When we were young, the sounds of mom's clinking pots and pans signaled chow time was coming right up. Those clanks never held any musical value. But maybe they should have.

That's why we dig the creative mini-geniuses John Ryan Nelson, James Fella, Ashlea Hohm, Marla Thyer, and James Roemer of local sensation Tent/City, who incorporate objects such as saucepans and kitchen cutlery into their atmospheric sound. The playing of these "instruments" is only part of the ensemble's full sound. Live gigs normally feature one 20-plus-minute composition, where several members sample live sounds from woodwind instruments or human vox, which are then thrown into a digital sound processor to create ambient loops. These sound collages are played while the sextet are huddled under some sort of makeshift tent structure, such as a PVC pipe assemblage with colorful streamers, a pillow fort with blankets and sheets for the roof, or inside a camping tent on the Grand Avenue sidewalk.

If you can't catch this wonderful circus in person, recordings of these performances are available for purchase at


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