All three of the musical acts Friday night (Feb. 8) at the Empty Bottle were interested in exploring what they could do with guitar, stretching out notes or finding patterns that would gain in richness as they repeated on loops. First up was Scott Tuma, who has played with Souled American and Good Stuff House. His songs (or was that just one song?) were achingly slow as the notes reverberated. Notes that sounded wrong at first started to seem right as he repeated them. He occasionally stepped up to the mike and let his soft voice drift above the rumbling.
Mick Turner, best known as a member of the Dirty Three, played second, offering a surprisingly long set of his instrumental music accompanied by a “movie” including slides of his artwork (naive stuff, charming in its own way, a little like pictures from a children’s book except for the fact that there were naked ladies). Turner’s music was peaceful and pretty, building to some impressive peaks.
Six Organs of Admittance was the headliner, although I think they played a shorter set than Turner. Six Organs is essentially Ben Chasny, who also plays in the heavy psychedelic band Comets on Fire. In this guise, he tends more toward acoustic and meditative music, but it rocks in its own way. He opened the set by himself, playing an acoustic guitar with incredible speed and dexterity. (I noticed his guitar is an Alvarez, the same brand as mine, although I have a different model. This was just about the only time I’ve ever seen anyone playing one during a concert. I love mine.) The show went electric when Elisa Ambrogio, who plays on the most recent Six Organs record, Shelter from the Ash, joined him onstage, as well as drummer Ian Wadley (who’d played earlier with Turner). They sounded great together.