Drums & Tuba


January 12, 2005

Two or three songs into their set Wednesday night at Twiropa, Drums & Tuba's sousaphone lost its electrical support.

In order to create live samples and manipulate the sousaphone's sound, Brian Wolff played the instrument with a case full of wires and gadgets in front of him. That is, until something short-circuited. This sucked because the band played good music. Soundman "Goat" Gilchrist came down to the stage to help Wolff figure out the problem. Though a lot of fans were happy to stick through the fifteen+ minute wait, I wasn't there to socialize, so I went to bed.

Here's something, anyway:

It's all about the groove, and Drums & Tuba knew that. Whether they were playing angular progressions or funky, head bopping rhythms, the ten year-old rock band kept me tapping my foot. The trio of drums, tuba, and guitar was intelligent. Wolff and guitarist Neal McKeeby traded off rhythm and melody responsibilities, and at one point McKeeby's rhythm line was sampled so he could add some candy on top. Wolff took the band's bass role, but he also took a backseat on the mix to throw in erratic but useful sythesized sounds.

The music was pleasant. Drums & Tuba did a great job of mixing sideways punk, funk, and jazz. Drummer Tony Nozero played with a powerful rock strike, but his unconventional(at least in most rock) accentuations kept the band's 3/4 excursions fun(think of Fugazi drumming). Same thing with McKeeby. At times, he attacked the guitar strings, but he also played a rhythmic pattern on his guitar's neck. This resulted in a line that sounded like a hip-hop beat.

The only suggestion I have is that Nozero should draw a better balance between his off-center drumming and something more suiting a grooving song. Something more straightforward so heads can bop easier.

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