By: Barrett O'Donnell
Perpetual Groove :: 03.26.08 :: The Library :: Oxford, MS
While at times slipping into a trance opera, Perpetual Groove shined fully on a Wednesday night in Oxford. Opener "Free Ride to the Show" showcased their musical arsenal with lyrics that could make any hipster feel right at home and longing guitar licks that transform into frequency static noise. By the end of this song one hardly even realized it was the same cut that had started 15 minutes earlier. The voice heard is a personal one, the guitar melodic, and the tones of the bass unloaded by Adam Perry cut right through the middle passage of the inner ear like a knife slicing into warm butter.
Perpetual Groove created a symphony of electronic sounds cast behind a bubble of loops and noise that formed a gentle ambient effect. Suddenly, the band decided to turn toward an edgier side early in the show. As the segue built, a voice was heard, though this time it didn't sound like a buddy talking about walking around barefoot. It sounded more like the captain of an airplane giving a final approach nod as the band slid into "Mayday," which showcased the balls to the wall energy that drives PGroove. Perry's bass created an atmospheric melody that was heavy rock with a jazzy quality to it. The band focused on repetition during this technical tune from their newest album, Live Love Die. Next, the band moved into a life-affirming version of their classic "Robot Waltz." The name says it all - robots, lots of them, doing very precise waltz steps, right-foot forward and around in a square.
Wednesday night in Oxford, Mississippi means one thing to music fans: the bar closes at midnight. Apparently the band got wind of this sometime before the show and decided they were going to play one long set. As the audience was already floored by show time, the band rocked right into The Beatles' anthem "Helter Skelter," which changed everyone's attitudes as guitarist-vocalist Brock Butler belted the lyrics with McCartney soul. With such high energy in the room one would guess the band might take it easy for a bit but they didn't. They kept right on truckin' into another monster off Live Love Die, "Speed Queen." The final jam in this song was uplifting instrumental-metal.
From this point on, the rest of the show was simply bonus as the band played "TSMM," an oldie from Sweet Oblivious Antidote, which found Butler in attack-mode, pummeling his strings; creating the image and sound of butterflies flapping their wings.
If one were not completely lost in the waves of electronic sounds they might have found in one corner the incredibly talented artist group Vorcan, currently doing a 50 state tour and creating a different painting in every state. The Vorcan team came down from Asheville, NC the night before and said they thought about skipping Mississippi but decided to paint the Perpetual Groove show. By the end of the evening, the Vorcan boys had seen two amazing sets (an out of control late night performance by local heroes, Zoogma followed PGroove at a different venue) and had produced two paintings that proved why they are traveling the country chasing their dreams.
03.26.08, The Library: Oxford, MS
Set I: Free Ride to the Show > Mayday > Playground, Save For One, Robot Waltz, Helter Skelter > Speed Queen, TSMM, Two Shores
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