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Aziola Cry

Live at M.A.R.S., June 2007

Review by Josh Turner

With the inclusion of Jason Blake’s Chapman Stick, the music sounded a bit like OSI, Gordan Knot, or The Tony Levin Band. The drums were steady and precise, coming by way of Tom Murray. Mike Milaniak’s guitar, conversely, had a nice patchy tone.

When a tripod holding a cymbal fell, a tech was all over it. Once the fourth layer of duct tape was ripped and pinned, Murray started to smack them even harder. When this occurred, I couldn’t shake the popular PBS show called “Red Green” from my head. As you can imagine, this solution was not a permanent fix. Actually, it was more like a Band-Aid.

The guitarist’s funky shoes matched the music whereas the bassist seemed more in tune with John Myung. Milaniak swung his dark materials and golden axe with fervor. As there was no introduction or breaks – they just got on stage and started playing – I was wondering if their set consisted of one long song. Eventually, it came to a halt and the silence was deafening.

It turns out they played a multi-piece epic called “Ghost Conversations”. Basically, this came from an EP by the same name, and they played it in its entirety.

The second song was much different from the first. After the prior piece dominated the set, this was a very good sign. It showed that they couldn’t be accused of being samey. This one on the other hand had more angst out of the gate.

You had to close your eyes to hear the Chapman Sticks. It was difficult to hear and required all the concentration you could muster. I wasn’t the only person who made this observation. Either way, I enjoyed the second song immensely and appreciated the fact that they filled their slot entirely with music.

If you didn’t already know, I am hard to please when it comes to instrumentals, but this band delivered.

You could say they were all action and no talk. In the third song, they took us in a new direction for the second time. The guitar and drums dominated this one as well, but the Chapman Stick was respectable. As it’s said by many bassists, you need to obtain a certain mastery of the bass to even play it, and aside from its inaudible nature, there were no perceivable flaws in his playing. Yet, if this was my final thought, I have spoke too soon, as he was featured in a wondrous solo. You could say this “was” totally necessary.

The drums were on fire late in the 2nd half, 3rd song, and 4th quarter. The themes were terrifically reprised. It’s a shame this band with the indiscernible name isn’t better known. By the way, they tricked us with a false ending and kept it going. It was interesting with unexpected punches and combinations until the intangible bell. The clandestine mix made it intriguing as well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 4 at
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