CJ Boyd has basically been on tour since 2008, with some lengthy stays in various cities around the United States. Despite his nomadic lifestyle, he has also been a prolific songwriter and musical collaborator with an impressive discography. And on March 13th, Boyd went to the La Casa Quigg Newton Clinic in north Denver and had a vasectomy.
In a public statement, Boyd discussed how he had thought a great deal about the decision and had previously talked with friends and family about his choice not to be anyone's biological father (he did not rule out adopting in the future if he changed his mind about being a father) before getting the vasectomy done in Denver. He figured that the act of making sure he didn't accidentally become a father was a cause for celebration, and so he played a show with his friends in Mirror Fears and Night Grinder over the weekend.
For the occasion, Boyd played an extended composition that spanned around twenty-nine minutes of evolving loops, creative and melodic bass lines, harmonica and vocals. It was reminiscent of what The For Carnation and Pinback might work on together for a short, impressionistic film directed by Mike Mills. It felt like Boyd had captured the spirit of early spring for the occasion with a freshness and warmth that isn't often conveyed quite that way in a lot of experimental music. Like the new chapter in his own life, this piece expressed the seasonal new year without the clumsiness of the wrong words getting in the way.
Opening the night, Kate Warner of Mirror Fears played a more downtempo set than usual and tested out some of the material she is going to play on her upcoming tour with hip-hop project Curta in April. Warner has been developing her songcraft over the last few years with Mirror Fears and at this point her vibrantly moody pop songs seem poised for a wider audience.
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Like good local artists, Mirror Fears and Night Grinder made the evening a CJ Boyd Sandwich, and Night Grinder ended the night with his fascinating blend of beats, funky bass flourishes and industrial noise. The effect was not unlike "Knife Slits Water" period A Certain Ratio but more urgent and with a much broader palette of sounds. People walking by outside were visibly confused, fascinated and amused by Brad Schumacher's soundscaping as Night Grinder but such seemed the case with every artist tonight. Perfect for the occasion even though it seems unlikely anyone knew the unique celebration going on inside.
Bias: CJ Boyd has put out consistently interesting music since I first heard about him seven years ago with various incarnations of his solo act as well as bands like Cairo, Kirtan Choir and Desert Center.
Random Detail: CJ Boyd will be performing Sunday night, March 29th, at Treefort Music Festival.
By the Way: Night Grinder will be having a record release event in the near future.
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.