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  TRISTEZA w/ Rizzudo and The Remuxers  
  The Earl  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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Another night of complicated rhythmically off guitar music to be enjoyed alone. I guess this is what i get for enjoying music unpopular with the other Minions. Oh well.... Everyone else was off enjoying Lambchop, and i sat alone at The Earl with a beer, my notebook, and some nice guitar music.

The first band tonight was The Remuxers. They kept saying that they were local, and that it had been a while since they had performed live, so i guess they are a (somewhat) older ATL math band. They can't have been around for too long, because the members all looked younger than me.

The Remuxers are a standard power trio of bass, drums, and guitar. All three members seemed technically proficient, and they worked well together. The guitarist had some interesting stylistic things going on, most notably that he would sometimes play with both hands in the middle of the fretboard, tapping strings with flying fingers. It looked like somebody playing flamenco but sounded like a keyboard. It was a neat effect, and it was never overused but was instead balanced with more traditional fingering styles.

Their songs were interesting studies in rhythmic dynamics. What was annoying about this band is the amount of time it took them to de-tune between each song. Basically, they would play for 10 minutes (one song), then have to spend 5 minutes re-tuning the bass and guitar to whatever wierd configuration the next song used. Now, i am all for using odd tunings -- you can get some neat sounds out of that. However, these people either need to carry more guitars with them (each guitar tuned appropriately), hire a guitar tech, or play two or three songs in a row in the same tuning. The crowd grew visibily annoyed at the too long wait between each song....

Other than that they were pretty cool.

After The Remuxers left the stage, the crowd had to wait a long time while Rizzudo set up their complicated maze of amplifiers and keyboards. I have seen Rizzudo twice before, and each time found their blend of synthpop and hardcore punk to be interesting. However, in order to achieve their sound they have to set up three keyboards and a lot of pedals, etc. It just takes a while.

So, again, i waited.

Eventually when they started to play, i was reminded of the crazy energy of the band. Their songs tend to be full speed ahead -- each member banging their instrument as loud they can. This aesthetic, combined with the harmonized screaming of the two guitarist/keyboardists really gives off the energy of an old hardcore punk act. It makes a fascinating juxtaposition with the synth pop of their keybaords.

I dunno, i still can't decide whether or not i really like Rizzudo. They are, however, very different. And at least they seem to be passionate about whatever it is they are screaming about. In my book, passion in music is a good thing. Tonight, i enjoyed their set more than i ever have before.

Rizzudo took down their gear much faster than they set it up, and immediately the members of Tristeza began setting up their gear. This band really knew what they were doing, and one interesting choice they made during their brief soundcheck was to have NO instruments coming through the monitors. This was an act of inspired brilliance, and i don't know exactly why they did it but i applaud them.

I know that we here at EvilSponge have developed sort of a reputation for commenting overtly much on the sound quality at certain establishments, and The Earl has often been the target of our ire. The mix that we hear in the crowd can be atrocious, and tonight it was a little muddy. Some of the sounds would blend together during The Remuxers and Rizzudo, and sometimes it was hard to hear a part clearly. With Rizzudo that might be part of their punk ethos and therefore intentional. However, on the whole i would say the sound was the usual wall i expect at The Earl.

Except for Tristeza. For Tristeza it was perfect. In fact, i don't think that it has ever sounded better there. Why? The only thing i can think of is that some portion of the problem has to do with the monitors. Tristeza didn't use the monitors, and they sounded great. A little too quiet when someone around me would yell at his buddy, but on the whole i could hear all of the notes clearly. So: hopefully The Earl noted this as well, and they will soon invest in some new monitors, or urge musicians to rely on the monitors less and their amplifiers more....

At any rate, i could hear each chiming note of Tristeza's complex guitar and organ interplay clearly. The notes positively danced with one another. If anything, i think their sound came across even better live than it does on record. It's has a rich complexity that arises from the careful use of minimalism: no one part sounds all that complex, but combined it's an amazing texture. It was wonderful sitting in one of The Earl's comfy chairs just listening.

Plus, they were done around 1, which put me at home and in bed at a (relatively) decent hour. On the whole, a good night.

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