This Bright Apocalypse; November 11, 2008; The Frequency
I’ve always liked This Bright Apocalypse (or TBA, best acronym ever) more than I thought I would. After all, when I first saw them they were a band of three drummers- Luke Bassuener (Elden Calder), Chris Sasman (Classic Tawnies and globe-trotting drum tech) and Adam Cargin (Blueheels). Despite the fact that Adam was a truly terrific guitar player in this band he always felt more comfortable behind the drum kit, and recently bowed out of TBA to concentrate on his main band, which honestly has to already take a big chunk of his time.
If I liked them before, I absolutely adore them now since Adam’s replacement is my cousin Johnny Maloney (bias alert). After all, blood is thicker than Blueheel. Whereas Adam would really only sing under protest, there’s never a time that Johnny isn’t singing and if he can do it into a microphone, well, that’s all the better. He’s also managed to significantly increase the energy on stage. Luke’s powerful vocals and bass make him the anchor, while Johnny’s inertia carries him all over the stage, occasionally pounding the large African drum in the center while mainly wailing on guitar. The drum isn’t the only native instrument they use, an mbira, or thumb piano, also made an appearance. While it apparently worked perfectly in sound check, it produced more feedback than music during the actual show
It no longer surprises me how much I enjoy their African-inspired rhythm rock songs, after all Paul Simon hit that genre right out of the park with Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints, but it still surprises me how well these boys do it. I guess Luke’s time in Africa has been well spent. In addition to his humanitarian efforts there, he has incorporated their music here. Predictably, their next gig is an Action in Sudan benefit at the Mercury Lounge. Stop by, maybe the mbira will actually work this time.