Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio- Got Live If You Want It!

A ride to beautiful Annapolis during rush hour from the 'burbs of Northern Virginia can make for a daunting (and protracted) trip- but not without its rewards. As good as the entertainment in metro DC always is, sometimes ya just have to think outside the box.

So, off we went to the Ram's Head On Stage, a cozy little club with good chow, some fresh micro brews, and comfortable seating, for another opportunity to hear some cutting edge improvisational rock n' roll music by one of the world's finest touring bands, the Adrian Belew Power Trio. As usual, Adrian, Julie and Eric made it a special evening, performing a smoking set, and premiering two new songs (E and Planet E) before an enthusiastic audience.

After two years of seemingly non-stop touring, writing, and recording together, the Power Trio is in fine form. Tighter than ever but equally capable of sudden changes in directions, spontaneous solos, and jamming out a song in a unique and fluid style every night, Eric, Julie, and Adrian never lose track of each other. Constantly looking, anticipating, and subtly alternating leads, the band is amazing to watch in its non-stop action, as they share the stage without any pretension or self consciousness: it's all about the music.

And what music they play (or perhaps, plays them?)! Opening up with an inspired reading of Writing on the Wall, the trio played with a vengeance, romping through a set which included Ampersand, Young Lions, Beatbox Guitar, Matchless Man, A Little Madness, Big Electric Cat, Dinosaur, and a host of other songs from the band's outstanding live release, "Side Four."

As always, Adrian's solo medley was characteristically excellent. Flavored with an Eastern sound, and filled with nuance, sometimes gentle at others more abrasive, Mr. B's guitar took the audience on a dizzying ride across time and space, the club silent as the awestruck audience watched in admiration. Eric and Julie soon rejoined them after their brief break, turning up the amps and building momentum to a fever pitch for an encore of familiar tunes, including Crimson era compositions, Three of a Perfect Pair, Neurotica and Thela Hun Ginjeet. And after the last echoes of feedback died out, and the three had sufficiently recovered from an exhaustive set, the band stuck around to greet old and new friends and sign autographs.

Adrian mentioned that the trio had already recorded a number of tunes for a new record, and would be returning to the studio (probably the one at his home in Tennessee) to work on more arrangements and produce the rest of the disc ("Side 5?"). He said that when you listen to "Side Four," the band has already matured beyond that material, in less than a year. And it's true- the Adrian Belew Power Trio is constantly stretching its wings to discover emerging creative challenges and to develop the budding compositions that have grown out of their intense, dynamic pursuit of new musical frontiers.

If anyone can take musical possibilities to the next level, and explore what's over a distant sonic horizon with the ardor of astronomers finding new stars in faraway constellations, it's these guys. And we'll be watching when they bring life to new songs, still undreamt but continually taking shape in their wild, inventive, and prolific imaginations!

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