- CHANNELING CHIPPENDALES: Dance party starters Captain Ahab.
Tuesday nights at White Water Tavern have always been enlightening to those interested in hearing and seeing new music. And two Tuesdays ago was no different. The subliminal theme for the night was maximized minimalism. Each of the bands on the lineup featured musicians who created big sounds with small assemblages of instruments.
The evening began with the Western Meds, a Little Rock three-piece band that conducted curious auditory experiments involving break beats, digital sampling and electronic atmospherics. Using two turntables, two CD players, and one Qchord, the Meds coughed up a weird hour-long electronic stew.
Following suit came Nathan Browningham, who rocked the house with two keyboards and some sort of nameless hard drive planted on the floor (was that a sequencer?). Browningham's songs sound like a cross between Prince and Michael McDonald. But even more memorable (and more minimal) than his bouncy, retro, synth pop, was his cheering. Yeah! Like a cheerleader. Rah! After four songs, Browningham stepped away from his keyboards and did a cheering routine. He clapped and stomped his feet while chanting about pizza parties and Jesus. Browningham unplugged. Go Team (of one)!
After the pep rally came Captain Ahab. Hailing from Los Angeles, Captain Ahab creates a joyous dance pop-punk racket with nothing more than one laptop, one mic and one high-end PA system (a Meyer Sound PA for all you techy types). Oh yeah ... and one dancer. Captain Ahab is a two-man act. One guy sings and mans the laptop while the other guy dances. Set up on the edge of the stage, both singer and dancer immersed themselves in the crowd, performing within rather than before the gathered melee. While dancer Jim Merson worked the crowd, hugging/humping onlookers, singer Jonathan Snipes worked the laptop, dialing up wild, high-end bursts of digital squelch while singing/screaming into the microphone. Part DIY Chippendales show and part happy-go-lucky IDM disco party, Captain Ahab infused White Water Tavern with the soul of Richard Simmons.