Feb 19, 2011

The Books @ Seymour Centre

A remarkable, remarkable night. Better then I could even hope for. A truly astounding collision of the visual and the aural. Supremely inventive, totally original and achingly human. Truly, truly great art exists in the small corners of society. Artists creating art for the sake of it. No artifice. No pretense. Just the art and the moment. The moment when the fibres twitch in your brain and your synapses are alive. Alive with the possibility that you can experience something that you have never experienced before.
That was The Books.

The Books played the Seymour Centre on Friday night and took a captive audience to places unknown. With a stupendously arranged show of movement, colour and music. This duo, a trio live, create music that is a carefully constructed mesh of music and snippets and samples of all sorts of odd sounds. Instructional tapes, home movies, found sounds. Collected from thrift stores and jumble sales. But how would it work live? Would it move us and involve. Yes and more yeses. Obviously the show has to be carefully arranged. But it felt real and organic. Natural and human. Nick Zammuto would begin every song by picking up his remote and starting the visual display on a screen behind. Sometimes it would be home movies or old film that tied in with the song, or lyrics/words displayed, or just images that gave structure to the song. Along with this we also received the samples and found sounds. Quotations or kids speaking, etc. Then the trio would back it up with live playing. Zammuto would play electric bass and acoustic and sometimes sing. Paul De Jong, who curates all the sounds, would play his cello with amazing precision and power. Between them Gene Back would handle several instruments. Guitar, violin and keyboards. He was quite simply superb. Especially the supersonic guitar work he performed on "Tokyo", one of many highlights. There was the odd humour of "A Cold Freezin' Night", the majestic beauty of "Chain Of Missing Links" and the slow burn of "Free Translator". Then there was the hypnotic and heartfelt "Take Time" to close the set. Backed with thousands of visuals of human interaction and religious meetings, it was breathtaking. They also played songs that are live staples, but actually unrecorded. Like the the brief wordplay of "Meditation", or the astounding "Geese" song, complete with images of Canadian geese and geese callers. But the best was quite possibly in the encore. "Classy Penguin" was basically an instrumental with actual real home movies, showing the band members at various stages in their life, including Nick Zammuto's brother Mikey. It was eternally moving and achingly real. Just like this joyous and wonderful show. Sometimes in life the smallest things can turn out to be the biggest.

Set List
Group Autogenics 1
I Didn't Know That
Be Good To Them Always
A Cold Freezin' Night
Chain Of Missing Links
A Short Song About Geese
Free Translator
8 Frame
An Owl With Knees
Smells Like Content
Take Time

Classy Penguin
Cello Song


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