Review & Photos | Consider The Source And Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Brooklyn

There is nothing like a Consider the Source concert thanks to the unique and distinct depth of musings they bring to each and every performance. The New York-based trio of Gabriel Marin (guitar), John Ferrara (bass) and Jeff Mann (drums) has been converting fans to their nouveau brand of musicianship at a rapid pace - specifically over the past year where apparently word of mouth has reached a fever pitch. They have been invited to play many major festivals and recently opened for The Disco Biscuits this past December. CTS is a band one must witness in person to capture the majesty and magic inherent in a style they call their own.

CTS consists of professional perfectionists and it shines through during performances with nary a missed note. Marin is renowned for relentlessly practicing at any available moment - even sleeping with his double-necked, half-fretless weapon. One wouldn't be surprised if he plucked away when sitting in the bathroom. The sound has been labeled as "Middle Eastern Fusion," which is no gimmick. With extensive international travel, the members are heavily influenced by the music of Turkey, India, The Balkans and The Middle East, while infusing a healthy mix of modern jazz and prog/rock fusion into their sound. At times they utilize obscure instruments like the banjo bass and the dutar. They have been compared to bands like Tool and Primus, but it is tough to pigeon-hole this band.

With a minor revolution today of instrumental bands like Tauk and Mun, Consider the Source leads the way by managing to fill concert halls with no vocals. They have said they will most likely never add vocals. With such a layered, intricate and complex sound, there is no room for lyrics and they are not needed to be effective and full of sound - that is the beauty of the mark they make. They are a touring machine and just last week announced another extensive 30-city tour starting in Texas and infesting most of the eastern seaboard before concluding in Tennessee. Their fan-funded campaign on Indiegogo is taking off as they prepare to record a double album on February 17 at Bunker Studios in Brooklyn. Marin is positively excited about the prospect, "the new record will be by far our best. The compositions go really deep, we are super proud of how we are mixing the compositional aspect (of our music) with the improv more." This is an ideal time to catch onto a talented band before they jet off to stardom.

As usual, the trio mesmerized a nearly sold-out Brooklyn Bowl venue eager to soak up their brand of brilliance. Although CTS's all-white dress may remind one of the droogs in A Clockwork Orange, the guys are buoyed by a more benevolent purpose. With a bandana- style headdress, Marin looks like a Svengali as he intensely tore up his guitar in an ear and eye-defying manner. The sound is so intense it is as if they are an intergalactic squadron assailing the Death Star through music. The band's sound consists of many multi- layered and varied elements. The jams have structure, but often blend and blur in directions and from obscure angles that are unexpected and offer a completely new experience.

Tall in stature with long flowing hair often falling in his face, Master Marin leads the intensity through numbing and screeching high-pitched solos and frenetic, fancy finger work that provides another aspect of antics to marvel at. Ferrara, his partner downstage, is a perfect player to join him in the fray. A fan of Jonas Hellborg, Ferrara consistently demonstrates versatility by knowing when to fill during the jam, when to solo and when to slap it so well that Mike Gordon would be proud. Mann has been a quick-study and has played admirably on the skins since founding member, Justin Ahiyon, left the stage to pursue other musical interests. His brother, Jordan, remains with the group as band manager.

Although the top-billed act, CTS were gracious enough to provide late addition Pigeons with a split of the concert time which gave each act a robust 90 minutes each. The group delivered a non-stop tour de force to the senses which was so engaging that the bathroom lines remained near empty throughout. With a myriad of varied tunes from their catalog including a bevy of selection from last year's album release, F**k It! We'll Do It Live - Volume 2, the band was on point and clearly a cohesive and tight unit that knew each other's tendencies. "Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong" is well-known by those on the festival circuit and included the fan favorite "Star Wars" riff and a tease of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" during Marin's solo section. Ferrara also showed versatility by teasing the heart- wrenching "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails before seguing into "Closer." Just before the show's conclusion, Ferrara was afforded an opportunity to have the floor and share his wares for a mind-blowing extended bass solo. He yearns for this opportunity, "I have no boundaries. I can start out aggressive or be quiet, do more composed stuff or just get weird."

We are not the only ones learning from Marin and his guitar handy work. Talented bassist Ferrara, who composes the songs with Marin, said he continues to learn a lot from the guitar maestro, "We are very compatible, but I have learned a stronger sense of harmonic and melodic playing with Gabe." With the clinic the band put forth on this night, we are all continually learning something fresh and innovative each time out. With bands like Consider the Source and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, the future is brighter than ever for the jam scene.

Set: Abdiel, Closer To Home, I'll Fight For The Imp, Tihai For The Straight Guy, The Great Circuiting, So Say We All (new album song), Wandering Bear, Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong, (Bass solo), You Go Squish Now

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[Published on: 2/7/14]

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