Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Friday, March 11, 2005


Finally made it out to see my friend Peter’s band Plaster tonight. Heavy, loud rock; played with precision, energy, and head-banging joy -- like a lot of Count Basie tunes, punk & metal are built on riffs, and while the Count succeeds in making you pat your foot, good metal makes you rock your head back and forth. This band’s tempos range from medium slow to fast ‘80s-style trochaic punk. Sometimes within the same song the tempos would vary between medium slow and medium fast, dragging then rushing, executed with expert togetherness, to wonderful effect -- pleasurable anticipation and release. I couldn’t make out more than a few stray words, and the melodies were minimal though effective. And Pete -- well, he’s a friendly frontman, no different than as I know him from playing a summer Sunday pick-up softball game with him for years, except his singing voice is pitched higher than his speaking voice.

Great to be there -- a good crowd, and people seemed to be having fun. Youngsters with mohawks, lots of black leather. At one point I was hopeful that some slam dancing would ensue, but it didn’t gel. (“Slam dancing” -- that dates me. At least since the early ‘90s people call it “moshing.” When did the terminology change?)

Classical fans know that not even the best sound system does justice to the sound of a beautiful instrument well played, and jazz fans know that a lot of its best music has never been recorded. Gospel can’t begin to be adequately captured on record. And loud rock in a smallish club -- well, I know it’s bad for my hearing, but it sure feels good. Listening to a heavy rock record on a boombox is like enjoying an 8.5 X 11 size poster of the Mona Lisa. It’s a smaller, less vivid experience.
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