Alex McMurray, Johnny Vidacovich, and Mike Dillon
February 19, 2008
BY JASON SONGE
I was excited, for the first time, to see McMurray and Vidacovich go head to head, but then I got really stoked, brah, and caught a bodacious wave when I saw all-star percussionist Mike Dillon sitting in. How the hell was this gonna go down? Beautifully, it turns out, even though with all these Tuesday gigs there are always train wreck moments. They pass quickly and come with the territory.
McMurray played his songs, and Vidacovich and Dillon did their best to color. The most fun had was during "Baby," which is an irreverent take on cutting white babies in half and selling them(still whole) on the black market. But, then I guess any take on that would have to be irreverent. It's not as bad as it sounds, though. McMurray wasn't serious, and it was great to see Vidacovich's smile grow as he ingested the lyrics while keeping a steady beat.
Dillon stuck to the xylophone, either mimicking the melody, adding punch to Vidacovich's playing, or just creating a whole nother melody altogether. The set revealed itself, though, when Dillon started experimenting with his noise pedals while Vidacovich used every drum, keeping an irregular, ambient beat. McMurray stood in the middle, unfazed, and played his song while slightly bending to the explorative haze threatening to envelop him. Dillon and Vidacovich's music made McMurray's words that much more powerful. It was a wonderful moment.