Fire Over Heaven bursts at the seams this month and spills into an urgent second installment. Maybe it's that we're trying to get all this incredible sound to you before FOH goes to sleep for the summer (that's called estivating) or maybe it's that I just couldn't resist putting together a top shelf show for my old pal, Twin-Cities modified banjo maestro Paul Metzger. I got to tour with Paul back in the year 2000-and-something and watching this guy work night after night was both a joy and an education. Me and my bandmate started calling him "guruji" and we were only a little bit joking. Playing improvisations that can evoke everything from the blues to Xenakis to Hindustani music, Paul's sound is that rare combination of the idiosyncratic and the virtuosic. Combine that with the fact that his instrument is a freakish contraption he's added more than a dozen extra strings to and the word "banjo" start to seem like a very distant notion. He hasn't been out this way in 7 years or so, so this is a rare opportunity to catch him live. He's touring with another intriguing Minnesotan string wrangler, guitarist/singer/thereminist. John St. Pelvyn, who just so happens to have just made a record with local favorite Ka Baird. They'll be playing duo tonight and the meeting of these sounds and personalities promises to be fascinating mix. Opening up will be local upright bass powerhouse, Brandon Lopez. You may have seen him lend his terse low end sensibility to units like the Nate Wooley Quartet or Amirtha Kidambi's Elder Ones, or leading his own trio "Mess" with Chris Corsano and Sam Yulsman, but he's just as prone to the solo form, which is what he'll be doing here.
Fire Over Heaven (Extra!) curated by Che Chen at Outpost Artist Resources
doors 7:30pm / music 8:00pm
Ka Baird & John St. Pelvyn
$10 advanced tickets / $10-15 suggested donation
All proceeds go to performers
Bios / links / photos:
A master on a self-built 23 string banjo, Paul Metzger's Idiosyncratic & deeply original long form improvisations can bring to mind American primitive guitar, the sarod of Hindustani music, or the Chinese Erhu. But fundamentally his music grows from a deep commitment to exploring every possible expressive sound that can be extracted from his instrument. His 'home-made' aesthetic has drawn comparisons to DIY mavericks like Charlie Nothing or Eugene Chadbourne with his electric rake, but the depth of Metzger's explorations led David Keenan to assert in The Wire magazine that Metzger "reveal(s) the true meaning of virtuosity." A key voice in the world of avant-garde & experimental folk, he creates a music evocative of some magical forgotten age, but is simultaneously deeply rooted in the eternal present when fingers touch strings.
“…Metzger’s banjo and guitar contain multitudes. Suspended between past and future, honouring the tradition while hijacking it, listening for its voice while revelling in its inarticulacies; this is how the thing sings. And the song, in the obsessive extensions of Metzger’s instruments, truly has no ending.” - The Wire
Ka Baird & John St. Pelvyn
Ka Baird: multi-instrumentalist, singer, founding member of the influential psych-folk group Spires That in the Sunset Rise; hers is a unique voice that bridges avant-garde traditions, psychedelia, and perhaps sonic psycho-spiritual practices as yet unnamed. John Saint-Pelvyn, known for his windblown idiosyncratic drifting, combines finger picked guitar with subtle feedback tones, voice, and theremin–which he usually plays by thrashing the air with his guitar neck in a manner that has drawn comparisons to Beefheart's approach to clarinet.
While holed up in a painter's studio for three days one Massachusetts winter, they created what might be described as a soundscape celebrating the lotus eaters of a coming utopia. Populated by beneficial spirits and strange large eyed animals that peer from a broken woodland this collaborative sonic painting–released as the album Five Years Inside The Sun–was recorded live with no rehearsals; a stream of consciousness, a state of bright paradoxical waking that is more like an augmented dream. Come hear them build a sun you can live in.
Improviser/Composer; Brandon A. Lopez, deemed the "Ubiquitous Free Improv Bass Ace" by the Village Voice and said to play with a "Bruising Physicality" by the Chicago reader.
He was born and raised in the splendors of Northwestern New Jersey, in the shadow of the (New York) city. It was there that he cultivated a taste for the left of center musics and subsequently, dug graves.
He's had the pleasures of working with many of the world's luminary left of center musicians (He's currently a member of Nate Wooley's 4tet). Is a frequent collaborator (With Weasel Walter, Mette Rasmussen, Gerald Cleaver, Peter Evans, Ingrid Laubrock, Dave Rempis and many others). And has toured and played prestigious halls, DIY basements, festivals all across North America and the European Continent
He's currently leads a piano trio dubbed "Mess" with Sam Yulsman and Chris Corsano. He frequently plays solo. He is also the 2018 Artist in Residence at Issue Project Room and Van Lier Fellow at Roulette.