Fortunately, the promoters of The Living Earth Show realized this performance needed space to “breathe” and booked the SJSU Chapel, rather than the California Conservatory of Guitar. We would have felt like cats in a microwave.
This third concert in the Tangents contemporary guitar series was the most audacious yet. It’s often bemoaned that concert audiences are dying of old age, yet here are two extremely talented young musicians commissioning works that Led Zeppelin would have loved, debunking the lie that art music must be staid.
Despite the high energy tectonics, non-stop excitement, grins from guitarist Travis Andrews and intensity of percussionist Andrew Meyerson, this wasn’t a free-for-all jam, but a sophisticated, precise performance of complex art music. However, it made no demands on the audience: we were carried as if by a tidal wave.
I prudently sat toward the rear of the chapel, as did everyone else. Before the concert, Andrew used duct tape to carefully tune the resonance of his drums for the chapel, as Travis adjusted feedback of a bewildering array of electronics. Sitting in the back of the chapel, the result was perfect.
They saved the best for last: Family Man, by Adrian Knight. Five movements which Andy told us tested not only his musical ability, but also his physical endurance. The energy built, movement by movement, until a final explosion of sound. There was no time to consider the structure of this music. We were one with it.
It’s baffling that The Living Earth Show somehow passes under the radar. It’s very easy to imagine large sold-out venues, with audiences of all ages. Check them out if you can.
Read Scott Cmiel’s review in the San Francisco Classical Voice
Don Huntley, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4/28/2012