Review of last weekend's Vandermark 5 performance
Walter Tunis of the Lexington Herald-Leader reviewed the Vandermark 5's performance at Underlying Themes in Friday's Weekender section. Here it is ...
The week that was
by Walter Tunis
Lexington Herald Leader - Feb. 10, 2005
The Vandermark 5 at Underlying Themes (Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006):
"You're not only here," remarked saxophonist-clarinetist Ken Vandermark. "You're actually glad to be here." Yes, this highly enthusiastic and involved crowd was packed into all available sitting and standing spaces at Underlying Themes. And for every torrent of scorched cello, every deft switch of percussive tempo and every instance where Vandermark and the outstanding new lineup of his quintet volleyed grooves back and forth, the audience replied with shouts, sighs and the sort of vocal immediacy usually afforded bigger acts in bigger halls. At one point, when Vandermark gave a split second honk from his baritone sax as part of between-song tuning, an audience member sang a few complementary notes to form a giddy, impromptu melody. That this all happened on Super Bowl Sunday was remarkable. But far more surprising were the open instrumentations by the Vandermark 5, a band that has often reveled in its near brutal physical force. This two-set concert instead allowed drummer Tim Daisy to ignite a swing groove during Sign Posts over the bass/cello chatter of Fred Lonberg-Holm and Kent Kessler. Likewise, Vandermark let the beefy sound of his baritone cook up earthy funk under the aptly named To Build a Fire. And for those still craving the 5's wake-the-dead solos, there was the playful but fiercely robust encore of That Was Now, a rough-and-tumble coda to an evening where artist and audience became a joyously united musical force.