Blackfish at DiverseWorks Saturday April 30th
The improvisational duo Blackfish comes to Houston Saturday night to play their mindbending drone in the DiverseWorks Artspace. I’ve been listening to samples of their previous improvisational compositions here at other stops along the tour, and it’s so smart and harrowing and frightening and beautiful that it’s a revelation.
DiverseWorks has a way of bringing the absolute smartest touring acts to Houston, the true avant-garde of American music, theater, and art. I’ve seen a few improv shows at DiverseWorks, and it’s some of the most emotive, meaningful music you can ever experience live. It reminds me of my earliest punk rock experiences at the APV Room, and the long-gone punk clubs on Washington Avenue. There’s that same sense of danger in improv of any sort, even something as layered and symphonic as this.
The audience feels the same on-edge feeling, sensing the risk the musicians are taking, and like in stand-up comedy, sharing the sense of discovery with the performer, the bond is that much greater. The mystery of a truly risky, edgy moment of discovery like that is truly revelatory. If you’ve ever seen improv comedy, you’ll know how rewarding it can be when it goes well, and how heartbreaking and thrilling seeing a true failure can be, its often unforgettable.
Or maybe you’ve seen the local legend/master of improvisational art music, Jandek. I wrote about his last performance at DiverseWorks here, and even while it’s educational, Jandek’s deconstruction of his influences is so complete that many leave the performances still not sure of what Jandek is trying to accomplish.
But Blackfish’s Joel Pickard‘s intention was stated and clear when, in 2005, as part of a 40-piece group of musicians and, perhaps, miracle workers, Joel created a composition called Drone Score, and played it for 24 hours in an attempt to redirect the path of the Mississippi River.
If you are willing to go that far out, and Blackfish is that far out, come ask him (and Blackfish cohort James Everest) about it this Saturday, April 30th at 9:30PM. DiverseWorks won’t turn you away if you can’t afford it — the show, as usual, is “pay what you can”.