By: Adam Eshleman
The Egg :: 10.18.08 :: Bedrock :: Baltimore, MD
I've been thinking about the world a lot lately. And I've come to realize that the greatest gift God has ever bestowed upon his wayward children is music.
Are we really teetering on the brink of another Great Depression? How long before I'm forced to start raising chickens and growing potatoes in my backyard? Is Tiffany Pollard (better known as New York from VH1's excruciatingly endless series of reality shows) still on TV? Seriously? How much bad TV can this country stomach?
Amidst all the uncertainty and willful dumbness in the world today, we're blessed to have at least one sure thing, one thing we know will consistently remind us how truly great it is to be here, namely live music. For me, there's no better way to quell worldly anxiety. I mean nothing else really matters to me when I'm bellied up to the stage, fully immersed in light and sound, gulping down the radiant energy of a good band.
It was in just this sort of situation I found myself at Bedrock in Baltimore, where The Egg was playing.
I first saw The Egg at Camp Bisco 7 (read the review here) last summer and was blown utterly away. These U.K. trance-rockers delivered the perfect infusion of funky, extremely danceable beats, hypnotic trance and British alt-rock sensibilities. At the time, I thought I was witnessing absolute musical perfection. They were easily the best non-Bisco act on the festival's lineup. Hell, they even gave the mighty Disco Biscuits a run for their money.
Upon my return home, I scoured the Internet looking for downloads, reviews and anything else Egg related. What I found was a massive Internet buzz. It seemed everyone was as taken by The Egg as I was. I also found they rarely make it across the pond to do Stateside shows. So, when it was announced that they'd be in Baltimore, I jumped on tickets like a crack head on a quarter.
Next, I bought their latest album, Forwards, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed. It was The Egg alright but it didn't sound like The Egg I knew from Bisco. There wasn't much groove. It was largely down-tempo; pretty, nice to fall asleep to, but not the high-energy techno funk I'd expected. Was it the Camp Bisco spirit and atmosphere that gave them such an irresistible appeal? Or are they, like so many other great bands, simply looking to provide a different experience from the studio to the stage? I wasn't sure.
Lately I've been looking at my beer cans and seeing them half empty, so it's no surprise I had my doubts about this show. Especially as my friends and I were making the hour-and-a-half drive down to Baltimore, listening to this spacey, rather boring Forwards album. I kept asking myself, "Is this why we're driving so far? Spending this much on gas? For these guys?"
Once we walked into the Bedrock my doubts were magnified. We stepped into this swanky, yuppie-ass-looking joint, with couches and art on the walls. We felt totally out of place being so shabbily dressed. Where are all the grody Bisco kids? What did I get myself into? "Well, old boy, better get a beer and make the best of this," I thought.
|The Egg by Dave Vann|
Two mediocre opening bands and about six Dogfish Heads later, I was, however, feeling gladly loosened up. Then Damn Right! took the stage. They were pretty good, but not good enough to silence my inner skeptic. Even without a guitar player, they managed to sound almost exactly like The Disco Biscuits. Yeah, they were a good time. I got my dance on and enjoyed the performance. It's just that I'm so tired of all these bands on the scene today riding The Disco Biscuits' coattails to marginal success and recognition.
Then came the moment I'd been waiting for since last July. The Egg began their set. Within moments, that apprehension and doubt, which had been gradually declining with the influence of that oh-so-delightful beer, was completely obliterated. Finally it all seemed justified. This is why I drove so far, dropped so much cash and drug my friends away from their weekend parties and bar-hops.
The Egg opened with a jazzed-up "Funky Dube," and I was immediately struck by an overpowering compulsion to get my groove on. The next song I recognized was the infectious anthem of apathy, "Nothing." I sung out every word, reveling in the beats, basking in the glittering swells of commingled guitar and synthesizer.
Is global warming the result of humankind's caustic influence or merely a natural fluctuation in the Earth's climate? At this moment, I couldn't have cared less.
As the set soared along, The Egg led me across vast wastes of spacey, entrancing, almost-Pink Floyd-sounding ambience. Then, explosive barrages of power chords and crash cymbals jolted me to life. Triumphant, head-banging life. They swept me to and fro with throbbing basslines, heaved me up and down with dynamic, sterling crescendos. They tore through "She's Terrific," "Walking Away" and "Forwards," as well as many songs and interim jams I didn't recognize, leaving the whole place in a sonic-induced delirium.
Oil cartels, terrorists, corporatization, 2012. Who cares? Who can think about such things when there's a joyous onslaught of drums and guitars and strobes bearing down upon you, beating on your chest, shrieking in your ears, blinding your eyes?
But alas, it was all over way too soon.
After experiences like these, I realize all the more what a beautiful thing music is. It become clear that, in spite of all the failures and disillusionment in the world, some things remain wholly good. I realize that no matter how fucked up things get, there will always be music to sweeten our sorrows. Thank God for music.
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