Live Music Review //
id m theft able / Tongue Depressor + Austin Larkin / Trance Macabre
June 8th 2023
at Grey Matter Books, New Haven CT

Additional photos can be found in an album on Facebook here :::

While this was not my first time at Grey Matter Books (I have also been to the one in MA) this was my first time being there for music.  I should also preface this review by saying that earlier in the day, at 10am to be exact, Quentin had his graduation ceremony for fifth grade.  He spent kindergarten through fifth grade in the same school and now he'll graduate to a new one.  When I was a kid we had two grades in each building, but how many people can say they graduated fifth grade in the morning and then saw id m theft able at night?

This was that type of show where when I saw the lineup I knew we had to be there.  The last time I saw both Tongue Depressor and Trance Macabre was together, so seeing them at the same time again felt like it made sense, but having id m theft able headline this show just made it seem like something we couldn't miss.   I've been following the music of id m theft able for quite some time, so to finally experience the live show was something I knew we needed to do, not just for Quentin but for me as well.

Trance Macabre has this revolving cast from what I've heard of different members to play at different times.   As we saw them last at the State House, they had a drummer who was not Michael Larocca as Michael Larocca is primarily featured in their videos and on their cassettes.  So you never really know how the lineup is going to shape up and what it will sound like going in but this was perhaps one of the most unique ways to see Trance Macabre and perhaps one of the ways in which we will be least likely to see them in the future as well.

Nicholas Serrambana, who usually plays bass and other instruments in Trance Macabre, did a solo spoken word reading of a paper he wrote.   This very much felt fitting for a book store, but it was also that sort of concept where if you were to know about it beforehand the flyer would say something like "Trance Macabre (solo)" on it.   So in that way where you just feel like the set of Trance Macabre is going to be a surprise, I think this was one of the best surprises given the circumstances (being in the book store the lineup we saw last time wouldn't fit) and so it made this set itself rather special.

Tongue Depressor was up second and they played with Austin Larkin.   This was a trio of violin, bagpipes and upright bass which made for quite the interesting sound.   Tongue Depressor has recently released two different cassettes on different labels with a third added guest and neither of those cassettes was with Austin Larkin but perhaps that is up next.   This was an interesting sound because at times it felt like everyone was playing the same note and other times it felt like they were all doing their own thing.

The bass had this droning way about it a lot of the time as did the notes coming out of the bagpipes.   There was this one part where the violin played sounds that I didn't know could come out of a violin and that was impressive.   But just to have that deep, almost march of doom type of music with these three classical instruments coming together was something to be heard.  Going out of your way to see Tongue Depressor should be something you do anyway but adding in more components just makes it feel even more worthy of your time and ears.

The show was headlined by id m theft able who took every measure possible to create sound in different ways.   There were times when it was quiet and a loud noise would shake us back into reality and there were other times when it was quite loud when it felt like harsh noise.  Through a setup on the table there were different sounds, but id m theft able also very much used his mouth to create different sounds which went along with singing and speaking.

At one point a creak in the floorboard was found and as id m theft able hit a bent license plate this sound the floor made was also incorporated into the set.  It's truly amazing and I'm not sure anyone else is on this same level because to bring your own instruments from home and use them in your set is one thing, but to scope out your surroundings to find other sounds which you can use is just next level.

As I think about this show, which is something I likely had in the back of my head but didn't fully realize until after the fact, is that all three of these musicians have recorded music out there which is excellent and you should hear it but they also just carry this live show which cannot be duplicated.  Sometimes you think of live music as being slightly different (and sometimes slightly worse) than what you hear on a recording.   But all three of these artists make it so that their live performances are just really worth going out of your way to experience and this show stands as proof of that.  

Trance Macabre can be found on YouTube here :::

Tongue Depressor can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Austin Larkin can be found on Bandcamp here :::

id m theft able can be found on Bandcamp here :::


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