Metropulse Music Hour at the Pilot Light

Pilot Light, 106 East Jackson, Old City, Knoxville, April 2011

April 27 marked the kick-off for what I’m told will be a monthly series. The inaugural show was held at the Pilot Light and featured Shortwave Society. These shows will be free (my favorite price), last one hour (minimal time commitment) and begin at 6:00 PM (before my bedtime). These are all very good features. I’d wanted to attend a show at Pilot Light for some time and I’d wanted to hear some of the bands they host, which seems to be a different set of bands from the ones I run into on my typical rounds. What had prevented me from doing it sooner was the typical starting time of 11:00. I often blog until midnight, but to be out to 1:00 AM or so before trudging home, especially on a work night is a pretty serious decision. I’ve done it, but not often.

Zues in some serious negotiations

On the way to the show I saw Zeus, who I’ve profiled before, but it was interesting to see him in an intense discussion with the manager at Cocoa Moon. He usually hangs back and talks to friends or passes through the square. I would have loved to have heard that conversation.

The most decorated of them all.

Knoxville Pipes and Drums, Market Square, April 2011

Next I ran into the KPD: Knoxville Pipes and Drums. After all that talk through the years of wondering what is under the kilt, I’d really be interested in knowing what’s in their head. I think I could bring myself to wear a big furry hat and a dress on the square for a large amount of money, but I don’t think I could keep a straight face. It’s good someone preserves such things, I suppose, and who can resist an extended bagpipe solo?

Short Wave Society at the Pilot Light, Knoxville, April 2011

Sarah Hurd on violin, Short Wave Society, Pilot Light, Knoxville, April 2011

By the time I got to Pilot Light Short Wave Society had started their show and a crowd of about thirty people had gathered, including a few I recognized from various downtown connections. My longer-term, regular readers may remember a post about the filming of a music video downtown which featured this band. They consisted of four members on this day, with Alexia Pantanizopoulos, who was in the video, missing from the lineup, leaving Curtis Green on drums, vocals and electronic beat processing, Grant Geren on guitar and vocals, Jason Day on keyboards and Sarah Hurd on violin, vocals and xylophone. The show spotlighted songs from their most recent CD, Voyeur.

Short Wave Society
Short Wave Society

Metropulse noted that their sound is difficult to describe or categorize and I certainly agree. Synthesizer and computer are as integral to the sound as guitar and drums. At various moments I could detect similarities or connections to Radiohead, the Kinks, Devo, the Dixie Dregs and Talking Heads. And that was one song. It really is a musical mash-up of epic proportions. The music is melodic and the superb, often falsetto harmonies really did remind me of the Kinks, though nothing else in the music likely would do so. Often changing tempos in an instant, moving from heavy guitar instrumentation to a few delicate notes on the xylophone, the mix is what makes the band riveting. 

Short Wave Society at the Pilot Light, Sarah Hurd on xylophone, April 2011

When you are feeling a bit musically adventurous, I’d encourage you to catch up with these guys. How many times have you pondered music and thought to yourself, “There definitely isn’t enough xylophone in rock and roll?” These guys are your answer. I’m posting a video below that gives you a pretty good sample of thier sound.

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