Big Car Gallery, March 5
The Outside Orchestra's Friday night performance at the Big Car Gallery was a lesson in the fluid spirit that is the embodiment of music.
The meandering halls of the Murphy Arts Center were the perfect showcase for the free spirit of the group's music, giving it a carefree "garage jam" session feel. That atmosphere of energy and movement never dwindled due to Outside Orchestra's distinctive and multifaceted sound and experimentation.
Their first act was what I'd call "the new Jazz," and it created a whirlwind of rhythm that swept through the audience on a flight across musical genres. Their song "Buttercup" started out with the jazzy feel of the psychedelic Sesame Street
pinball segment that taught me how to count to ten. The airy tinkling of the Emilio Buonanni's vibraphone and Nana Omori's keyboard was then joined by the screaming rock riffs of the electric guitar played by Zane Merritt.
The second part of the performance, "In memoriam... ", was by definition avant-garde in that it pushed the definition of "music" to it's limit and beyond. The audience was given a sheet of paper that allowed them to follow along as the group played. Rather than traditional sheet music, this sheet had shapes and X's that denoted who could play and when. The ensuing chaos was a goulash of amplified I-Phone sound effects, one violin, guitar chords, and drum music. It was a battle royale as the classical elements of the violin, bass guitar, and drums vied to be heard over the finest digital sound bytes of that wonder of modern technology, the I-Phone.