Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jean-Jacques Perrey and Dana Countryman Live

It’s almost midnight and I just got back from (Le) Poisson Rouge on Bleeker Street in New York City where I saw Jean-Jacques Perrey and Dana Countryman. I really didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed the basically hilarious and interesting show.

Opening the show was Circuit Parade. Didn’t know who they were by the name of the band, but it turns out that I’ve seen Joe McGinty posting on mailing lists I read and I’ve also run across Leon Dewan’s Dewanatron page before. It was almost like seeing some old friends play in a club, even though I’ve never met them. Plus, how much more analog can you get than a live cello?

After their set came the main attraction, Jean-Jacques Perrey and Dana Countryman. Perrey was absolutely charming and totally hilarious! He introduced every song with a story, sometimes also pointing out some of his musical partners who were in the audience (Gershon Kingsley, for example). Perrey and Countryman played mostly analog equipment. Countryman had a Prophet ’08 as his main instrument, and Perrey had a Poly Evolver Keyboard, Minimoog Model D and an Ondioline. Countryman also had an Arp 2600, but it sounded like it was constantly playing a sample and hold pattern in the background while Perrey was talking, so Countryman leaned over and switched the 2600 off.

Most of the songs had CD backing tracks which Perrey and Countryman then accompanied. The tunes were short, happy, bleepy and bloopy and Perrey’s occasional conducting, singing along and/or silently mouthing synthesized or recorded sound effects was just too funny. It looked like he was having the time of his life and brought the whole audience along with him.

If you happen to be in the Montreal area on October 3rd, it’s worth catching their second and final show of the “tour.” It wasn’t deep or serious music, but it was certainly great fun.

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