Friday, June 17, 2011

Nels Cline and Marc Ribot Played Le Poisson Rouge - Pictures, Review

On Wednesday night we had the pleasure of stopping in at Le Poisson Rouge to catch the first-ever live performance by two of the greatest guitarists out there today. Nels Cline and Marc Ribot came out to a packed house at LPR to bring together their unique styles, and reward the room with an evening of uniquely riveting composition that left us hungry for more.

The first half of the set was entirely acoustic, with the two trading lead parts on externally mic'ed guitars. The sound vacillated from being almost folky, to bouts of intricate jazz interplay, to rock-like melody that borrowed a fair bit of character from classic Who tracks. While the technical mastery was unquestionably evident, the first half was almost certainly a warm up for what was to come next.

In the second half of the show, both picked up electric guitars, and things got moving quickly. Ribot got started with a Gibson ES-175, while Cline reached first for his lap steel. Both artists had a fair amount of pedal board work going on as well, and Cline had his signature batch of electronics at the ready.

As the show progressed, things got gradually more chaotic and noise-driven, in the very best sense. The interplay between both guitars was perfect, and waves of sound from Cline's Kaoss Pad combined with the guitar sonics in an ideally rewarding fashion. By the end of the set, Cline had broken out his signature Jazzmaster, and it was completely clear that both players were enjoying themselves immensely.

While Wednesday night's set was certainly a collaboration in every sense of the word, we have to say that it felt more like Cline's show that Ribot's. While it's obviously hard to say what goes on behind closed doors, to us it felt like Cline was more consistently leading the feel of the tunes, with Ribot playing a more complimentary role. Either way, the set was fantastic, and we have fingers crossed that this pair will play again soon.

Nels Cline appears tonight at The Blue Note.

More pictures at the HAD Archive