two years ago at The Red Room, it was a show of epic proportions. Full Blast builds tension relentlessly, and while the music ebbs and flows, the overall feeling is of being swamped underneath an exhilirating wall of sound.
If Brötzmann and Wertmüller are obvious focal points, the crashing waves in this sea of noise – Brötzmann because he’s Brötzmann and Wertmüller because he is absolutely one of the most amazingly dextrous drummers I’ve had the pleasure of watching – Pliakas is the undertow: dangerous, unpredictable, rising with unexpected ferocity at various points in the music. Seeing the trio together in action is a revelatory experience, and this is pretty much mandatory if you’re a fan of free jazz, noise-rock or extreme music. And if you found Brötzmann solo a bit too much to handle, Full Blast is more accessible, even if simultaneously more extreme.
Full Blast plays at the Velvet Lounge tonight; PRV Trio and The Undisco Kidds are opening. Doors at 7:30, show at 9, $12, don’t miss it.
Check out some more photos from last night’s show after the jump. Full gallery here.
At the Windup Space, a brand-new free improv trio calling themselves Matta Gawa opened. This trio included guitarist Ed Ricart, pictured below, who will also be playing tonight as one-third of PRV Trio.