Live Music Review // Underwear / Bad Trips / Flourishing Factory
September 9th, 2023
at Never Ending Books, New Haven CT

Additional photos can be found here :::

Between baseball season coming to an end and then the excitement of getting Quentin back to school, it had been six weeks or so since I had last taken in live music and not making more of an effort to go out to live music at night when there was baseball during the day is a regret I have because I feel like going more than a week is too long.  Quentin is getting settled in middle school, so going to this show featuring some of the best in Connecticut and a touring artist I really wanted to see just made sense.

This show opened with Flourishing Factory, which is the duo of Conor Perreault and Jeff Dragan.   I've seen Jeff Dragan play solo and in duo before (and in more than a duo as well) and while Conor Perreault might best be known as one half of Human Flourishing I have also seen him solo and in duos with other artists.  But never had I seen Perreault and Dragan play together before so this felt like a special treat, something worth going out of your way to see because you want to say that you were there to see it when it happened.

Jeff Dragan played the electronics that you'd expect from FiFac while Conor Perreault played an electric guitar, but the beauty inside of this music is how well it blended together.   The beeps and sounds electric are not too far off from guitar notes.  At times, yes, it was really clear who was playing which sound, but there were times when it wasn't as clear and I enjoyed that trip.  Music can fool me easily when recorded, but to experience it live and then have those doubts is one step beyond.

Bad Trips came on tour from NYC and they're promoting their new album as well.  I follow Bad Trips closely because one third of them is David Drucker, who also creates music under the name Painted Faces, and I've been writing about him for something like ten years.    What you have to understand about this set, as Drucker was joined by Andy Borsz and Konrad Kamm, is that it started at a certain point and then just increased in volume and intensity as it went on.

To experience this music made up of guitars, bass, electronics, vocals and even a flute just start off in a calm place and find itself in such a louder and more chaotic place by the end was exactly the type of journey music should take you on.   And even though it felt louder at the end and more chaotic, there was still a sense of calm about it.  If you walked in on it right at the end, yes, you might have felt unhinged, but if you were along for the ride you'd still feel that hypnosis and somehow also at peace.

It has been since April that I first saw Underwear live.  I've been listening to CDs in that time, but I still feel bad about it because Underwear does perform quite often throughout this state and I feel like in these past five months or so I should've seen him at least three more times than this.   But such is the way and such is life I suppose, as we all wish to do things more than we do and time just seems to slip away.

Underwear is one of those rare artists that I can't really compare with anyone else.  I've said it before but I will continue to say it until people understand completely: Underwear is this version of soul and the blues mixed up with hip hop the way that many modern contemporaries can create their own style of jazz.   With keys and sampling, Underwear is in this genre all his own, and sometimes the songs can be about the most serious topics in the world and other times they are not so serious.

I really feel that the music of Underwear is not something which can be described or compared with other artists so easily right now, but in a matter of time there will be more artists out there who sound like this and that will lead to a lot of tracing back to this sound here.  But, then again, that could be said for all of the artists who were on this show and that's what makes this show so special.  

Never Ending Books can be found on the web here :::

Underwear can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Bad Trips can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Conor Perreault is one half of Human Flourishing, which can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Jeff Dragan creates music as FiFac, which can be found on Bandcamp here :::