That 1 Guy | 03.04.09 | Chicago

Words by: Tif Harrison | Images by: Chad Smith

That 1 Guy :: 03.04.09 :: Schubas :: Chicago, IL

That 1 Guy :: 03.04 :: Chicago
I don't listen to jam bands. I have been known to attend a festival, or two, where jam bands played but my motive to go was never the music. It usually was the drugs. You can imagine the height of my expectations as I walked into the back room of Schubas. I listened to a few tracks from That 1 Guy's newest album, but could not make it through any of the songs. As the crowd of fans began to file in, I took a deep breath, found a spot on the wall and waited.

Mike Silverman is shorter than I expected. Or maybe the giant steel pipe he plays dwarfs him. When he unveiled "The Magic Pipe," a homemade instrument made of steel plumbing and electrical wires, the crowd roared and my jaw dropped. I had to fight back laughter. I didn't want his fans, or him, to think it was coming from a judgmental place. It was coming from a "Holy-god-this-is-insane-I-can't-wait-to-hear-this-thing" place.

That 1 Guy is the epitome of what a one-man show should be. I wouldn't have been shocked to see cymbals strapped to his knees. I was shocked, however, by the range of sound that one person could produce live onstage. I was on another planet. If there isn't a genre called Space Jazz yet there should be. Silverman's talent as a jazz musician was never in question. His fingers were a fleshy blur as he slapped and plucked the two bass strings that run the length of the pipe, creating sounds that resemble everything from African drums to hardcore metal guitar riffs. While the music That 1 Guy creates is entirely electronic, you can't ignore the organic undertones that accompany the synthetic beats. Oh, and did I mention he plays a cowboy boot like a hand-drum? Well, he does.

The performance really hit its stride when Silverman pulled out a handsaw and strapped a weight belt equipped with wooden dowels to his waist. The room grew silent as the handsaw sang haunted melodies and began to enchant the crowd. The head bobbing stopped. The dancing slowed. We were snakes being charmed.

By the time the he reached his finale, I had grown tired of the wolf cries from the audience and the poorly executed card tricks. As he called Heatbox, the opening beat box act, to the stage and turned on his smoke machine, I knew I was about to be roped back in. The two bounced sounds and rhythms off one another in the spirit of free form jazz. It was polished enough to sound professional but dirty enough to excite.

I didn't love it all. I paid little attention to the lyrics of his songs, and when I did, I found them to be bland. However, I don't feel like the appeal of That 1 Guy is that he's a phenomenal writer. He also seemed to have a case of butter-fingers, but he was able to roll with the flubs as they came. Not many people can hit a music trigger with their foot as they pluck a bass string and catch a falling microphone at the same time.

"If you're writing a review on this tonight, please mention my cat-like reflexes."

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on electric saw

Continue reading for more pics of That 1 Guy in Chitown...

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aguyyouknow Thu 3/12/2009 01:07PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Why on Earth would you send someone who doesn't like the genre of music to a this show? The only affiliation or draw the writer has with this music is the drugs. Pointless review.

I'm looking forward to seeing That 1 Guy this summer!

tron420 star Thu 3/12/2009 01:16PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I agree. This review was biased and unprofessional. It's ok to want to laugh at a that 1 guy show- he's funny. Does the writer think he's cool when he brings up drugs? Give it up dipshit, maybe reviewing shows isn't your thing, but flipping burgers might be. That 1 guy is a great performer and his albums rock too!

RichardHaley Thu 3/12/2009 01:16PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

^ what does it matter someone's affiliation? This was a really good, concise review, one of the better this week. Music isn't about genres and categories, should someone not cover a show b/c they don't like Umphrey's McGee or Phish? Genres are dissipating, who cares if the writer doesn't like most jam bands, the coverage is solid here.

gmoo Thu 3/12/2009 01:22PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I love Mike's music and lyrics. I just saw him for the 5th time in Kalamazoo and his show gets better every time. He played two sets which allowed him to extend his tunes. After every club show I've seen him play he takes time to talk to his fans. Truly a humble individual. Not to mention he is a polyrhythmic butt machine.

irtimed star Thu 3/12/2009 01:24PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"but my motive to go was never the music. It usually was the drugs" you people ruin festivals. That 1 guy = very very simple music.

TrempLO Thu 3/12/2009 01:36PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


glad to see heatbox get some attention!

Mark Price former NBA star Thu 3/12/2009 01:59PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Mark Price former NBA star

That 1 Guy has a lot of talent. Heatbox is insane and fun to watch. Whoever wrote this review is a douche bag, and shouldn't of gone to the show. Why the drug reference? Trying to be badass? it didn't work.

Broesau Thu 3/12/2009 02:00PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I mean, who goes to a concert for drugs, really? Are you 15 years old? Such a lame thing to do, worse yet, admit to doing.

Ilikephish531 star Thu 3/12/2009 03:37PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I honestly hope you read this Chad Smith...

you should,in all seriousness, concider hanging up the reviewing buisiness for good, because you are truely aweful at doing so. I can come up with a whole miriad of reasons why... for one his magic pipe has one string... for two he is not at all jazzy (listen to some fucking ellington, mmw, or davis and go ahead and compare them to that 1 guy, then get back to me). spacey is not jazzy. (I question if you really truely have any basis to talk about music...period.) and three...jesus i wont even get into it. youre a fucking idiot. stop now.

aaw27 Thu 3/12/2009 05:00PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

written by tif, images by chad. tif, i'm sorry you don't seek out jambands, but sounds like you were at least entertained by the man for a couple hours. incentive for me to check this guy out.

