Monday, June 21, 2010
Concert review: Dust Congress at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio in Denton (June 19)
Dust Congress consoles a restless spirit, letting you know that it's okay to accept the darker shades of life.
I first saw Dust Congress at Dan's Silver Leaf earlier this month, opening for the indie pop synth group Sugar and Gold. The stark contrast between the deep, gritty world of Dust Congress and the light sunny landscape of Sugar and Gold was awesome, and I enjoyed both bands for very different reasons. This time, while at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio, instead of playing onstage, Dust Congress positioned themselves on the floor with their backs to the far wall of the club. With only one light behind them, they proceeded to play their set on a faded rug in a room full of shadows. The overall effect was a little spooky and a little frustrating to hear such beautiful sounds without being able to view the exact source. But the spectacle of these dark figures producing such lovely sounds mirrored the tantalizingly unsettling nature of the music itself.
Dust Congress at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio (June 19)
Lead singer Nick Foreman played a bass drum and high hat cymbal while alternating between an acoustic guitar and a banjo, using no amplification for his dark, gravelly voice. String bassist Ryan Williams and keyboardist/accordion player Taylor Sims sang backup vocals with clear, strong voices that nicely complemented the lead singer's timbre. Jeff Barnard played the marimba masterfully with four mallets, providing a lush dreamy bottom to a gritty style of music that the band describes as "depressive realism."
I pondered that phrase for quite awhile before realizing it was the very thing that so appealed to me about this group. In a world where everyone is obsessed with seeming happy all of the time, we often shun sadness as unnatural. But we cannot completely remove negative events from our lives, which is why we are better off embracing the bitter with the sweet. Dust Congress consoles a restless spirit, letting you know that it's okay to accept the darker shades of life and even revel in them in celebration of the broad spectrum of human experience.
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