Live Music Review //
Tongue Depressor / Andrea Pensado / Trance Macabre
March 19th, 2023
@ The State House, New Haven CT

Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

Before I even type anything about this show specifically I want to say how much I appreciate the local music scene in the way that we can have a show such as the Shirese record release show the night before this and then almost as neighboring buildings have this show the very next night as well.   The music might be different, but it's all oh so good.

One of the things I'm really trying to do in going to live music that doesn't seem to be a problem is to go to shows where I enjoy everyone on them.   It's wild to think about how much this happens in CT now though, just because of the quality of the music in the area.  This is the type of show where you should go out of your way to see any of these artists perform on other shows, but having all three of them together was just amazing.

Trance Macabre opened this show up and as the main promotion for this show called it "experimental jazz", this is the artist who got closest to that.   With that free improvisational feel, Trance Macabre has a sound made of mostly the saxophone, percussion and a keyboard.  Now, there were six different people playing this set but aside from the drummer, everyone was playing different instruments at some point.

The difficult thing about pinpointing Trance Macabre is that there is just so much happening.  Sometimes it feels like the focus is on one of the saxophones or the flute, but at the same time, there is still bass or something else going on behind it to sort of enhance that experience.   It's really just got this groove and I think even though the drummer stayed drumming the entire time, he was kind of my hero within the set because he just held it down.

Although I must admit that by the end everyone else sort of put their instruments down to where only the drummer was drumming and then the keyboardist was playing the keys.   There would be these lighter sequences and then just these distorted bass sounds which were loud and much more in your face.  The back and forth between that, and how this entire set ended in that way, made me really feel like that was my favorite part but it was all so great.

From six people on the stage to one, Andrea Pensado was up next with a set of electronics that could be terrifying.  For me now, listening to Andrea Pensado, I think a lot of it is the anticipation of when it's going to get deafeningly loud.  There are times when it is quiet and the words come to an almost whisper, but I'm just waiting for it to blast back in and knock me off of my feet.

Of course, then I begin to think of everyone else experiencing this as well (and shout out to Connecticut for bringing in another great crowd) and I wonder whether or not they've seen Andrea Pensado perform before.  Do they know what could possibly be about to happen?  And even though I know it might be coming, I'm still not quite prepared for it when it does.  I don't think I ever will be prepared, but I like that as well.

Music can hit you in different ways and not just emotionally, but physically.   Certain artists have that bass where you can feel the floor move.   But what I do enjoy most perhaps is when the music just comes through like this wave that washes over you.  It feels like someone is just up on stage throwing buckets of paint at you and the paint that washes over you is really how the sound hits.   And Andrea Pensado has mastered this craft so for everyone who has ever truly wanted to feel alive, I would suggest experiencing this yourself first hand at least once in your lifetime.

Continuing with the idea of having a different sound but being the best at what they do, this show was headlined by Tongue Depressor who just put out a new album.   I must admit I rarely buy records because I love cassettes and so if something is released on cassette and record I go for the cassette, but this past weekend I saw two artists have record release shows and I bought both of their new records.   It's not a brag about me, but rather about how great this music scene is and how much I love it.

Tongue Depressor is a duo of Zach Rowden, who played this stand up bass, and Henry Birdsey who did electronics and such sitting down.  It's what could be considered experimental noise and electronics in some sense of the genre, but then the bass adds this other level into it where at times it can feel so serious and other times it can feel threatening.   But it's also just the way that the sound can engulf an entire room.

Whenever I hear these suspenseful strings though I always think of the movie "Jaws".  This put my mind at the sea, and so in listening to Tongue Depressor I also thought about pirates (being at sea) and then that made me think of the type of pirates that were in Lord of the Rings as ghosts or even just when you think of someone dressed like a pirate but they're a skeleton.   Though this isn't "pirate music" because I think of that as something else, it does have a rather haunted but also floating around at sea sense to it.

I always feel like the best way to experience music is in a live setting if you're able.   This entire show was a prime example of that because all of these artists are accomplished in their own rights, but then they are also just trips you must take in a live setting.   The way that this show started with a groove, went into something a bit harsher and then ended still being somewhat on the suspenseful side but not as harsh just shows how different music can be while still being connected on some level.  

The State House can be found on the web here :::

Tongue Depressor can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Their new album is here :::

Andrea Pensado can be found here :::

Trance Macabre can be found here :::


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