Captain Squeegee Crescent Ballroom 1/29/14
If David Gilmour and Jerry Garcia linked up in Phoenix and decided to begin playing jazz music, it's a safe bet that said collaboration would sound something like Captain Squeegee. The local atomic jazz-fusion act, still riding high following the release of their sophomore album, To the Bardos, and its first music video, "Inevitable," played an "acoustic" show at Crescent Ballroom last night along with The Riveras, There Is Danger, and Wooden Indian.
And the word "acoustic" was applied to the concert in somewhat arbitrary fashion. The first two acts stuck to acoustic pretty well, but Captain Squeegee and Wooden Indian played sets that were more or less fully electric. "I thought that we cheated enough to make it sound sort of like the record, but not really," says Captain Squeegee frontman Danny Torgersen.
Although Wooden Indian was ostensibly the headliner at the Crescent last night, the show acted was essentially a coming-out party for Captain Squeegee's fantastically apocalyptic claymation video. As such, its director, local artist/filmmaker Johnny McHone, brought out many of the clay pieces involved in the video's creation to the venue to display.
Captain Squeegee played a six song set, all of which came from To The Bardos, and used a rainbow's worth of psychedelic color-changing imagery projected onto the stage as backdrop to their performance, one the coolest parts of their set.
Frontman Danny Torgenson says it was born from the band's desire to over-stimulate its audiences, which, according to the vocalist, might very well include engaging other senses beyond just sight and sounds.
"Pretty soon we will emit crazy smells while we play," he says. "It'll be like scratch 'n' sniff, but like 'Scratch 'n' Squeegee' [in] 4-D."
Captain Squeegee opened with "Seek," which sounded pretty spectacular from its first notes on, followed by "Duly Noted" and "Interwoven." The multicolored projections combined with the band's quasi-experimental sound and the languid, wayward interplay of light and shadows really made the set pop.
Their fourth song was "Inevitable," and the projection immediately switched over to its music video. The looks on the faces of all seven members of Captain Squeegee definitely made it seem like they enjoyed performing the song while their eight-foot tall clay doppelgangers played along right behind them. It definitely made for a very meta moment.
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Having been released just over a week ago, the music video has already garnered more than 3,000 views on YouTube, as well as praise from music fans and bloggers from around the Valley. Torgersen says they're surprised by the reaction, as well as the quality of the video itself.
"I don't think we even knew what Johnny [McHone] could do, so once there were things blowing up and giant monsters and aliens, I was thrilled," he says. "People have been pretty tripped out by it. Usually everyone wants to watch it a few more times because they feel like they just got hit by a psychedelic clay bus."
Sounds a little like last night's Captain Squeegee show, especially during their final song, "Factory." The color changing images began to take the shape of soldiers storming a battlefield while Torgersen sang out rather cryptic lyrics. The convergence of all the lights, sounds, and horns made for an exciting ending to a vibrant show.