Friday, August 15, 2008

Considerable Sounds: Gongzilla Invades - The Monster Returns!

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By DC Music Editor Benjamin New

Go to the shelter my baby, my baby...go to the shelter...
What do you find between the toes of Gongzilla?
Slow runners.

Run, don't walk to the nearest venue featuring the band! (But do so in an orderly fashion).
I can not recomend this band highly enough, their recordings are phenomenal documents in themselves, but live? Live they lay more than Tokyo to waste, certainly the show I attended at Philadelphia's World Cafe (one of the nicest places on the east coast to see live music by the way) was simply one of the best performances I have ever had the pleasure to experience. All these performances in August are CD release partys, which means aside from the mind expanding presentation of superb music many special guests will be joining the band for some of the numbers.

And the band will be available after the show for conversation, autographs, etc.

August, 15 2008 09:30 PM - Sarah Street Grill
550 Quaker Alley, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360 - (570) 424-9120
August, 16 2008 10:00 PM - Capital Ale House Downtown Music Hall
619 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219 -

An evening with GZ!
August, 19 2008 10:00 PM - The Pour House Music Hall
224 S Blount St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601 -

August, 20 2008 09:00 PM - Double Door Inn
218 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte, North Carolina 28202 -

Two big sets at 9:00pm and midnight!
August, 21 2008 10:00 PM - Empty Glass
410 Elizabeth Street, Charleston, West Virginia 25311 -

An evening with GZ! Two big sets
August, 23 2008 03:15 PM - 3 River Progressive Rock Festival
565 Rt. 18, Burgettstown (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania 15021 -

Full GZ show (1.5hrs)
September, 11 2008 11:00 PM - Nectar’s
188 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401 -

with Bad Suit
September, 13 2008 01:00 PM - Wormtown Music Festival
Camp KeeWanee Leyden Road, Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301 -
September, 19 2008 10:00 PM - Main Pub
306 Main Street, Manchester, Connecticut 06040 -
September, 20 2008 10:00 PM - River Street Jazz Cafe
665 North River St., Plains (Wilkes-Barre), Pennsylvania 18701 -
CD release party!!!!!!!!

The New CD (release Date Sept 4th)
But if you attend a CD release party,
you can get an advance copy!

The music on Five Even took me a bit by surprise at first. Not in any negative way. I have come to expect the unexpected from this band. I had no idea they were such good vocalists. Most of the early albums had more in common with the Mahavishnu Orchestra than the Manhattan Transfer if you know what I mean. So add great lyrics, precise harmonies, and some excellent vocal stylings from Hansford Rowe to the overflowing list of accomplishments of Gongzilla.

You can hear some of the tunes at the bands home page, but listen to more one - as any one tune might give you a idea how to categorize them, and could be quite misleading.

Hansford Rowe and his Warwick Just Intonation Bass

As luck would have it, my party (my son- who introduced me to the excellent recordings of this band many years ago, 2 of my guitar students, and my lovely wife) had the best seats in the house, literally at the front of the stage. Even though we had high expectations of the musicianship, we were all stunned and speechless. Certainly every musician who appeared on that stage was a monster. Some musicians who have recorded with the band include Percy Jones, Gary Husband, Allan Holdsworth, Chuck Garvey, Jake Cinninger, David Torn, David Fiuczynski, Ben Perowsky, Kai Eckhardt, Lionel Cordew, Benoit Moerlen, Pierre Moerlen, Bobby Thomas Jr., Phil Kester, Todd Barneson, Jameison Ledonio, and Sam Aliano. You never know who will be showing up at these CD release parties to do a guest spot. "Nadeen" came up and contributed some highly stylized transcendent vocals to a few tunes in Philadelphia and was given quite an appreciative reception from the audience.

The core band members are:
Hansford Rowe - bass, vocals
Bon Lozaga - guitar, vocals
Mike Miz - guitar, vocals
Nate Laguzza - drums

I had the chance to hang with Hansford and Mike a bit after the show, and they assured me they would be back in the area soon. I can't wait. Do yourself a great favor, and get to one these shows if you can. You will not be disappointed. If you miss them live, pick up some CD's:



Abstract Logix


Wayside Music



Counterpoint Music

Music By Mail (Denmark)

JPC (Germany)

CDS (Scotland)

Vorticity (Australia)

P.O. Box 207 Roxobel, NC USA 27872

From the LoLo records Bio of the band:

Journalist Bill Milkowski called GZ “simply mind-boggling”. The group is a mass of contradictions in perfect balance. A band with international roots (USA, Quebec, