Boom Boom Room | San Francisco | 03.16.02

There’s an old musician’s joke along the lines of “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” with the punchline of course being, “Practice.”

If someone asked me “How do you get to the Boom Boom Room?” I’d say, “Find the Fillmore and cross Geary.” Anyone who followed this advice on Saturday, March 16 more than likely was not disappointed by the punchline (accent on the punch). Los Angeles’ progressive prodigies, Telepathy, opened up for Carlos Washington’s Giant People with an inflammatory set of old favorites and brand spanking new originals, fresh from a week-long rehearsal/recording session in Palo Alto.

Looking and sounding tighter than ever, the rejuvenated quartet that brought you "Evening Eclectic at the Knit" gave those brave enough to skip the first set of a Keller Williams show at the Fillmore a taste of what to expect in the coming months of their constant musical evolution. This reporter, for one, can’t wait for the main course of this feast of aural treats. Beginning with a funkdafied “You Move With Grace", the boys had the dance floor bumping from the moment the curtain rose. After using their unparalleled telepathic abilities to blend this into the backwoods blues of multi-instrumentalist Robert Branch’s eponymous opus (“Robert’s Blues", duh), the room was putty in their hands.

Master sauciers that they are, the band used this mind control to change things up with a beautiful, lilting slice of pop called (appropriately enough) “City Lights", a new tune showcasing singer-guitarist Todd Lieberman’s songwriting stylings. Taking it back up a notch, the boys dropped one of their signature instrumentals, the one in “D.” Bassist Isaac Slape fought the demons of feedback to deliver his blistering rhymes at the top, and Branch tore holes in the space-time continuum with another ungodly guitar extravaganza.

After debuting a new, soothing, full-band arrangement of a formerly solo-acoustic Lieberman tune known as “Sing Me Home", it was nothing but smoke. An instant Telepathy classic called “Rain” was dosed with a vile of groove juice by drummer and fast food connoisseur Kevin Dooley, and an old favorite named (quite simply) “Music” was (quite simply) fine, building from an atypical down tempo into a frenzied coda jam.

But the show was not quite over for our smog-city jam heroes as Carlos Washington called Branch and Lieberman to the stage for an extended lesson in funkology. With Lieberman wailing away on the guitar and Branch taking a strong liking to the house’s Hammond B-3, “Giant Telepathy People” (Washington’s moniker) laid down a gauntlet of ear-pleasing, belly-tingling sonic manipulation for a good forty-five minutes, just as a bunch of hoppin’ heads were wandering out of the Fillmore in search of more musical enlightenment. Hopefully, they came through the red leather doors of the Boom Boom and got what they were looking for.

If yer lookin’ for the mad notes as well, come get up wit yo’ get down at da Telepathy show. On April 9, Telepathy will be at the Knitting Factory opening for and jamming with former Frank Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally and his band. All concert and band-related info can be found on the Telepathy website, including live MP3s from the sacred vaults.

MC Voltaire
JamBase | SF
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[Published on: 3/28/02]

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