Snacking on Macon Noise Vol. 1 Fundraiser @ Grants Lounge
[UPDATE: Now with Pictures!]
This post is a long time coming and is pretty long, but you will understand why if you were part of the event.
Friday night, things got off to a good start with the Macon Noise Vol. 1 Fundraiser. Paying a grand total of $3, those of us who ventured to Grant’s Lounge on Poplar Street in downtown Macon were treated to six bands (and a comedian). That’s the best deal I’ve ever had when it comes to music. Scotty Lingelbach started it all off, followed by Some Witches Are Horses, which gave me a new love for the autoharp. Xavii was up next. I heard them play at the Local 478 Final Friday event a week before and while I liked what I heard, I wasn’t overly impressed. They showed me, at Grant’s, why the name Xavii gets people out to listen.
Xavii’s music was like a weird mixture of rock and jam band. I don’t know music well enough to pick out the intricacies of their sound. All I know is that I liked it. There are parts of their set, some songs, that seem kind of long, but overall, I found them very impressive.
Following Xavii was DJ Old Flame, who showed us his DJ acrobatics with music. Once again, I don’t know the genre well enough to say if he is actually good. I know for me, I find it hard to dance to what he’s doing. He only gives me snapshots of songs. Just as I start to feel a song and know how I want my body to move to it, he switches it up. Also, he does a lot of weird song combos, things that just don’t seem to go together. For me, it’s just too hard to dance to, so he’s not really my cup of tea. But I watched the crowd and some of the audience were really getting into what he was playing. Music, then, is in the ear of the beholder.
When it was time for Floco to come on stage, Old Flame seamlessly segued from playing for himself to playing for Floco. Floco Torres came to the stage after many people thought he was going to be late to his own portion of the benefit. After spending the day in the recording studio, working on Floco’s Modern Life, he gave us three songs, an EP like show to whet our appetite for the (possibly) forthcoming album. You could tell he was tired, but he didn’t let it stop him from putting it out on the stage.
Speaking of the stage, Grant’s Lounge is a phenomenal venue. In the back room off of the main listening room, there is a wall o’ history that highlights the bands and famous people who’ve come and played in the ramshackle building. Everything looks like it’s falling down around you, except the stage. The toilet in the ladies room didn’t flush, the barstools were covered in duct tape, and the chairs offered very little support, threatening to dump your ass on the floor is you sat down a little too hard. All of those things were delightful. I had never been to Grant’s Lounge before, but I feel the better, musically, for it. Every Macon musician should get the chance to perform on that very fantastic stage.
After Floco, Cult of Riggonia got on the stage. They’re not the traditional band. For the most part, it is noise, sometimes melodic, sometimes chaotic, but in this instance, definitely entertaining. Instead of dancing, which I like to do, I decided to contribute to the music by clapping my own beat. I make my own fun. I don’t think I was distracting, but with all of the stimulus (celery, painted on villainous moustaches, movies in the background, painting, and arms flinging this way and that in the audience), I doubt I was a distraction.
Art…. ah yes, art. There was a lot of things going on that night. Not only did we get a comedian, but we also had two artist on stage painting. William Dantzler started early while Kenneth Shearer started later. Most times working alone, but sometimes in concert, they created art that was vibrant, scary, erratic, shocking, and cool. It was awesome seeing the canvas go from chaos to complete, to see artists at work when normally it is a process done in the dark, so to speak.
After Cult of Riggonia, it was Murphy Hill’s turn. I met Murphy at a Floco Torres show with a whole cast of people, most of whom, it turns out, belong to Citizen Insane. Murphy’s always been a funny guy, but tonight, he took the funny one step further. It was his first time bringing comedy to any stage. As we chanted his name, he came out on stage to ridicule whiney non-smokers, pick at people who hide things from pastors that most likely smoke pot, and talk about what it’s like to work at a gas station. It was good, really good for a first time comedian. I can’t wait until he refines it and performs for us again.
The night ended with the Insane. Citizen Insane to be exact. To this day, I still hear Lacey Hortman singing Spooky, the, well, spooky guitar riff, the calm then frantic drums, and the steady heartbeat of the bass. They are good. The difference in them from when I first saw them a little more than a year ago and now is shocking. The music is tighter, the songs are unique, I’m glad Lacey is singing more and the songs Shawn Williamson sings are so bombastic, but he controls it much better than he did in the past. Even with all of his on-stage movement, never doubt that Shawn doesn’t know exactly where ever song is going. My night ended early – well, earlier than those left when Citizen Insane finished their set – but it was a grand night.
So who do I congratulate for this night? This guy named Clark Bush who’s tall as hell and looks like Jesus if He were also a mountain man. He has stuck his nose into something that, when you hear everything that’s going on, could be a bit overwhelming. It’s not just about that Friday night event, but about music as we know it.
Clark Bush has decided that he and all of his musician friends need to be able to support themselves solely on their music. There are more than enough people in Macon that could help the scene grow and he’s confident that the music is good enough to warrant that support. But instead of waiting around for someone else to do it, he’s spearheading the Macon Music Scene campaign.
Putting a lot of time into it, he’s rallied the musicians in Macon into the Macon Musician’s Guild so that the bands themselves can be proactive in promoting themselves. He’s started the Macon Noise Compilation CD, which will showcase many (but keep in mind, not all) of the local musical acts. He’s not by himself though. Shawn Williamson, guitarist for the band Citizen Insane, has put together a gorgeous fanzine so that people who have not been to the Golden Bough on a Tuesday night (or any other night of music there) and who wouldn’t know what a Floco Torres was if he were standing in front of them, will have a clearer picture of what Macon Music has to offer.
The start is downtown, but it will branch out, I hope. Macon is notorious for forming cliques, so let’s hope this shortcoming doesn’t show itself in the local music scene as well.