Greetings. Fall is creeping up on us like a phantom. The chill is in the air and we’ve got that midwestern nesting instinct faintly glowing in our ether, like a phantom. I’ve been getting in my last faint whispers of summer as it fades into time (like a phantom). I would be remiss if I did not mention the recent and tremendous lunar eclipse which provided a much needed moment of wonder and global connection for those who could witness it. We desperately need these connections in light of such intense, ignorant and violent displays of our humanity which have been thrust upon us again by so many recent events. The true phantom of humanity, our past, lingers in our behaviors, our patterns, our teachings. Every time we look around we can see darkness creeping up on us. Phantoms bearing down as we desperately try to outrun the tide of ignorance and greed that seems so prevalent in today’s world. Every day we have a choice, as humans connected to one another, to choose the light or the darkness. To chose the hand of friendship over the fist of rejection we have to actually STOP and think for a moment. The well worn paths (inaction, false flags, the isms) lie readily before us begging us to tread them once again but we can choose the left turn, the unrehearsed moment. We can break away from our easy, well worn choices if we stop and think. I don’t profess to know the best answer here, only that I know we have to push beyond our current state of humanity and work towards countering the weight of our past choices that have left so many of us culturally scared, deeply scarred and extremely unequal.
I can speak only of my own experience and music has been a great equalizer for me in this situation. I’ve connected with many people outside of my normal sphere because I’ve invested in music making. Above all else music offers a model of democracy and cooperation in action. Next time you are out listening or performing pay attention to how the band members work off each other. People may have their eyes closed but their ears and hearts are open to the music. It may seem surprising or shocking to some but even the most well rehearsed, lock-step tight performance contains subtle and meaningful interactions that occur differently in every instant. Choices are made. Egos are submerged in service of the song. The inflections of individual performers combine with the listener’s expectations to form a new version of reality in that moment. We all come together without pretense and exist in that bliss for a few minutes. The music distorts time and unites us in spirit. Just like the eclipse we are suddenly connected to each other in a universal way. As improvisors we pay attention to our surroundings and let the music elevate us. As listeners we can tune in to the music and disable our judgements. ‘Take a walk outside myself in some exotic land. Greet a passing stranger. Feel the strength in his hand. Feel the world expand. I feel my spirit resist, but I open up my fist.’ Perhaps this is a way for us to learn how to coexist. If we can pack up our phantoms and shoulder that invisible load we can open up to each other and find some common ground and perspective. Sunset on the road behind, sunrise on the road ahead. *
I said I was trimming the fat but from the looks of it I’m as busy as ever. Maybe it’s the quality of the music and my insatiable appetite for creativity….
Tuesday Oct 6th 8:30pm $10 All Ages
I’ve played in Bill’s big band for most of three years now. We’re recording in early 2016. Come hear this fantastic ensemble navigate Bill’s original music.
Friday Oct 9th 9pm $10 21+
Sophia is one of my favorite vocalists to work with and this trio will be outta sight. Sure to be a fun night!
Saturday Oct 10th 8:30pm $10 All Ages
Low Blows @ Black Dog (CB, JT, Dave Hagedorn)
Low Blows. Delicately raw and powerful energy based music making. Facile and lithe shapes of pulse. A reunion of sorts as this trio has not played in quite some time. A phantom occurrence. Jt Bates, Dave Hagedorn, Chris Bates. Low Blows Sounds. Not to be missed for those in the know.
Wednesday Oct 14th 7:30pm $25 All Ages
Collaboration is the key. Bill and Red Planet played a gig in ’08 or ’09 and it was magnificent. Since that time we’ve discussed a reconnection and it is taking place Oct 10-14 at Creation Audio. On the 14th we’ll play a concert for you of all the new music we’ll be recording in the very intimate and acoustically pure recording studio Creation Audio. There is very limited seating (40-50 total seats) so we need to ask you to prepay. All attendees will receive a signed copy of the studio album when it comes out in spring or summer of 2016 (TBD). This is going to be a very special evening and we are very excited to play for you. Follow the link above or below for tickets and info.
Friday Oct 16th 9pm $10 All Ages
This is a very exciting and unique threesome. Hope you can make it.
Saturday Oct 17th 6:00-9:00 $10 All Ages
Good Vibes Trio @ Sweetland Orchard 26205 Fairlawn Ave. Webster, MN 55088
A special evening of Hard Ciders, Gourmet foods and Good Vibes! The GV trio (Bates, Hey Hagedorn) will play a very special concert at the orchard for their fall event. All the details here: Sweetland Orchard and food details here: Chromatic Catering.
Monday Oct 19th 9:30pm $10 21+
Fall of the House of Usher (FOTHOU) – ‘Icehouse & Elsewhere’ CD release event! New music is everywhere and we’re happy to be releasing this live (and otherwise) set of music for you tonight. Recorded over several gigs at Icehouse and a few other places this is an expansive live set from the band. Chris Cunningham, Greg Schutte, Nathan Hanson, Cole Pulice, Jon Davis, Elliot Wachs, Adrian Larkin, Ivan Cunningham, Chris Bates, Adam Svec and special guests will bring you the slip-sync grooves to you for two big sets!
There are some other gigs on my plate the rest of the month but they are all private affairs. If you are interested in supporting the music at The Nicollet and Black Dog but are unable to attend these concerts you can help sponsor these two series here: Steve Kenny / Illicit Productions. I am also involved in a very special songwriting project with my friend David Melek. His brother Jason was an incredibly gifted and talented songwriter who struggled with mental illness and sadly took his own life one year ago. You can find out more and help us get this project finished here: Jason Melek Memorial. I hope you all have an excellent fall. Be well and enjoy yourselves. Make new connections. Let’s get spaceship earth back on course.
*Ed. note: special inspiration and acknowledgement to Neil Peart and Rush for the songs Hand Over Fist and Ghost Rider. I’ve turned the phrase to make my point but his imagery and lyrics remain a deep well. Thanks, gentlemen. ps – my geek card just fell out did you guys find it?!?!?
Hand Over Fist –
Ghost Rider Live –