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POP MUSIC REVIEW

D&T stuck in dance trance

October 31, 2002|Dean Kuipers | Times Staff Writer

A hybrid jam band composed of jazz-funk drums, electric guitar, banks of delays and effects and -- yes -- symphony tuba, Drums & Tuba roams wildly from sugary, melodic jazz fusion at its least interesting to a kind of prog-hop to even skronk and Sonic Youth-style guitar hard-core at its best.

The band's latest album, "Mostly Ape," is sometimes intriguing, but at the Temple Bar on Tuesday its staple was junked-up hippie-band grooves that got the college crowd dancing but were musical dead-ends.

Guitarist Neal McKeeby played two guitars simultaneously, one around his neck and one mounted on a drum stand which he used to create loops and effects. Tuba player Brian Wolff laid down not just bass lines, but also incidental noises and beds of sound using effects boards, and sometimes sang through his horn.

Tony Nozero's groove-oriented drumming, though, set the tone from which the evening would not escape -- danceable jams that despite some pretty and complex jazz structures never jelled into songs.

The opening act was That 1 Guy, a one-man band who plays the heck out of a homemade instrument he calls the "magic pipe." Made of heavy plumbing pipe, his instrument sports two different one-string guitar segments and is fitted with contact mikes and triggers. Though his music too was mostly percussive jams, his lyrics and jokes revealed the personality and humor that Drums & Tuba has yet to develop.

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