According to Google Maps, the Central Social and Pleasure Club is exactly one mile from my house. One would think as a live music fan, I would be a regular at the small venue that serves killer beer, features a glorious sound system and has a very chill Westside kind of vibe. Yet sadly that is not the case as the Central earns their keep booking bullshit DJ’s and electronica acts that bore the piss out of the guy who prefers his concerts to feature instruments over MacBooks. Thankfully there is a little something called Jamtronica and one of the leaders of the pact just so happened to kick off their latest tour at the intimate venue on the corner of 14th and Santa Monica Blvd.
The night kicked off with a group called NVO. Initially I was torn on NVO. Seeing as how they were from my hometown of San Francisco, we instantly have that bond, yet when my eyes noticed not one but two MacBooks upon the stage I said a quick prayer to God that I wouldn’t end up throwing my pint of Racer 5 Ale up on the stage. Thankfully, God answers my prayers as not only did my pint end up down my throat (and eventually in the pisser) but NVO shocked me by kicking ass. I couldn’t name a single song, but the hard hitting drums mixed with well placed samples (Talking Heads for example) and pounding noises pleased the only dude in the venue rocking a Ghost T-shirt. Fact is NVO is doing some cool stuff and even if I wanted to hate it based off what I believe music to be, I couldn’t.
The real reason I decided to head down to The Central was the evening’s headliners Conspirator. I’ll admit, I often troll The Central via social media because I want bands I care about to play in my hood (fat chance, I know). I often head to their website and sample upcoming artist only to either drown in mediocrity or wish I had a taste for designer club drugs. As a guy who has seen 25 Phish shows, I was aware of Conspirator but not sold on the idea of jamtronica. In fact, if it was not for the urging of the band for me to come out via Twitter, chances are I would have stayed home and changed diapers. I am glad I listened to the urging because as it turns out I was shocked at just how great Conspirator was.
I couldn’t name a single song with the exception of a dubbed out cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, nor could I tell you where song breaks occur. What I can tell you is that Conspirator takes the listener on a journey into the unknown similar to Phish and other jambands. However, what set them apart are the insane noises they can generate from bass and guitars. I dabbled in dubstep last year at Coachella and found the scene to be rather frustrating. As a long time fan of the low end, some of the things bassist Marc Brownstein was laying down simply blew my mind. As I watch replays from last night via YouTube, I am still trying to figure out how he made those insane tones.
While I still don’t really care for musicians who rock crowds on laptops, I am thankful I challenged myself to think outside my norm and take something new in. While I don’t know if I would go and jump on the jamtronica wagon and seek this music out on a daily basis, there is something very fresh and exciting going on. Perhaps my local venue won’t book hard rock and heavy metal bands like Red Fang, Intronaut and Animals as Leaders, but I have no doubt that when NVO or Conspirator make a return appearance, I’ll be there helping to kick the keg of Racer 5 once again.