Undead Music Festival 2014 Arises Next Week
The Undead Music Festival returns this spring for a 4th year of varied offerings from the slightly off-center spectrum of popular music. What began as a warm weather offshoot of the NYC Winter Jazz Fest has become in its 5th year a more varied offering of disciplines while still retaining roots in improvisation, boundary pushing and presentation format experimentation. Events run all next week starting this Sunday and offer a little something for everyone, especially fans of versatile guitarist Marc Ribot, who will be celebrating his impending 60th birthday with a slew a performances at the festival.
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog
May 11, 7pm, Rough Trade, $15 TICKETS
The festival kicks off with Ribot’s power trio, a so-called “free/punk/funk/experimental/psychedelic/post electronica collective.” Basically anything goes, and Ribot reaches deep into his bag of tricks to tackle any and all sonic soundscapes with an equally adventurous rhythm section of bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith. Fellow guitar experimentalist Chris Cochrane will lead his own avant garde group to open. The show will take place in the performance space at the recently opened Williamsburg outpost of London vinyl superstore Rough Trade.
Marc Ribot Trio
May 12, 10pm, Le Poisson Rouge TICKETS
Monday night finds Ribot anchoring another trio at the familiar confines of Le Poisson Rouge with Henry Gromes on bass and Chad Taylor on drums. The show also serves as a release party for the group’s Live at The Village Vanguard release out May 13 on Pi Recordings. Whereas Ceramic Dog leans towards rock, this trio hews closer to an unholy mix of gritty blues and dissonant free jazz.
Son Lux & Rafiq Bhatia
May 13, 8pm, Le Poisson Rouge TICKETS
Son Lux draws from disparate genres such as post-rock and hip-hop in constructing distinctly unique compositions that sound exactly like nothing else out there. He also finds time to score films. This night will celebrate the release of his Alternate Worlds EP. Guitarist Rafiq Bhatia, who has collaborated with Bjork and carved out a futuristic jazz sound over the last several years, will open the evening. Lest one think Mr. Ribot lazy, fear not; he will be providing a live soundtrack to a Charlie Chaplin film elsewhere in the city on his “off” night.
A Night of Improvised Round Robin Duets
May 14, 7:30pm, Town Hall, $30 TICKETS
Presented in conjunction with Red Bull Music Academy Music Festival, the round robin is designed to produce a continuous flow of amorphous music. One musician starts a solo, another joins in and then the first cedes the stage to another in an ongoing rotation throughout the evening. The format yields unexpected and often delightful results. It takes a unique musical mind to participate in such a venture, and the night will feature many such creative forces representing a variety of genre. New Orleans R&B piano legend Allen Toussaint, fusion trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, and Detroit sax man James Carter will hold it down on the jazzier end of the spectrum. On the electronic side, eclectic Monome master Daedelus and Ghostly International downtempo beatsmith Shigeto are the highlights. Marco Benevento, Marc Ribot and Nels Cline are probably most comfortable with the improv format, with each of them having played in countless configurations of various musicians over their collective careers, often in the collaboration-friendly jamband scene. Then there’s wild cards like beatbox vocal looper James Lidell, electronic tabla enthusiast Karsh Kale, and virtuoso six stringer Kaki King, and many more. The pairings will be chosen at random, so all music will be created purely on the fly. The night will surely produce some spectacular musical alchemy.
Daedelus & Shigeto + Mark Guiliana, Graham Haynes, Eivind Opsvik
May 15, 7pm, Littlefield, $15 TICKETS
South Brooklyn’s Littlefield is known for presenting experimental improvisational music and this might prove to be one of the more intriguing bills at the venue. Both Daedelus and Shigeto will be performing at the previous night’s round robin event, so their improv skills should be finely honed. Each are known for their contributions to the electronic world, but also have a keen understanding of composition and instrumentation. They will be joined by jazz instrumentalists Mark Guiliana, Graham Haynes and Eivind Opsvik on drums, bass and trumpet respectively, in a completely improvised performance that promises to yield some truly interesting music.
Mark Ribot’s Los Cubanos Postizos
May 16, 7pm, Le Poisson Rouge $20 TICKETS
The festival closes Friday with yet more Marc Ribot. As the name suggests, Los Cubanos Postizos (The Cuban Prosthetics) find Ribot, in his 4th appearance of the festival, exploring Cuban rhythms and themes, while still retaining the experimental ethos that is threaded through the vast majority of Ribot’s work. New York City quintet Chia’s Dance Party opens the night, also espousing global influence, from Columbia from the Middle East and beyond.