In the various ways that we say there are different nameable types of music, nothing really announces that this is that type more than the venue itself. Less and less does something in the music itself tells us, “This is classical music because it sounds like…” or “This is jazz because it sounds like…”; rather, what seems to approximate our nomenclature best is closer to: “This is classical music because it’s in Jordan Hall” or “This is jazz because it’s at the Regattabar.”
Some venues are a little different though. One week when I happened to look last year, Le Poisson Rouge (LPR), where the legendary jazz club The Villiage Gate used to be on Bleecker St., had playingworld class violist Kim Kashkashian, a double bill of two progressive rock groups called “Om” and “Watter,” and a drag + bingo party. One week a couple months back, the comparably invigorating and not-too-dissimilarly named RedCat, in Los Angeles, sported an experimental music collective playing the early works of American pioneer Robert Ashely, a marathon of the films of Gregory Markopoulos, and the L.A. Bassoons (no irony in the name—that’s what they are). What I find happens at these types of venues is that while we are listening, that venue-based sense of what kind of concert we are at fades away and we get closer to the music itself.
We all hate genres, but it’s hard to do much about that when we’re in Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, or even the Coachella Valley. So here is to more red! More poissons and cats and hopefully soon rote Schmetterlinge!
(August 11, 2015)