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Ribaldry of Ribot

Marc Ribot is a goddamn genius. Sure, there are many great guitarists out there. There are even more than a few great avant-garde guitarists (NELS CLINE, EUGENE CHADBOURNE, FRED FRITH), but few of these talented people can construct a set that weaves its way around tunes by both ALBERT AYLER and DJANGO REINHARDT. Ribot even managed to work in a version of the chestnut "Autumn Leaves" book-ended between two sets of JOHN ZORN chord changes. All of this musical wandering was accompanied by a stage demeanor that was so droll and lighthearted that it seemed more like a living room show than a concert. Charts were dropped, glasses were polished and stage announcements rarely got amplified.

Midway through the set Ribot played some classically enhanced melodic material by his mentor, the Haitian composer and guitarist FRANZ CASSEUS, and then segued into some fairly abstract material that involved a slide, a pencil and playing behind the bridge. Coming to the close of this piece, he did what any great showman would do—he whispered, "Ta da."

One particularly hilarious highlight came when Ribot announced that he was going to play a song dedicated to his therapist entitled "The Joys of Repetition." He then went on to play five minutes of the same chord with slightly different arpeggios. When he stopped to turn some pages on his music stand, everyone clapped. He then looked up and remarked that he wasn't quite done yet and played the same thing for another five minutes. Now, how does that really make you feel?

At the end of the evening, Marc proved that even his deadpan has some strong kung fu. After announcing that it was the time in the set to play a cowboy song, he went on to explain that this tune went way back to the time "when being a cowboy wasn't some great sign of masculinity, it was just a real bad job."

Despite the presence of an arch top, an old Supro and a classic Fender amp, Ribot choose to spend the night chunking out rhythms and figures on an old National Resonator guitar. Although it was probably pretty hard on the hands, its tone and sustain were the perfect compliment to Ribot's style, which if summarized, could probably be compared to that of THELONIOUS MONK. Like Monk, Ribot is clearly a product of the jazz idiom, but there is something completely off about the way that he spits out lines. They aren't smooth or even logical in the notes that they use, but texturally, and emotionally, they fit the bill perfectly. In the end, interesting angularity trumps senseless virtuosity any day.

Sleepy Time Gothic Museum

Having caught quite a barrelful of flak for not being a morning person, it's now time to piss off the children of the night. Last Friday I attempted to go to a goth show at the BLUE LAGOON. The Blue has always been goth friendly with its weekly presentation of the BOX with DJ NEKO, so it was no surprise to see all the pale peoples out to welcome UNWOMAN back into their leathery fold for the night. The bass was loud, the dances were ridiculous and there were some very exciting examples of the fine art of corsetry in action.

However, Unwoman wasn't going to hit the stage until 12:30 and it was scarcely half past 11. None in my party were willing to hang out for an hour listening to JOY DIVISION blare out of the speakers, so I was left alone. There's got to be a better reason than a cellobased version of NIN'S HURT to get me to hang out at a bar solo for over an hour while people parade around in fetish gear. I didn't lurk, I left.

Peter Koht

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From the August 17-24, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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