Monday, July 19, 2010

On Fillmore Played Le Poisson Rouge: Pictures and Review

Last Thursday night, we stopped in to Le Poisson Rouge to check out Glenn Kotche and Darin Gray's project On Fillmore, in one of their rare live appearances. After talking with the band last week, we couldn't have been more excited to see what was in store for us. Going into the show, we didn't know what to expect, but when we left we had been rewarded a show that was so dynamic, it almost defied description. Fun, experimental, technical, diverse, immersive; all of these words could be used to describe the awesomeness that On Fillmore brings to the live environ.

The show began with a solo set from pianist Rachel Grimes. Grimes started out with her own fantastic arrangement of a Philip Glass string quartet, and followed it with a complete delivery of her own Book Of Leaves. The piece was something of a sonic roller coaster, and drifted between pensive, playful, and ambient. Heard in its entirety, it was unquestionably rewarding, and we definitely recommend you check it out.

Shortly thereafter, On Fillmore took the stage, and started things out with their "typical" placement: Kotche behind the percussion kit, and Gray behind his bass. The rapport between the two was immediately apparent, and any sense might have that On Fillmore's compositions were random or unplanned was immediately dispelled. Between the eye contact and musical interplay, it was clear that these two have carefully considered every aspect of their interactions on stage.

That being said, as the performance commenced, it also became more playful and freeform. Gray and Kotche are clearly good friends, and on stage they're love of the music and each other is overwhelmingly evident. Whether it was tossing instruments at each other, taking turns walking (and getting lost in) the audience, or simply using their homemade bird calls to "talk" on stage, the two demonstrated a playful curiosity that is rare in music, and even more rare in those individuals making music on the edge of experimentalism.

If the quality and playfulness were two hallmarks of the performance, then the third was unquestionably musicianship. Both men took turns jumping between instruments, and were all around the room. Over the course of the set, one or the other (or both) of the men laid hands upon instruments ranging from bass to drums to piano to guitar to homemade instruments of all sorts. In short, they ran the gamut of everything that was available to them, and it was delightful.

It can be tough to rope new listeners into music as innovative and different as On Fillmore's, and in our interview Kotche said that he thought the key to "getting it" might be careful listening. While we'd tend to agree with him, we'd also say this: part of music is a human experience, and being in a room with Kotche and Gray was a human experience that not only made their music immediately comprehensible, but endeared it to the hearts of the listeners. We left the room on Thursday with a love of the record that we never could have gotten any other way than by experiencing it with its creators.

Many more pictures in the HAD Archive

Of Fillmore play the Solid Sound Festival this August.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. An engaging review. Greetings from Spain.