October 9th, 2002


One Man, Two Guitars

Ok, in the world of really awesome musical acts, first there was the spinning cage with a drummer inside banging on his set, and then there was a lot of nothing, and then there was what I saw yesterday.

The featured performer for Tuesday @ the Clock was five-string-bass-playing Seth Horan, but he brought along his friend Rodney Branigan to wow the audience for the second half of the hour.

And that he did! He took the "stage" and started warming up his 12-string, and then grabbed another guitar (normal 6-string) and held it vertically between his knees. But that's not enough. He had to put a tambourine on the floor to work with his foot like a pedal, too.

How can he play both guitars at the same time, you ask? Well, unfortunately that's just something you have to see for yourself, just like the 20 to 30 people did who stopped in their tracks through the student union to as much watch as listen to this unbelievable feat.

The style of music that results from this type of playing is semi-unique in that it has an underlying note that doesn't change, similar to bagpipes. Except he doesn't always have to be playing that underlying note. He'll use the entire scale for fills and riffs, and then punctuate them by coming back to the underlying note with a bang. But I guess my point is there are no chord changes, or even chords for that matter... just fifths and a melody line that dances through scales of varying modes; I think much of it was Mixolydian.

And when he's not playing two guitars, he's beating the crap out of one. In one song he was hitting the body of the guitar more than the strings (on purpose) in this really complex rhythm using both hands, while still hitting notes somehow.

Oh yes, and he sings too. At one point he belted out a long high note so loud that he stepped back from the mic and he was STILL filling the venue.

Just... Wow.
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