D.C.'s Sansyou make something that is beautiful and uncomplicated. The 3 musicians in this band -- David Nicholas, Davis White, and Matt McGarraghy -- seem to be able to craft music that is serious and Art with a capital "A" and yet they remain entirely unpretentious while doing it. That's a rare skill in this world and they brought that skill to D.C.'s Rhizome last night.
Now, readers of this site probably know that I've been a fan of this band for a few years and have happily written about them in the past. However, I had never seen them live. I had an excuse before since my wife and I were living in Hong Kong until late August 2014. But every Sansyou show I missed in this area after that seems a mistake now since these guys are so good live, as I learned tonight.
Dual guitarists Nicholas and McGarraghy owe debts to earlier artists in the indie genre but they understand how to take something that sounds a bit like early Ride in spots, or Cocteau Twins in another, for example, and turn it into a unique piece of tune-age. Bits of the performance tonight recalled Durutti Column, or even early New Order sides sans vocals, and I can think of no higher compliment than that. Lorelei drummer Davis White brought a sort of heavy jazz-style to some cuts and that worked well in the setting as Nicholas and McGarraghy traded runs on guitar. Employing a bunch of effects pedals, Nicholas worked some obvious magic while McGarraghy added the melodic bits. On familiar tunes like "Black Nerve Administrator", from the band's superb when we become ghosts release, reviewed by me here, the trio really hit their stride and produced sounds unlike a lot of what put this city on the musical map.
During the gig tonight, Sansyou was showcasing a few cuts -- 4, I think? -- from the band's upcoming EP. The next release is being mixed by drummer Davis White even as we speak and I think it's going to be something special and something worth waiting for. For a brief taste, enjoy the clip of a bit of "Field Of View" below.
Boston's DYR Faser offered up a unique set of noise-rock that blended blues riffs with samples and fiery bits of Sonic Youth-esque guitar hooks into something wholly original. The band, a two-piece consisting of Eric Boomhower and the legendary Thalia Zedek (Live Skull, Come), managed to unfurl lines of guitar-weirdness that remained focused despite being entirely avant-garde and bracing. Traces of bands as disparate as Throbbing Gristle and Zedek's own Come showed themselves tonight in the band's music and I immediately rushed home and looked to see what was available from this group on Bandcamp.
Rhizome is a cool one, as you can see from these pics.