Last night I made the miraculous discovery that if you try hard enough you can be in two places at once. It was not easy but I managed to see all of the Swords and Sandals/Weasel Walter Quintet (with Henry Kaiser) then we jetted over to Amnesia to witness the act of nature that is the Magik Markers. I only caught the Markers set but the lineup included Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance/Comets on Fire) on guitar (who i hear is now a member of the band – you heard that here first).
Elisa’s vocals were as ever astounding. Like a demonically possessed Bessie Smith she wailed out emotion at its rawest over top of her abstract guitar manipulations of feedback and riff. Tight little space Amnesia – I watched the first half of the set from the street directly outside the door before wading into the packed house.
In Chicago everyone complains about how incestuous the local music scene is. Ten bands between 5 guys in different combinations. But the reality is that if you make music of any marginal form (experimental, free folk, free jazz, something electronics, whatever) the entire listening and performing audience is very very small. Inevitably this community will merge through various interactions and no matter where you are from the people you play with and who listen to your records are the same.
There is a lot of talk about the major record companies and the “independent” records companies. But the reality is that small record labels that support marginalized music are not even in the same business that the majors are in. We might share shelf space (and this is ever decreasing) but the two sets of entities are so drastically different that they have become two entirely different things. One supports music, the other uses music to make money.