“Where we go I don’t know but I’m not scared of that hole.”
— Lobo Marino
Well hot damn. WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume 3 kicks off tomorrow, and I thought I’d check in quickly before the whole shindig begins.
First, I wanted to make sure y’all saw the poster above, which lists the dates, times, lineups, locations and covers for all four days of the festival/fundraiser. Just look at that thing. Scroll back up if you have to. It’s beautiful, right? So many bands. So many reasons to come out and support a wonderful radio station that itself supports a wonderful community of musicians.
Second, I wanted to share the following promotional video, made by organizer Shannon Cleary of WRIR:
Lastly, I wanted to shine a spotlight on one particular corner of the event’s massive lineup that’s populated by three acts I’ve been getting into lately — Dave Watkins, Dumb Waiter and Lobo Marino. They’re clustered together at the end of the list of groups performing at Gallery 5 on Saturday, July 20, which is fitting because a single post on Watkins’ website was the reason I sought out the other two groups.
As Watkins tells it, the folks from Dumb Waiter asked him [Watkins] to help with recording an album, and they [Watkins and Dumb Waiter] decided to use the same space that he [Watkins] and Lobo Marino had used to record their [Lobo Marino’s] album Kite Festival, a space that just so happens to be in the same place where they [everyone mentioned in this obnoxiously long sentence] are slated to play this Saturday: Gallery 5. How’s that for coming full circle?
The sense of serendipity doesn’t end there. When I was scanning through the most recent releases from all three groups, a trend emerged that reflects quite nicely my hopes for the rest of 2013’s Commonwealth of Notions event. It has to do with the unexpected. I’m not as familiar with this year’s cohort of groups, and I’ve yet to see live any of the three I’m highlighting here, but it’s not hard to see the glass-half-full value of it all. There’s so much to discover. So much to experience for the first time. I’m looking forward to welcoming the unexpected with open arms and, as fate would have it (OK, so I picked the last one out after I decided on this theme), all three of the sample songs below have elements of the unexpected running through them:
- According to its Bandcamp liner notes, Watkins’ “Whiskey Butter Sauce” came out of a homemade reverb experiment, and he even got an accidental assist from a nearby water pump that kicked on in the closing seconds of the recording (you can hear it humming at the very end). Definitely didn’t see the fantastic fuzziness of the song’s final third coming either.
- Dumb Waiter’s “Neologizer” is unpredictable in a most magnetic way, with left turns and stylistic shifts that beg to you lean in to find out what’s going to happen next. That edge-of-your-seat feeling isn’t easy to evoke, and I’m guessing it makes for an especially intriguing live listen.
- The Lobo Marino track below is a shining example of what happens with you loosen the reigns of predictability, and not just because it’s called “The Unknown.” The group recorded their Kite Festival album in front of a live audience and invited onlookers to help out with vocals and percussion. Embracing that element of chaos gives credence to the song’s lyrics, especially the line I used as the epigraph for this post.
Check all three tunes out below and get ready for what promises to be an incredible and — I predict — unpredictable four days of great music.
Dave Watkins — “Whiskey Butter Sauce” [Bandcamp]
Dumb Waiter — “Neologizer” [Bandcamp]
Lobo Marino — “The Unknown” [Bandcamp]
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