musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: July 2017

Reeves Gabrels and his Imaginary Friends Summon Mythical Beings at Cafe Nine

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Technically, I’m retired from this sort of thing (“covering” shows and uploading a pile of videos to YouTube), but I couldn’t resist the temptation to do it one last time for some truly mind-bending guitar wizardry from an old friend. Sorry, Reeves — what I meant to say was a friend whom I’ve known for a long time.

Reeves Gabrels has an impressive pedigree. Originally based in Boston, in the 1980s and 1990s, he was in several stellar and highly-regarded bands, including Life on Earth, The Dark, Rubber Rodeo, Atom Said (thanks, lazyelvis, all my stuff is analog), Bentmen and Modern Farmer. Although people might be a little more familiar with his later collaborations, David Bowie (starting with the brilliant Tin Machine) and The Cure (of which he is currently the lead guitarist). But on this night, Reeves was bringing his imaginary friends to a tiny but ferocious little dive bar in New Haven, Connecticut called Cafe Nine.

Cafe Nine looks like a cozy neighborhood corner bar, and it indeed is that, but from what I understand, it’s also a well-known venue for some rather formidible bands. The evening began with local boys The Outer Side (Jeff Maleri, Paul de la Reza and Ryan Boudreau). They were an enlightened choice of support act for Reeves and friends, as their guitarist is quite impressive as well, flying all over his instrument. Their set was in two halves, the first one being a marvelous prog rock, King Crimson-esque voyage to the beyond, and the latter half a harder punk set courtesy of their other guitarist/bassist, who not coincidentally was wearing a Mission of Burma T-shirt.

Reeves and his imaginary band mates (not so imaginary actually — Kevin Hornback on bass guitar and Marc Pisapia on drums and backing vocals) came out onto the small stage and quickly proceeded to shred the place apart in front of a deeply appreciative audience. With awesome creative prowess, mind-numbing chops and an arsenal of magic little boxes, it was a kaleidoscopic journey through exotic aural soundscapes and tightly wound rock tracks on steroids. Hornback and Brown kept an incredibly tight ship while Gabrels galloped and meandered all over the place. They played a good selection of Reeves’ solo and Imaginary Friends songs, including tracks from their self-titled album. They even played an old Tin Machine favorite, “Bus Stop,” and an unreleased Modern Farmer song, in honor of fellow farmer Jamie Rubin, who was in the audience.

It was a great honor to see these world-class musicians at the height of their powers in such an intimate, casual setting.

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Other Imaginary Friends Video

Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4 | Clip 5

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Introducing… Luke De-Sciscio

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It’s the delicacy of his voice and the remarkable fluidity and range that draws you in. Luke De-Sciscio is a U.K. singer-songwriter who creates a warm, beckoning place where he tells stories of life and relationships with gentle yet accomplished acoustic guitar pickings and a suprisingly supple voice. On his newest collection of songs, Moonraker, De-Sciscio presents the artist, and the creation, laid bare. As he explains, it is the inspiration, the precise moment when the ideas form into a coherent structure — chords, melodies, lyrics. It begins with a wavelength, a feeling in the gut. And from there, it’s merely a matter of trust. But trust is not a simple thing.

To trust one’s vision is to do what De-Sciscio did, which is record his idea, what some would consider a demo, innto his iPhone. And that is precisely how it was released — no reworkings, no re-recordings, no reconsidering and above all, no processing. Just the initial creation, direct to his audience. Is art really that easy? The hard part, of course, is to trust oneself. That alone might take a lifetime.

As De-Sciscio explain, “Demanding greater of yourself, supposes that YOU, as you stand, are not good enough. Releasing your heart into the wild supposes almost the entirely opposite thing.”

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Previous releases include his Winter, Spring 3-song EP (Oct. 2015), Gossamer Rose (Nov 2016) and Meadow Queen Journey Moon Tied Blue (June 2017).

Listen to Moonraker on Spotify.

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