Last Night Royal Vulcan Tortoise
posted by June 27 at 13:35 PMon
Tortoise at Neumos last night. The Chicago sextet was tight and taut as piano wire. (And thatís tight - 1.5 x 109 N/m2 ) Three drummers rotating, guitars, bass, synth, vibraphone , and digital marimba (thank you, E. You are perfect.) Geometric visuals of shapes were projected and completed the wrapping of the Tortoise shell.
Their stage is set with two drum kits facing each other front and center. Monitors, amps, rack fx, and instruments flank.
Moments thundered, post rock. Moments steered through stasis. And moments caught the eye with two drummers facing each other in the middle of the stage doling out locked beat complexities.
The room was full and most stayed through the two encores. They played old and new and I especially enjoyed their delving back to the 1998 TNT Ė ďI Set my Face to the HillsideĒ and ďGlass MuseumĒ off the í96 Millions Now Living Will Never Die.
I thought the show was solid, technically speaking. The room sound was good (bass heavy), and people were very much into it. The guys in Tortoise are all amazing musicians and theyíve been playing and carving their sound for years. Rarely is it ever going to disappoint to see musicians like this and a band like this play and interact.
Somehow though, I was disappointed.
John McEntire, drummer, arranger, producer is preeminent. (Recent Zwickel article.) Heís developed a sound and has the ability to actualize that sound. Heís as pro as pro can get, all the way around. Ok ok, heís kind of a hero of mine. And Iíve never seen Tortoise or McEntire play. Maybe my expectations were a little high, maybe I have the guy on too much of a pedestal.
Dear John, Where is the love, man? You didnít even acknowledge the crowd. You sat there like a royal Vulcan, presiding, emotionless and oblivious to the worshipers at your feet. I donít think you smiled once during the show, except when you were in holy conference with band members. What gives? I listen to TNT religiously and regularly. I read JZís article 19 times. You are my Elvis. But you acted kind of pompous during the show, maybe even with a slight hint of douche bag in there.
Would a wave to the crowd been too much? Maybe a hello or a goodbye or a Ďsee you next timeí? Itís like you couldnít have given a shit whether you were there or not. Iím crushed, John, crushed. Itís not like I wanted to hang out or go on a fishing trip with you or anything. I just wanted a little wave to the crowd. Iím sorry, maybe you werenít feeling well, I shouldnít rush to judge. Iím sorry. Iím still a fan. You played great. Iíll go buy a poster right now. Iíll be listening to you on TNT for the rest of the day.
I donít know what youíre doing later, maybe I could call you. Do you want to go on a deep sea fishing trip? Just the two of us?