PERPETUAL GROOVE: LOVE CAN SAVE YOU

 

Albums Brock Butler would need on a desert island if stranded there for three months:
(We decided that "forever" was too much pressure)

1. Graceland by Paul Simon
2. Aja by Steely Dan
3. The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips
4. Sea Change by Beck
5. CDR of the GA Theatre PGroove show "for something new"

 

Young yet wise, Brock Butler is a portrait of conflicted emotions and the band's perfect leading voice. Always eyes closed, he soulfully delivers thoughtful lyrics and heartwarming guitar riffs, and can bring a crowd to tears. "Take 'em to church," he tells me with a twinkle in his eye. Brock and I had a long conversation when he drove me back to the Atlanta airport from Charlotte, NC. At the Georgia Theatre, they performed a new song called "It Starts Where It Ends."

"This song is the best example of both happy and sad being blended. Some of it is very melancholy sounding. Even the lyrics aren't directly sad: "You live, you love, you die." It depends on your own point of view whether you take that as a bad thing or not, whether you are optimistic or not."

Optimistic or not, this band has real soul and an honest spirit--and that's what brought me 3000 miles across the country. Not to mention, my friends, they rock! And you all know how I feel about rock 'n' roll.

If it's been with love, things that you've done
Then you did all you can do
If it's been with love, things that you've done
It can save you

-"Andromeda"


The inside of a truss

Let's get back to this surround sound business for a minute. This "Speed of Surround Tour" was perhaps overly ambitious for a band this size. Thanks to the sound company, Renkus-Heinz based out of Los Angeles, Perpetual Groove had top of the line audio equipment on the road with them this fall. Packed into their van were (and please excuse my lack of technical knowledge) channels, "point sources," subwoofers, and left and right line arrays which, according to the Renkus-Heinz web site, "bring live sound closer to the ultimate reference point (reality) in demanding environments." So you can actually pinpoint an area in the physical space around you where a specific sound is present. In the studio this type of sound manipulation is common, but to bring it to a live setting is rather unique.

In theory, it's an amazing idea in live sound experimentation and is at the core of the band's improvisation. In actuality, the tour was a pain in the arse to set up. With a full road crew (in addition to the wonderful Barefoot and Chris, who traveled with them this fall), things would have been more reasonable, but watching the band put together trusses and lifting heavy equipment themselves--for four hours, before they had to perform all night--was just painful.


The Gaster Blaster

Was it worth it? YES. The result was incredible. It made the sound a physical thing dancing around you yet didn't at all diminish the integrity of the songs. Standing at the sound board with the band's sound engineer Michael Gaster, I frequently saw kids looking all around as he used his stylus pen to send the different sounds from one end of the room to the other. And now listening to the shows on my headphones, I can feel the sound circling my mind as if it was recorded in a studio. Very cool stuff.

So what now? Between starting this article and right now, the world has become a very different place. Actually, the world is exactly the same but my perspective is different. The optimism I felt last week feels deflated, but thankfully, not totally gone. The idea of "hope" has become a very important one for me in the last couple of days. I'm grateful to have the positive force of music in my life, and Perpetual Groove is on the crest of that wave.

As my weekend with PGroove came to a close, the encore at the Visulite was "For Now Forget" which, in its hopefulness, has become one of my favorite songs. The lyrics of embody the final thoughts of All This Everything, and so I feel compelled to leave you with these words:

Sure we'll have our troubles
For now just leave 'em by the door
For now forget your worries
Don't you worry anymore.

-"For Now Forget"

Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.

SuperDee
JamBase | HEADquarters
Go See Live Music!


Albert Suttle

Adam Perry & Matt McDonald

Brock Butler
http://www.pgroove.com

[Published on: 11/19/04]

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