Fort Lauderdale is a weird place normally. The Saturday before Halloween, though, invites an extra level of weird into the city and its inhabitants. Hanging around downtown that night I saw about 15 insane clowns, four to six men dressed in orange “penitentiary” outfits (Is that a costume or just Fort Lauderdale? several of us wondered), and one black swan, which was about three years too late. But this was the city to which Ancient River came on October 25, and this is home to half of the two-member band.
This was the first time I had heard Ancient River live. It was also the first time in about five years that I saw a live show. (I am becoming an old now.) I waited four hours on the curb in Fort Lauderdale surrounded by insane clowns to see the band, which, by the time they took the stage, had triggered my angry, sleepy badger face. This isn’t a music review, because I only listened to what I think were two songs before leaving. I had to work the next (or, by the time I left, the same) morning, and like I said, I am becoming an old. But this is what I experienced through those two songs:
Ancient River sometimes sings, sometimes not. They play psychedelic rock and look the part too, as if Jimi Hendrix resurrected and made his way into a twenty-first century bar to pick up a guitar and a cigarette. Their music is probably too loud for the olds. It was too loud for me — I, who love Mumford and Sons, and Renata Tebaldi, and Ella Fitzgerald, and basically a lot of other types of music that are not psychedelic rock.
But Ancient River receives my sanction to play loudly, because when they play they do it with such talent and precision that it blows basically every other local band out of the water (and off the stage). The technical ability of both band members is, from a musician’s point of view, very enjoyable to watch in action. Drummer Cordova manages to play synth with one hand and keep up a complicated rhythm with the other, and guitarist Barreto moves his fingers over the fretboard like water over a beach.
There are some bands so talented that they make you want to be a better musician. Ancient River is one of those bands, and I would wait another four hours on a curb surrounded by creepy Halloween clowns to see them again.
Most Recent Articles:
♦ Put Down That Donut; Your Employer is Watching You
♦ For Ellen Burkhardt and I, No Sex Until Marriage is a Choice
♦ What to Write When You Can’t Seem to Write At All
♦ Happy Birthday, Sweet Hobbits; and a Viral Video of the Week
♦ It’s the Economy, Stupid: A Reply to Bootstrappers Everywhere