Avante-garde seems the easy description for Yonatan Gat.
The Israel-born guitarist was part of the punk trio Monotonix, which was infamous for live performances that were a sweaty mess of noise and bodies, thrown thrash and fire. The band played 1,000 shows in its five-year run.
As a solo artist, Gat tempers the punk angst with free-jazz freakouts and world-music sounds — from Chicano rock to Afro-Brazilian soul and Middle Eastern surf-rock. Still, his current project — with bassist Sergio Sayeg and drummer Gal Lazer — pushes the boundaries of the band-audience relationship, eschewing the stage and setting up amongst the crowd. Earlier this month the band released “Director,” an 11-track improv-psych-punk epic of an album and awed music critics at South by South West. I emailed Gat in advance of tonight’s show at Visalia’s Cellar Door.
People seem to freak out that you shy away from playing on stage and prefer to get right there in the crowd. Why do you think that is?
Sometimes, when we play smaller shows in smaller towns – people are not sure what to do with themselves in the beginning – it’s true. I usually just tell them they can come closer. Stand right on us. It’s just unusual for a band to set up this way. Although it’s pretty dumb that bands don’t. The stage is only needed for elevation when the place is too big and people can’t see you. And if you’re in front of the PA – well, that’s your monitors. When we play bigger venues, we use our own tiny stage and set it in the middle of the room and people can stand around us. The idea is that people can get close, stand in every position around us in an attempt to create a more direct communication with the audience. At the moment, I’m not interested in being an avant-garde band playing to themselves and other musicians. We are on the floor with the people because what we get from the audience goes into the show, into the songs we choose to play, into our musical decisions while improvising, into the length of the set, into the dynamic of the playing.
Aside from not eating at Burger King (the tax thing may be the least of its offences), your schedule for the next seven days looks full up, especially if you are into any sort of live music. The choices are presented here in our weekly roundup known as BANDGEEEEK!
Between watching the World Cup and getting your head around the dude who was mistakenly released from jail (and then killed), your weekend is spent. Unless you’re up for the dozens of live music events happening around the city, which we (once again) cull together and collate in the weekly feature we call BANDGEEEEEK!
“When you’ve been influenced by 100 bands, it’s going to be multi-genre and a little hard to place,” says Ashton Bird, who makes up the guitar-drum duo with his brother Caleb.
Bird is not the real surname, Ashton says. “It’s a band thing.”
The Los Angeles duo doesn’t worry much about genre. They just play and hope the music passes along their joy for life, forgetting the fact they spent two years playing with mostly doom and stoner rock bands, or that their sound borrows heavily from those genres (with flashes of indie-rock and psychedelia mixed).
“People have a choice. They should all feel fun and positive, too,” Ashton says.
In light of the dozens of original live performances happening through next week, I should probably reconsider what I said about Fresno being a cover-band town. Here’s your weekly BANDGEEEEEK! roundup.
While the majority of your friends are out watching “Wicked,” you’d rather be out at a bar somewhere, listening to some low-down dirty rock and roll. Or any of the dozen of other music options happening this weekend (and into next week). Here’s your music roundup known as BANDGEEEEEK!
Saintseneca invested a lot of time into its latest album “Dark Arc,” which is released Tuesday on Anti-.
The original songs came together over the course of close to 10 months. They were recorded in an attic at a friend’s home, and were the kind of sparse, minimal folk instrumentation the Columbus Ohio band is known for. It was a fully realized album and the label was excited, says Zac Little, who sings and plays a variety of instruments in the band, which plays Visalia’s Cell Door, tonight.
“If I’m in Lithuania, I’ve probably got a Fresno jersey on,” says Fashawn, who was featured on the cover of XXL Magazine as one of it’s Freshman class back in 2010. “I’ve got one foot in the music industry and one foot on Shield’s Avenue.”
Tonight, he’ll have both feet in Visalia. He plays the Cellar Door for a birthday bash (he just turned 25) that includes some friends — Los Angeles rapper Evidence, Fresno’a Omar Aura and others.
1. GO SEE A SHOW AT FULTON 55
You can see another country legend (sorta!) — as Johnny Cash tribute Cash’d Out plays tonight. They’re legit — as in they can make Cash’s daughter cry. Then Saturday, S.F.’s Nicki Bluhm comes to play some fun folky music for you. She’s legit too. [More]
1. SAY FAREWELL TO THE EXPRESS
With news earlier this week that long-time LGBT nightclub The Express is closing, you can expect big crowds for its final three days tonight, Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, the popular Xotica drag show — usually on Thursdays — will be capping the final night of the club. [More]
If you listened to the show live on Sunday night, you’ll be happy to know there are a few more songs on the podcast for you to check out. Enjoy the podcast and tune in at 9 p.m. Sunday for a new episode of Ozmosis on New Rock 104.1.
1. SEE TWIN SHADOW You know how The Cellar Door in Visalia gets all those cool concerts? Well, organizers are saying tonight’s is the biggest one of the year. It’s with ’80s-inspired dance-pop act (and critical darling) Twin Shadow and the very groovy Poolside. In fact, I’ve heard people from L.A. and S.F. have been buying most of the advance tickets. Don’t miss out, local hipsters! Read this interview I did with Twin Shadow to get you ready. [Tickets]
Milo Greene just released its debut album and are stopping in Visalia on Thursday night to play The Cellar Door with Fresno faves Fierce Creatures. Go here for tickets and info. Consider Milo Greene one of those “on the rise” bands we’re seeing for cheap that could totally be famous a year from now.
Reminder for you: Popular local magician Tony Blanco will be honored tonight at Full Circle Brewing Co. Blanco passed away last week after a hush-hush battle with cancer. His death surprised many in the performing arts community, so they’ve pitched in their time for tonight’s event. It includes various performance and raffle/auction items to raise money to pay Blanco’s final bills.
Pianists David Hull and Andrew Hall are starting a dueling pianos karaoke night at Revue Cafe in the Tower District. They’ll do the dueling pianos part and people can either sing karaoke or join a group sing-along. It runs 8-10 p.m. and is free with purchase at Revue. The event will run each Wednesday in June.
1. WATCH SOME BASKETBALL While we’ve been obsessing about our own bracket around here, we’ve yet to mention that the women’s NCAA Tournament is in Fresno this week. You can see the likes of Duke and Stanford playing. And, we presume, stand in some HUGE Doghouse Grill lines. [More]