Concert Review

Monk and Coyote Oldman
Saturday, October 23rd, 1999 at St. Mary's Church, Penn Campus

I've never heard an entire audience accused of flossing its teeth before. What was that all about? Maybe Monk's leader Ric Hordinski was fighting the glare of Jeff Towne's lights because, if he had been able to see the audience, there were some heads bopping to their interesting performance in Philly Saturday night. Hordinski may have had himself figured to be standing in the same light as Michael J. Fox during his mean "Back to the Future" guitar solo which left a 50's gang jaws gaping. If so, Hordinski should have given us more credit. We, the Gatherers, are opened minded people when it comes to musical tastes. A taste for electronic music sorta spells that out, doesn't it? Add Jeff Towne's first words of the Monk introduction, after Coyote Oldman properly somatized us; "and now for something completely different", he warned (and a fine John Cleese imitiation it was) and we really were prepared for anything. Okay, I must admit that there were moments when I was inwardly beckoning for the space music police (Cliff? CLIFF?), but for the most part Monk created unique progessive and percussive sounds that were fun to listen to.

Coyote Oldman, as expected, provided 45 minutes worth of flute improvations that melded perfectly with the acoustics of St. Mary's. During much of the set Michael Graham Allen created the melodies on Native flute while Barry Stramp added sound manipulation effects, while also playing an assortmen of flute instruments. Tonight's full moon made the night right for this traditional, yet otherworldy, duo.

On the horizon: Steve Roach!

-- soma611, October 24th, 1999 (as posted to the spacelist)

Monk and Coyote Oldman
Saturday, October 23rd, 1999 at St. Mary's Church, Penn Campus

I've been a fan of Coyote Oldman since Tear of the Moon was featured on Hearts of Space, and have enjoyed them ever since. So I was really looking forward to seeing them perform live, at the Star's End Gathering last weekend.

I wasn't disappointed. In fact, it was quite interesting to actually see them interacting and collaborating. They don't do live performances often, and that only made this even more special.

The initial section set the pace nicely; I don't recall a lot of processing. But as they progressed, it seemed to me that the processing increased, and added to the experience. The huge sounds they created were quite impressive, and was very professional-sounding. The constant array of changing instruments (sometimes within a single song) provided an interesting change in tones, and it was really neat to see Barry switch from a bass metal flute to a pan pipe, etc.

Michael brought out a very large wooden flute at one point. It had an extended mouthpiece, looking almost like a bassoon. The texture it produced was quite interesting, almost muted. He also had another flute that had a different sort of extended mouthpiece. And this was in addition to the other (smaller) wooden flutes.

I really enjoyed this set, and near the end of one piece began to feel very relaxed, and closed my eyes. I've always enjoyed the transporting quality that their music attains at times, and I certainly felt it here! Images of canyons, plains, and clouds went through my mind. They ended way too soon for me!

Afterwards, I had an opportunity to speak with each musician seperately. Michael was discussing how he makes flutes with some other folks, and was very gracious in signing my CD of House Made of Dawn.

I found out that Barry & I were born in the same town in Oklahoma! Amazing.

I told them both how much of a fan I was of their music, and how great it is that they are continuing to stay at it and evolve. Despite the processing, the warmth & humanity comes through, and that's quite an achievement. I begged them to come back again!

Anyway, I unfortunately had to leave during the next act, Monk, so I can't really comment other than on the first few selections. They certainly were different, and the vibe they gave off wasn't what I normally expect at a Gathering, but I can appreciate that a little risk is necessary to keep things interesting. I can't recall the last time a performer spoke between every number, sang a (Christian?) vocal tune, etc. Definitely something different. Did anybody else feel that the guitarist's equipment was excessively noisy, to the point of being distracting?

It didn't matter; I still achieved the transporting/transcendental feeling that only a good Gathering can give.......

The light show was very appropriately used for the material, the sound system as usual was excellent, and the audience was generally very intent on the proceedings. I'll have to bring some sort of cushion to sit on next time, though!

It will be great to see Steve Roach again, at the next Gathering. Thanks again, Chuck et al for making Philadelphia the space-music epicenter!

-- Joe, October 25th, 1999 (as posted to the spacelist)

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Visit the Coyote Oldman webpage at:

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