Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Mind-Benders - the District
From the District - (9/9/09)
With his sturdy cane and no-fly-list facial hair, Jimi Cabeza de Vaca has been a fixture of the South Bay music scene for the last decade, providing ample cushioning for Joel Morales’ finely-tuned pop songs as the keyboardist for psychedelic-pop magnates dios and stringing his banjo over Red Cortez’s hard-shouting rock. Now he fronts his Cabeza de Vaca Arcestra, an auditory barrage of internal-organ-squashing feedback and unprecedented vocal swells that he unleashes upon often-unsuspecting audiences, rendering them speechless and on the verge of a panic attack.
Cabeza de Vaca started his music career crisscrossing America in a van. Dios, occasionally known as dios (malos), rekindled a pop-music love affair between Hawthorne harmonies and solid songcraft, playing loudly in low-ceilinged rooms. But after years of only occasionally sleeping on mattresses and trying to remember where he was, he yearned for a more stable lifestyle.
The sound experiments began at Cal Arts, Walt Disney’s Valencia brain farm, where Cabeza de Vaca pursued a Master’s degree in fine arts. Faced with an impending performance, he called upon a few noise enthusiasts to create a séance for a coffee table involving anointing oil, animal masks and a dream machine. The success of the performance encouraged him to take things even further.
Last spring, Cabeza de Vaca moved his Arcestra off campus to Fairfax’s Silent Movie Theatre, where he accompanied F.W. Murnau’s Faust—a 1920s silent German film depicting the less-pleasant side of dealing with the devil—to a full house and bewildered applause. Since that last performance, Cabeza de Vaca made a trip to the Faust House in Prague while touring with the Arcestra, absorbing strains of mysticism and alchemy to bring back home (alchemists receive 20% off admission!).
The onstage head count for this Friday’s performance may surpass 15, with contributions from sparrow-voiced Nora Keyes and soap-wielding Don Bolles. Among them will be multiple electric guitars, resonant brass, Tuvan throat singers and a theremin, each ebbing and flowing with every fluttering cape in Murnau’s masterpiece. Supported by an army equally educated in the classroom and on the road, the collision of sight and sound will be an intense experience that could threaten to explode into chaos, were it not contained by Cabeza de Vaca’s unflappable countenance. But if it gets to be too much, you can always step outside.
CABEZA DE VACA ARCESTRA SCORES FAUST ART THEATRE 2025 E FOURTH ST LONG BEACH 90814 562.438.5435 ARTTHEATRELONGBEACH.COM FRI 11:30PM CALL FOR TICKET PRICES
Mind-Benders @ the District