Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bending, Breaking Through.

Chris Forsyth, Dreams

Chris Forsyth drove right into it last night at Issue Project Room. By "it", I mean everything. The night, the cold, our bodies. I saw him do the same thing this summer at Shea Stadium in Bushwick, only in that case he was cutting through the sweltering heat and too much beer. Without frippery, he drops his audience right down into a deep pit of harmonics, twisted melody, and rhythm. Like Baby Jessica, shit gets dark and weird but the ride back up is a blast. I haven't been this surprised by a guitarist since I saw Roy Buchanan on Austin City Limits when I was a kid. Don't get me wrong, revolutionaries like John Fahey and Loren Mazzacane Connors are LOVED here at Heart As Arena, but that doesn't mean they ever surprised me. Like Buchanan, there's something decidedly off and unpredictable in Forsyth's songs and performances. Will the song end or are we only in the middle? Will a melody dominate or will it be a wall of dissonance; or, will both share the stage? Will he roll or shred? Doesn't matter, as long as you're there. And with Forsyth's music, you will be.

Meg Baird played after Forsyth. I have to admit, I was skeptical, but Baird took care of that right quick. Her rolling and bending guitar lines pulled me in, and her voice kept me there. Forsyth joined her near the end for some scary beautiful and sometimes just downright scary lead runs. Things got especially transcendent when the duo covered the Crazy Horse song I Don't Want To Talk About It. (BONUS: Rod Stewart version.) By the end of the song, the audience knew they had seen something special. And they were right.

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