Tonight: Diamond Terrifier at Back Alley Theater
Don’t let the rain keep you in this evening because tonight’s show at the Back Alley Theater is worth slogging through a little drizzle to check out. Consisting of five different solo acts, the bill offers a veritable pu pu platter of assorted sounds and styles to sample from:
Joey Molinaro kicks things off with what’s described as “solo acoustic grindcore violin.” Judging from the bits we’ve heard online, this is a lot more accessible than it reads—Molinaro shreds on an amplified violin while his frantically tapping and stomping feet provide a solid rhythm. It’s high energy and there’s plenty of melodic hooks buried under the fast finger- and foot-work.
Valerie Kuehne does sort of long, meandering cello songs. We’re not sure how much is improvised and how much is mapped out ahead of time, but expect a lot of abrupt stops, starts, and unexpected turns. Also, being classically trained, Kuehne has a voice that’s vaguely operatic in tone, which certainly adds something.
There’s not a lot of info out there on Sam Lohman, though every time his name turns up online it’s followed by a string of folks he’s worked with including Nimrod, session saxophonist Steve Mackay, and the psych-rock collective Acid Mothers Temple. Judging by his preview show at Amma House, it looks like this set will focus on harsh noise and solo drumming.
Folks who grew up playing SNES will like this next one: Taking early video game soundtracks as his muse, Patrick Higgins creates fast, tangled compositions for the electric guitar. It’s kind of like The Advantage, except these are all originals and lean more toward baroque complexity rather than bassy grooves. Think Dustin Wong playing the soundtrack to Chrono Trigger.
Finally, the night closes out with a set of solo sax from Diamond Terrifier (Sam Hillmer, best known for his work with the NYC noise/jazz/experimental outfit Zs). Unfortunately, the sax often gets pigeonholed as an instrument appropriate only for free-jazz freakouts or slinkly soft-rock flourishes. However, Hillmer—along with other artists like Colin Stetson—has been proving that the much-maligned woodwind is capable of a great deal more. As Diamond Terrifier Hillmer dodges both these traditions, instead using the sax to produce long, sustained notes that loop and layer into deep, brassy drones. Manipulated with pedals and accompanied by a shifting mix of chimes, bells, and whirring electronics, the continuous buzz from the sax builds into trance-like dirges that are just incredibly satisfying to hear live. For a bill filled with interesting artists, this act alone is worth the price of admission.
Music at 8:00; $10.