field report no.091618

LOCATION: the Mothlight AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Actual Cloud Formations

I stumbled upon Shane Parish as the opening act for one of the first shows I attended in Asheville. I’ve since found out he’s something of a hometown hero (not mentioning he has a number of records on John Zorn’s Tzadik label). He plays around town often enough, it’s downright negligent of me to have not seen him since. (In my defense, I’ve twice had tickets to see his avant rock band, Ahleuchatistas, but life got in the way.) It finally came together, though, for this show: a record-release show (of sorts) for his new ambient guitar solo tape.

Parish actually opened the show up, solo, playing material from the new tape. Cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt played the middle set, solo. The night ended with Actual Cloud Formations, a sort of improvised folk trio featuring Parish and Hunnicutt alongside Ahleuchatistas, Ryan Oslance, on drums.

After the show I went straight to Cloud Formations bandcamp page to pick up their album. Listening back to it, I’d say they’ve improved by leaps and bounds. The album features Sally Anne Morgan on violin instead of Hunnicutt, and perhaps that’s a switch that has made a substantial impact. It could be Hunnicutt is a better fit, or perhaps the cello doesn’t compete with the guitar as much, tonally. The improvisations this night seemed much more focused—amorphous still, but with a sort of thrust of purpose and logical through-line.

NOTES: Actual Cloud Formations; Emmalee Hunnicutt; Shane Parish

field report no.030317

SUBJECT: Lage & Eldridge

For a show I very nearly passed up, this night ended up reaping huge benefits. I didn't necessarily know Julian Lage's work except by association—read: he plays with Nels Cline often enough—but I wanted to get out and see some music, and that seemed sufficient, so I sucked it up and made my way to the Grey Eagle.

It ended up that Chris Eldridge, half the duo I was there to see, fell ill. In light of that, they chose to do a truncated, all instrumental set (fine by me), but to make up for it, they called around to find a local act to open the show. Shane Parish was their auspicious choice.

To my ear, Parish entirely stole the show. Lage & Eldridge are phenomenal players, make no mistake, but the contrast was stark: it was feats of dexterity vs. feats of derring-do. As a pair, the duo could make finger-knotting flights glide by with ease. Lage and Eldridge were consistently upbeat and impressive but still repertory. Parish's set, by contrast was filled with brazen risks taken in the spur of the moment: wild dynamic shifts, strange tonal clusters and extended techniques not often heard at a 'folk' show.

I'm all the more pleased with the show since Shane Parish hails from my newly adopted home of Asheville, and is the first local act I've really connected with.

NOTES: Julian Lage; Chris Eldridge; Shane Parrish