The Paradigm CD Release Concert was just amazing in terms of musical bang per buck. There was 3 and half hours of beautiful live music from Paradigm and opening act Liberation Prophecy and a copy of the CD being released by Paradigm, titled Melodies for Uncertain Robots, all for the low, low cost of $10 at the door. My only complaints were about the venue itself, which I'll save for later.
I had heard a lot about Liberation Prophecy and I don't think the band had spent as much time in my ears prior to the concert. I was impressed by what I heard and I plan to buy their CD when I get a chance. The band has something of a "psycho-lounge" feel that I rather enjoyed. With two saxophonists, an upright bass player and a female vocalist with that classic jazz timbre, there's almost a feeling of a band that might have been seen in a classic Jazz bar... but then the lyrics are a bit bent and the music a bit more hectic and varied.
During one of their songs the drummer just a bit too enthusiastically struck a tom only to watch it tumble off its stand. He had just the briefest look of "damn" on his face, but continued to drum without it, not skipping a beat. A couple of the band members worked their way over to help reattach the drum and screw it a bit tighter this time, all the while he continued to play and eventually the band returned to the earlier themes and finished the "song". It's just the sort of impressive improvisation that can happen in a live performance that you couldn't capture in a CD.
I was introduced to Paradigm about a year ago by Pentrant/Tony, who has a friend in the band, at the BBC. Paradigm seems to have only gotten stronger as a band since the last time I saw them. Paradigm is in that fringe of Jazz and Rock where anything can happen. I've got a small knowledge of the storied history of that fringe of Jazz and it's ties to the city of Louisville, and I certainly find it fitting that it was Louisville where the disparate elements of Paradigm bound together. Maybe some day I'll write a bit more about my learnings of Louisville Jazz, even though I'm certainly not an expert on the subject.
Paradigm's show used a few interesting visual elements: They played La Planete sauvage (Fantastic Planet) on a projector above the stage. Also, they had a box of glow sticks, which they tossed at intervals into the crowd, encouraging a sort of glow stick war and lighting the cellar-room-dark Headliners in interesting movements.
Paradigm is something of a treat when live, with amazing improvisations lasting sometimes upwards of a half-hour in a "song". It's also great to see that they are supporters of the Internet Archive's Live Concert program. The Paradigm Live Music Archive has a couple of concert tapes already (available in everything from FLAC to "radio" MP3) and they promised this CD Release Concert would go up at some point in the future.
One of the things that particularly blew my mind (metaphorically speaking) in the set list was a cover of Radiohead's Idiotechque, which is one of those Radiohead songs that just about everyone has heard, at least somewhere in a movie. They had everything that makes that song what it is, but they added an actual groove, making the song actual dance-able. I was also surprised how well Thom Yorke's breathy, near whiny, almost irritating lyrics in the song translated into a groovy clarinet melody. I can't think of many other bands that would attempt Radiohead lyrics as clarinet lines.
Anyway, my only problems were that I'm not a huge fan of Headliners Music Hall. The last concert I saw there (Umphrey's McGee, about a year ago) was prior to the smoking ban and I had something of a claustrophobia attack between the alcohol I had with dinner and what looked to me like a falling ceiling of smoke. I'm not normally claustrophobic so it was a bit weird. I promised I wouldn't go back until after the smoking ban, and I didn't. Several months after the smoking ban you still walk out of Headliners smelling like a used ashtray... My particular grievance is the bar is poorly stocked, at least in the beer department, and my impression is that being at least half an asshole is a requirement for the bartenders, which usually points to a deeper management issue in a bar from my experience. I sat there and watched a guy order a beer and a glass of water. I get to the same bartender, ask for a glass of water and get told I need to pay $2 for a bottle of water. Such an asshole thing for a bar/bartender to do and I was pissed. Honestly, Louisville has some of the best, cheapest tap water in the country and if you can't gladly give me a glass of tap water, particularly as someone trying to be a sober/designated driver, that should be some sort of ABC license violation. Maybe I should find a council person to persuade to legislate that...