The Dylan Group, Emo's

Wednesday Night

The Dylan Group
The Dylan Group (Photo By Gary Miller)

The Dylan Group

Emo's

Broken equipment cannot stop rock & roll. It didn't stop Etienne Charry, who came all the way from Paris (France) with his crates full of robots and electronic gear. Somewhere during the flight something got broken, but the show went on nonetheless. The stage setup was reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" video, with robotic man-heads and stringless guitars set on stands and strummed by gloved machine-hands. Etienne himself was all French charm and experimental pop, and a shortened set with silent gaps where he filled us in on what smartass comments the robot was making -- in French -- and what solos the guitar behind him was playing -- without strings -- was eaten up by a completely engaged audience. Besides, the video-projected puppet drummer was worth the wait. And neither would busted gear stop New York quartet the Dylan Group. Sound problems at the outset were solved quickly -- Adam Pierce asked the soundman if he could "please turn up the vibraphone, it's kind of our thing." Pierce was all over the place -- drums, marimbas, Casio keyboard, guitar, all played hard and reckless against the backdrop of drums, bass, and Dylan's fluid, dancing vibraphone. With so much percussion going on, the bass guitar took on melodic responsibilities that kept the tone low and more than suggested the dub they work out on record. Considering the space the format allowed him, he played it straight for the most part: simple, clear bass lines that looped and dove and avoided any kind of funky fill or slap-noodling. The second drummer played trumpet on one song, definitely an underused component in this show, its stark and muffled high end a subtle blast that changed the whole feel. I don't know how you can break a vibraphone, but Dylan did, so this set too was cut short. Pierce picked up a guitar for one last tune, and rocked it out loud enough to make up for the blasted vibes. The possibilities for instrumental music on the peripheries of rock & roll are limitless, and bands like the Dylan Group and the growing numbers of Tortoise-inspired collectives are scratching and malleting at the surface of great things.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
VVV
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Christopher Hess
Phases & Stages
Rob Halverson
Second Whirled (Record Review)

Feb. 4, 2005

Phases and Stages
Stratford 4
Love and Distortion (Record Review)

March 14, 2003

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle