Tim Berne’s Bloodcount @ An Die Musik, Baltimore MD, 2008-02-09

So I went out last night to An Die Musik in Baltimore to see Tim Berne’s Bloodcount (w/Chris Speed, Jim Black, and Michael Formanek), which purportedly is the second of three shows they’re playing for the first time in a decade. The first show they played on this micro-tour was in NYC on February 3rd, and I never found any written reactions to that show, so I feel obliged to at least mark in this medium that I actually went out at night, for roughly the second time in several years (not counting Fort Reno shows), because I am a lazy chump.

It turned out to be a great venue — the second floor of a commercial row house in Mount Vernon, filled with about 80 floral easy chairs. I only saw the second set, which ran about an hour, made up of two pieces (I think around 15 min and then 45 min, or so). It was everything I hoped it would be, and, never having seen them play before, it cleared up some of my bafflement as to how they operate — their music has always seemed to guided by a inexplicable alien logic, but they turn out to be regular mortals after all, though bizarrely talented. They fed my short attention span with their ability to switch idioms on a dime (Jim Black: holy crap), but in the scope of long-form compositions, that read like a series of cinematic episodes stitched by that inscrutable logic. I do wish I’d seen the first set too, on the premise that it would have better helped me figure out what was composed and what was improvised; certainly, given how long they’ve been playing together, how skilled they are, and how clever I ain’t, it’d take me some time to figure out.

As a child of the Virginia suburbs, I’m still not accustomed to thinking of Baltimore as being as close as it is now that I’m in Silver Spring. An Die Musik book a nice calendar, and though I’ve always lazily put it off as being too far to bother, there’ll be no more of that.

Next month: Akron/Family, again. Are they actually the greatest live band around, right now, or is it that I just haven’t been going out for a couple of years?

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