Concert Review: Aaron Myers-Brooks/Radon Chong/Patchwork/How Things Are Made – Brillobox, Pittsburgh, Nov. 20, 2017

Time in all its awkward majesty was the unannounced theme of the evening at Brillobox Thursday night, as a quartet of bands performed songs in Bizarro-world time signatures, warped the edges between stops and starts, or blurted fragments of sound-color into the crowd.

The show started with a solo set from Pittsburgh-based, avant/experimental guitarist Aaron Myers Brooks. During his down time from post-metal band Night Vapor – they can go far in this organization! – Myers-Brooks concocts textured prog fare assembled with prepared drums and electronics, and fronts it with guitar sometimes played through wicked fingers. On display Thursday were an Orthrelm cover and a track from his 2016 EP Thought Party, as well as other selections that went to great lengths to underline the guitar-composer’s dexterity. From his mannerisms, though, which included swaying with deft use of pedals, you’d think he was just taking a stroll down Forbes. Guy makes it look effortless.

Also performing were Cleveland’s Patchwork, a duo whose precision with interconnecting sax or clarinet with rock drums sometimes bordered on the obsessive, and How Things Are Made.

The band that truly stole the show and wowed the crowd, though, was Radon Chong. The quintet’s drummer never showed at Brillobox last night, so the band was left to perform as a four-piece – a daunting task when so much of its interwoven trajectories need to be anchored down to Earth. But they pulled it off and pulled it off really, really well, sometimes running drum tracks through an MP3 player and sometimes being led, quite admirably, by manic frontman (and “actor/cop”) Sasha Weisfeld, who slammed away on toms, rides and a splash as he led the proceedings with bravado.

Radon Chong’s Beefheartian brand of dissonant post-rock – on full display on its debut cassette, I Keep On Talking To You, from which most of the too-short set was culled – depends heavily on the interplay of Brian Hecht and Jim Price’s guitars, as well as the burbling fluidity of Bill Oliver’s bass. Live, they do not disappoint; man, these guys can play. Do not miss out next time you have the chance to catch them. – Punksburgh, Dec. 1, 2017


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