Drawing crazy patterns
For a group of music fans and musicians of a certain age and mind-set, the words "Steve Reich" have a meaning all their own. Drop them into any chat, and those conversant in this language will instantly know what you are talking about. The modern composer's name has become a descriptive term, employed to represent a circular, cyclical group of musical patterns that morph and evolve as they progress over time.
Rock fans will note that this is the sort of thing Pete Townshend was doing at the end of the '60s, while twiddling endlessly with synthesizers and tape loops in his insular home studio. The end result of this can be heard all over "Who's Next," in the (strangely) classic rock radio staples "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." Less obvious, and probably closer to the actual Reich-ian methodology, was the work Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew did with King Crimson on '80s albums such as "Discipline," "Beat" and "Three of a Perfect Pair." Fripp recently performed a solo show inside Buffalo's Town Ballroom that was "very Steve Reich," as a music geek would say.
Pattern Is Movement is the only band that comes to mind so in awe of Reich and similar composers -- Phillip Glass, for instance -- that it christened itself with a moniker describing what Reich's music does.
The Philadelphia quartet, signed to indie label Noreaster Failed Industries, grabbed significant attention in the underground rock press with the release of its 2004 debut "The (Im)possibility of Longing," a record that immediately brought a healthy number of Reich comparisons and urged one Pitchfork critic to compare the group's sound to "a Rodgers and Hammerstein performance inside a steel mill."
That description fits the band even more snugly with the release of its sophomore effort, the mighty (and mighty weird) "Stowaway." Moody, serious, goofy, ambitious, fun and stuffed full of Reich-like, slowly evolving, repetitive patterns, "Stowaway" has already been hailed as a classic.
I doubt you'll hear this stuff on the radio, unless you're listening to an Internet station, so if the above makes you at all curious regarding Pattern Is Movement, head on down to Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St., on Sunday for the band's 9 p.m. show. Call the club at 855-3931 for information regarding admission price and support acts.
An incredibly busy week in Buffalo for the discerning music lover means that I'm recommending far too many shows for you to possibly attend. Give it a try, though; you never know what you're capable of.
The English Beat returns to our city after last year's enthusiastic show inside the Town Ballroom, with a 7 p.m. Sunday gig inside the Buffalo Icon, 391 Ellicott St. Tickets are on sale now for $15 a pop at the Icon box office or through www.Tickets.com. They'll be $18 at the door on the night of the show.
A twin bill of inspired singer-songwriter fare finds Melissa Ferrick being joined by Erin McKeown for a 7 p.m. show on Tuesday, inside the Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. Tickets are available at the Town box office or through Tickets.com for $15; $17 will get you in the door on the night of the show. Check www.townballroom.com for more info.
The Minneapolis pop-punkers in Motion City Soundtrack, touring behind last year's "Commit This to Memory," stop by the Town Ballroom at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The band will be joined by guests the Format, the Matches, and Men, Women & Children. Tickets are on sale now for $15.
The Ann Arbor, Mich., natives and Ozzfest veterans of Taproot bring their in-your-face alterna-metal/punk to the Buffalo Icon on Wednesday for what is sure to be one of the finest heavy shows to hit town in months. Tickets are $13 advance, $15 on the night of the show.
On Saturday, jam-band funk comes to Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St., as the Uberfunk & Cosmik Groove Project is joined by the eminently greasy Rhubarb for a show that begins at 10 p.m. Call the club at 886-8539 for details.
Finally, Saturday finds an overstuffed bill spanning an early and a late show inside Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. Beginning at 8 p.m., Flatbed takes the stage. Admission for the band's set is $5. Stick around; beginning at 11 p.m., I Can Lick Any S.O.B. In the House, Two Cow Garage and Buffalo's own Semi-Tough will play into the wee small hours. Admission for the late show is $7. Any questions? Call the 'Hawk at 855-3931.