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An overdue review

September 13, 2009

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As the above picture of Circulatory System bandleader Will Cullen Hart will relate, aside from “Every time I go to Kung Fu Necktie, my pictures don’t really come out,” is that the band’s performance last week was a happy one. As I’ve mentioned before, the Elephant 6 seems to have shifted from the past to the present tense, and just as a fan/aspiring biographer, it’s pretty exciting. For those who are truly a part of it, it must feel wonderful.

Though it was only the second night of the tour, all three acts seemed fairly tight (though I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt with KFN’s notoriously muddy acoustics).

Pete Erchick’s Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t started the night with most of Circulatory System serving as a backing band. As a whole, they sounded a lot fuller than the few songs the band played last year when I saw them in Pittsburgh on the Holiday Surprise tour. As it did on the tour (and I use “it” loosely here, as  Erchick may have been the only constant), the band covered (another stretch of a term, as several of the Pipes are Olivia Tremor Control members) “I Have Been Floated,” which was a lot heavier this time with Derek Almstead’s driving percussion.

Nesey Gallons played next, his solo performance something of a changeup between PYS,PYD and Circulatory System. While the mood was a distinct shift, it was no less moving: Gallons’ reverb-heavy set was downright haunting.

Last, of course, was Circulatory System, who were noisy and wild and wonderful. Playing mostly new stuff with some of the self-titled material mixed in, the band played for about an hour, letting up not for a second.

I’m fairly sure Hart was the only one who wasn’t double-shifting (Nesey had just played a solo set, and I think everyone else had played with PYS,PYD), but the whole band was exuberant. Maybe it’s because it’s so early on in the tour, but at least some of it is just because of how rejuvenated they all must feel, Will Hart most of all.

Earlier in the night, Hart told me that he was enjoying performing now more than he ever had before. Whereas he might have wasted time bitching about monitors and feedback before, his time off made him realize how much he missed just playing. Even if he hadn’t told me this, it would have been pretty obvious just from the performance.

A few pictures (a.k.a. “Someone buy me Photoshop”)

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Pipes You See, Pipe You Don’t

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Nesey Gallons

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Circulatory System

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