Thursday, March 06, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio - More More More From Chicago

More reviews are coming in from Chicago - may as well make this one a new post. It's written by Ramiro Rodriguez, am amazing artist who attended the show last night.

(Annunciation by Ramiro Rodriguez)

Adrian Belew’s Power Trio @ Martyrs, Chicago 3/6/08

My wife, L, and I set out for Chicago after an anticipation filled day at work and the settling in of the Little Rays with the sitter. On the way I tried to fill her in with the why this show would not be like the last Belew show we saw together when Adrian was touring with the “Mikes” - new band members, who are the Slicks, no rehearsal time, more jams, etc. I had brought along our camera in case it was allowed at Martyrs (it was) but decided to leave it in the car in order to better enjoy the music without added distractions. I also brought three little goodies along in hopes of giving the Trio a personal “Thank You”. (A BIG thanks to Robin for helping me sort out the appropriate selections – prints from my recent editions of small color relief prints.)

We made our way in the door to the venue and were greeted by Jill(?) the merchandise person for the gig and Andre, the road manager. I decided I already had all of what they had available at the merch table. Note to Ade – How about carting along some hard to find cds for us hardcore-must-have-everything-fans? I passed along the goodies I’d brought for the Trio to Andre and he assured me he’d get them to the band.

L and I settled in at the back bar and ordered a tasty veggie pizza and some drinks while we waited for the place to fill up. Michael found us and we all sat and ate together while discussing all things Belew/Crimson. I was surprised and thrilled to have Eric come up to us and thank me for the gift I had brought him. (Robin, I ended up giving him one of the ear prints, “Annunciation”). I told him it was my gift to him as a thanks for the wonderful music I listen to while working in my studio. Eric asked what else I listened to and I ran down a list of my faves. He thanked me again and headed off backstage. Nice young man. Later we saw Julie race by with her own little gift sticking out of her jacket pocket so I knew Andre was certainly a man of his word.

The Trio’s performance was spectacular. I have to agree with Michael that they have really grown into the material and are coming at things with fresh perspectives. L and I were set up in front of Eric with a pretty decent view of Adrian and Julie. There was a woman standing next to me who had mentioned to me that she had just come from purchasing her first drum kit. We admired Eric’s heavy duty compact ride cymbal and noticed that he was playing in his stocking feet. L and I were blown away by Eric’s powerful yet tasteful battery assault as he made giggle inducing faces (wish I had brought the camera in). Adrian was his usual amazing self – smiling, clowning, ripping it up and making it all look so effortless. What really got me again was Julie’s solid grounding of the band. Adrian and Eric get to make frenzied plays on the rhythms and tempos while Julie holds it down and keeps it all from careening off into uncontrolled territory. It’s an impressive feat.

Of course the inclusion of the three new numbers (“Neurotica”, “Modern Man Hurricane Blues” and the newly written “E”) to set list gives the show a more frenetic feel. Eric really cuts loose on MMHB. The looks of “what are you doing?” thrown in his direction from Julie were hilarious to watch (again, wish I had brought in the camera).

There were a few problems early on with a low end ring coming though but that was taken care of a couple of songs into the set. I also noticed that opening act, Saul, was supplying the back up vocals this time around. I really like the new song, “E” but it does sound very much like “Beat Box Guitar” to me. I’ll be anxious to see how the new material develops as well as how the set grows with the extended improv/jams.

We weren’t able to stay for the customary meet and greet. However, the energy of the gig carried our tired bodies on the long drive back home.

The set list as I remember it went something like this:
Writing on the Wall
Young Lions
Beat Box Guitar
Matchless Man
A Little Madness
Drive (including Within You, Without You)
Of Bow and Drum
Big Electric Cat
3 of a Perfect Pair
Modern Man Hurricane Blues