April 15, 2022

Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt played Baby's All Right

Over two nights, Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt played two brilliant, contrasting sets full of raw energy and total volume.

The duo of Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt are champions of inventive, noisey free-jazz and experimentation that makes them legends amongst their communities. Playing with such a wide range of collaborators of the years, both have built illustrious careers challenging the limitations of music and creating some of the most unique and transformative sounds of experimental tunes you're sure to hear from folks who straddle the line between pop and the avant-guard. 

On their first night, the duo welcomed Che Chen to open the show, giving the night a more extreme and fixating start to the performance. Taking tuning forks and other objects to the guitar and letting the noise ricochet across the room, Chen built up clouds of noise that droned on and on with immense care and direction. Everything felt perfectly accounted for and measured, with not one moment of unintentional sound. It was a performance in not only sonic extremes, but endurance as well, the notes ringing on and on with little forgiveness and putting the listener to work. Next up came Bill Orcutt with his live presentation of Mechanical Joey. Bashing away at the boards in front of him, Orcutt registered unique and at times blissfully debilitating sounds that transfixed the crowd in his web of rhythms. Using AI, he manipulated audio samples to construct complex inter-weavings of vocals to create euphoric bursts of chaotic melodies which would catch the crowd and pull them along for the ride. To close things out, Orcutt and Chen were joined by Corsano on drums and the trio unleashed utter brilliance mixed with pure bedlam for something unlike anything I've witnessed before. Feeding off one another, the trio's improvised approach to their instruments allowed them to congeal at the precise right moments, giving each moments to shine, but also making it impossible to keep attention focused as all of them kept propelling the momentum of the night forward.

For night two, Orcutt and Corsano stuck to duo mode and each played their own set before uniting for an encore and final performance of the night. Corsano's opening set was an intense and fulfilling session of an absolute attack on the drums. Hammering fills and unforgiving rolls were set forth to the skins and cymbals, his beats and rhythms  impossible to predict, but are exceedingly fun to follow. Grabbing new sticks throughout the songs and placing different symbols, bowls, and other various additions to his drums, Corsano consistently changed up the sounds and styles, really living in each moment and capturing the space and feelings around him. Orcutt took the stage next and picked up his four string guitar (the top second and third were missing) and dove straight into his wild and expansive electric guitar improv. From open strokes to tight fret work, his array of styles came together to offer up pure nirvana in the fashion of what no wave and free jazz could sound like. Coming back together as a duo to close out their two night run, the two men ripped into their final set with absolute fire and intensity unlike they had shown in their previous moments of stage. Corsano upped his fills and speed to really drive home some sections, anihilating his kit with tremendous force drum rolls and furious fills. For a slight moment, Orcutt tapered off for some more spacious strums and the drums eased into a more lenient pattern, but not before they came back together with impeccable timing to once and for all drive home their uncanny and marvelous ability to riff with one another. With a subtle drop the his guitar to the floor followed by a lift to the speaker for a final wall of feedback, the two rose and thanked the crowd, Corsano naming the people who helped put it on, and ended the night just as abruptly as they started. 

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