words and photos Benjamin Lozovsky
Nels Cline did surprisingly more broad-stroke painting then guitar bludgeoning during the second of two sets at Le Poisson Rouge Tuesday night. Given his recent deeply ambient solo effort Coward and Wilco's gentler turn on their latest self-titled release, you might expect Cline to light a forest fire having returned back with his long time band, avant-jazz rock champions The Nels Cline Singers.
Not to say that there weren't still plenty of ear-pinching moments or spazzy band-wide outbursts or relentlessly spiraling guitar solos that left you reaching for Dramamine (all in a great way), but overall the set see-sawed slightly more towards intricate ballads then a tempest-like onslaught.
Seemingly always prone to moving in some outlandish direction though, Cline entertained a more trans-continental aesthetic on his new Singers record Initiate, and those instances live came off as the most energetic. Digging deeper into his traditional jazz pocket while taking his spastic space noise into the realm of samba, latin rhythm and even tribal pounding, like on "King Queen," Cline, along with bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola seemed enlivened by the challenge of intertwining Afro-Cuban and Brazilian fusion with a screeching electronic, even industrial façade. Little bits of latin percussion, performed by special guests Yuka Honda and Sean Lennon, added even more nuance and contrast to the intensity of the Singers in the grove.
Nels Cline has various other dates coming up. More pictures from the LPR show below...