By now I am sure that most people on campus have at least heard of More Cowbell and I will make the perfunctory joke about how it’s not the Christopher Walken “Saturday Night Live” skit. There. Anyway, More Cowbell is supposedly the best new band at Rochester, but there isn’t much to base that on seeing as I have not seen another sustained student effort in a year – so comparison is tough, but that is not the point of this. What I will say is that Cowbell has burst from its embryonic stages of pseudo jam band-hood into its own style of art rock, experimental extended musings and an almost frantic classical – and I mean classical period, not generic classical – influenced composition style. They mix the fuzzy and most times wah-driven guitars of Jon Dashkoff and Mike Gorelik with a solid, and many times almost melodic, rhythm section of Matt Ling on drums and David Ladon on bass. In their early stages most of the music was covers of various jam/funk standbys with a few originals, most notably “Mike’s Placenta” and “Reggae,” at their shows. These early performances were lacking in both sophistication, repertoire and most of all, by their own admission, little to no practice. However, over the last year the band has taken on a level far beyond what seemed to be the boundaries in the winter of 2003. After the loss of their first drummer, the band seemed to hit their stride, taking themselves more seriously and really learning how to play as a unit. The result is some of the more interesting music you are going to find on a Saturday night, certainly more refined than the bling rap exuding from a fraternity house. Ladon has become the band’s shameless promoter as well as a serious student of songwriting. Most, if not all, of the songs containing lyrics have been original works from his pen. Although he should try to keep the verbosity of his songs to a minimum, they are evolving into well crafted and many times bittersweet tunes with sparse musical arrangements to back them. The rest of the music composition, mostly the longer instrumentals, are from the classically trained Gorelik. His penchant for harrowing, yet simple melodies and his use of drop D tuning create a dark, yet energetic atmosphere on songs. like “Mike’s Opus” and “Placenta.” However, it is not just these two that make up the band, although they are the most vocal. Dashkoff, probably the most soft-spoken on stage about his talents, creates what I would call the backbone of their performances. While his solos are not as bombastic as Gorelik’s, his comping is what keeps the songs from spinning into muddier waters. There is a calm even-handedness to his stylings that he only flares slightly with the addition of some pedal work every so often. Ling is the newest member of the band. A pickup from several other projects on campus, Ling holds down a very steady beat and his presence has coincided with a new seriousness in the band’s work ethic. That can only mean good things. He is not apt to get overly flashy, rather, Ling propells the other three members from one stage of a song to the next. Make sure to listen for him to change the pace or feel of a song. I like to see a drummer who acts almost as a leader reminicent of Art Blakey or Chick Webb. Also look for resident free styler Emilio to Together, the fourth member of More Cowbell, bringing a variety of influences, from the baroque compositions of Zappa to the silly lyrical whim of Ween and a heavy dose of “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” era Pink Floyd experimentation. Be sure to be on the lookout, as they have just recently gone into the studio laying down three tracks, “Buddha by the Nightstand,” “Mike’s Opus” and an incredible and sorrowful version of “Reggae.”Zeiser can be reached email@example.com.
Graduate Student Collective voices financial grievances in town hall
On Tuesday Feb. 21, over 50 graduate students from across the University filled the Humanities Center for a town hall…
The time I almost died
I don’t know exactly what happened, but something went wrong. I was busy laughing about something when suddenly, I heard a deafening noise.