RichardHaley Thu 3/12/2009 05:40PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

wow, some of you are really pissed off... take it easy, it's one person's words. Displace your anger much?

irtimed star Thu 3/12/2009 08:45PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I don't listen to jambands, so I'll post a show review on

iwantstogetfunkedup Thu 3/12/2009 09:40PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Mike Silveman is a fucking badass! He is from my hometown of Danville, CA and I grew up watching his original band The Fabulous Hedgehogs that he played upright bass and sung for. He may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the man invented an instrument and plays the hell out of it! Weird review for sure...

chadsmi Thu 3/12/2009 10:55PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I took the pictures. I did not write the review. I love Jam Bands. Saw 2 tonight.. Why the hostility people? This was a well written review of an amazing performer.

Deadphishbiscuits Fri 3/13/2009 06:32AM
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review wasnt too bad. doesnt bother me that this tif isnt into jam bands, but the whole "i go to festival for drugs" refrence i will admit was a little lame. pictures look good, not incredibly familiar with that 1 guy but the butt machine sampler was good and the moon is disgusting video was a nice treat where in the end he drops down a little loungesque(is that even a word?) style of jazz. nice.

mesaxi starstarstarstar Fri 3/13/2009 06:50AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I understand that fans of That One Guy aren't going to like this guys review, but I found it refreshingly honest.

LBSCATL star Fri 3/13/2009 07:01AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Chad Smith, you are awesome. F that 1 doosh.

wsp13 starstar Fri 3/13/2009 07:32AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

That1Guy is doing very well for himself these days. He took the most primal parts of playing upright bass and ran with them, inventing a simple instrument and constantly adding onto his show to make it interesting. While the magic pipe is a sight/sound to behold, it has its limits in the forefront of the one man band. Fortunately, Silverman is creative enough and enough of a showman to keep the shows engaging (read: comedy). He brings out a saw and a boot, and new fans mutter to one another "oh no, he isn't going to..." He is one of those acts that you can't sell people on until they witness it, and when you see a That1Guy solo gig, you want to bring everyone you know to the next one. His shows don't vary a whole lot, but his tours reach far enough that each time he gets back to your town you can find a new group of people to turn on to him. Long live That1Guy! Great photos, the review seemed a little lacking in insight...

GB3K-Poops starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/13/2009 08:23AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I was lucky enough to attend this show! It was great...don't like the review so much...this guy should have checked out the heatbox opener it was sick!

Great shows!

smiley3 star Fri 3/13/2009 08:58AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Don't like the music, then stay at home with a belt and a needle, and let real fans have a chance to buy tickets

DubSaw star Fri 3/13/2009 09:28AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


this writer is a complete douche and is everything we MUSIC fans hate about going to festivals. assholes who are only there for the DRUGS. how the fuck did this guy score a job with jambase????

Mr. Holland's O-Face starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/13/2009 09:44AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Mr. Holland's O-Face

Is it just me or does this guy remind you of a lamer more acid-infused version of Keller Williams solo? I have not listened to enough of That 1 Guy to know for sure, but that was definitely my first impression.

blower starstarstar Fri 3/13/2009 10:09AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Ok so a guy that plays a crazy instrument, does loops and is a damn good comedian is a jamband? Who exactly is he jamming with? Good thing your to cool for jambands Tif. Where is your editor! I'm with the peanut gallery. The opening paragraph should be more than enough to get this article yanked. The authors drug issues and typical tastes have no relevance to the band or the show and frankly is a blemish on this site..

Conjugal Burning starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/13/2009 11:53AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Conjugal Burning

I personally liked the review and the pics. Open your minds and chillax peeps, the article was very honest and entertaining.

"The head bobbing stopped. The dancing slowed. We were snakes being charmed" -- nicely done!

Intermed: very very simple music?? do you know what kind of creativity and coordination it takes to pull off what That1Guy does? The reviewer seems to have an informed grasp on the matter, maybe you should stick with your and PT, for these articles are exactly why I love this site so much.... DIVERSITY. Thanks JB, Tif, and Chad

gmoo Sat 3/14/2009 09:41AM
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Mr Holland's O-face, I couldn't disagree with you more.

downanddown starstarstarstarstar Sat 3/14/2009 06:09PM
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Good review! Thoughtful and critical. For those of you bothered by the drug references, you are probably also bummed that the shows don't take place in a church. Drugs are at these shows. It's a fact. Honesty is nice. I mean I love to go to bars but I don't drink, I go for the conversation.

lovemusicfood starstarstarstar Sun 3/15/2009 11:47PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The video of the live version of "The Moon is disgusting" is very entertaining. Will be seeing him in Philly on 3/21. Kind of sounds like a one man band of a mixture of Claypool's stuff.

ParrotheadFargo star Mon 3/16/2009 01:15AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


CHECK out HEATBOX, He is amazing!