Hearsay: Wednesday July 23, 2003
Confusatron Downtown Makes Sense

There’s a lot to be said for playing music outdoors in the heart of Sundance Square on a weekend night. It takes a lot of balls/ovaries to brush right up against Bush America and let your freak flag fly. So big props to the boys of Confusatron, who played in front of the Coffee Haus last weekend, in the heat and the high tide of cowboy boots and mule heels. These youngsters have a way to go before they’re capable of holding it down at the Black Dog Tavern or the Moon, but if attitude accounts for a large percentage of how people, Bush Americans included, see you, then the Confusatron trio is on the right track. Saxman and centerpiece Bryan Batson not only got the playing down and the look down — retro-western dress shirt, black-framed glasses, high hair — he got the moves, too. He repeatedly and in good fun pointed the elbow of his instrument toward otherwise indifferent or plain intimidated passersby, including a child in a stroller. It’s only music, after all.

Yeah, only music — tell that to the rent-a-cops who kept tooling by on their bikes, seemingly ready to pounce the moment the trio’s instruments, specifically the drums, crept past the de facto demarcation line in the sidewalk that separates where Coffee Haus bands are allowed to play (within a foot of the shop entrance) and where they aren’t (beyond that foot — which isn’t really a foot, probably a little more, but ... it’s still a very tight area). Essentially, the show was for the Coffee Haus patrons and artsy not-of-age hipsters/future Wreck Room devotees. Bush Americans passing by, of course, were welcome to hang out — none did. (“The Reata awaits! Then the Flying Saucer!”) HearSay, more alcoholic than caffeine freak, sidled up next to Weekly reporter-at-large Ken Shimamoto and enjoyed a tall black eye-opener while Confusatron muddled through a few songs before landing on a slow-tempoed iteration of “All Blues.” Perfect — a little too jazz 101, but perfect for the sweaty kind of night when you’re caught wishing that Bush America would just open its ears to some non-mainstream art, epitomized by an accessible yet courageous song like “All Blues,” and consequently open its mind. Again, big props to Confusatron.

Casey at the Wreck

Here’s when Casey Hess from Doosu will be playing solo at the Wreck Thursdays — when he’s not jamming with his constantly gigging band. Which means that he may end up hitting the W 7th club at least a couple times per month, for as long as he wants, essentially. The music — a mix of originals, covers, and pieces from his solo project, The Jump Rope Girls — is built on a beat machine, a relatively quiet but gently distorted electric guitar, and Hess’ world-weary voice. Very old Radiohead-y. Hess’ work is human-scale and uptempo-yet-brooding, perfect for close watching and listening. Arena rock, it’s not. Just something better.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.

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