Broad Street Cafe, Durham
Feb 5, 2011
Humbly reserved and unassuming while plucking the bass and oooh'ing back-up harmonies from three steps to the left and two steps to the back of the spot light that catches tender folk singer Bonnie Pivacek in their acoustic duo Sequoya, the alter ego of Matt Yearout angles toward a darker energy when illuminated at the front of the stage for his shocked and jarred anti-folk side project Joy in Red. Those understanding the calming character of his normal supporting role stood in witness to an opposing degree of animation found in his stage persona leading the charge at Broad Street Cafe last Saturday night. As if possessed by a discontented spirit pushing and pulling him into a conflicted world where a simple mountain born folk banjo is forced by the hand of a hot tube driven Vox guitar amp, Yearout viciously cracked and whipped simple and alert folk songs until they became twisted and desperate.
The Joy in Red Yearout is mechanized by the suspense driven forces in their writing, and he's not alone. The sheepish Dr Jekyll banjo is provoked and prodded into the biting snarling Mr. electrified Hyde by a devilish six string found in the shadows cackling gleefully at its successful undoing of the lord's Appalachian folk. Wielding this staff is none other than lovable bohemian Rob Beloved whom is most famous as the guitar half of Durham's off-kilter indie pop duo Beloved Binge...and with Proteus character shifts defining Joy in Red, we are free to understand Beloved as a juiced and dynamic stage force creating hooks and riffs that pulse life into their songs. Bewitched signature song "Mama's Milk" is as hauntingly captivating as it is alarmingly dramatic and the heavy undercurrent that pushes the log jam down river is a frighteningly pronounced rhythm delivered by Beloved's bright and sanguinary electric guitar handling. Seen again as the prime mover in the obsessively addictive "Flash Flood" ...Beloved's ability to craft lucidly spellbinding guitar arrangements underneath Yearout's eruptive song creates a mezmorizing forty-five minutes of performance.
Measuring the successes of their first year as Joy in Red, Yearout and company earned the headliner spot Saturday night playing late to a Durham proper eclectic billing of J-pop Fujiyama Roll and Roanoke slap-stick hip hop Illbotz. The exotically alluring Junko Berglund introduced her opening act quite matter-of-factly and commenting in true-form J-pop stylized "ro-ken-roll" accent, gave thanks to the Durham underground music scene before ripping through a set of geisha girl style indie jazz rock fusion.
The Jim Carey of hip hop, Stevie D of Roanoke's Illbotz delivered the song and stage version of their blushingly hilarious youtube library of music videos. Illbotz can be taken seriously for not taking it seriously and they borrow (and occasionally steal) from old school hip hop and rap turning every verse into a one-liner. The music videos of their songs are nothing short of late-night cable TV variety show satire quality and Illbotz on stage at Broad Street Cafe was riotous.
Broad Street wound down with its own tradition of all the late nighters hauling each others gear to open trunks in the parking lot, making plans for next shows and deciding where to after party. Cosmic Catina was the destination and Roanoke might be the next stop. --Carrboro Ninja
Joy in Red
all smiles left to right: Stephanie Hodges, John Smith of Somerset Frisby, Melissa Smith, Rob Beloved, Elinie Binge, and I *think* that's Joe Rizzo of Sawteeth McTweedy on the far right facing away
lazer tag, I won
Illbotz clowning birthday boy Matt Yearout
Secret Carrboro Ninja Patrol recommends
"Illbotz Rock The Spot And Go Crazy " on YouTube
"Are you kidding me" at 2:30
"Nickleback LOL" at 4:21
"Shake yer belly meat" at 4:46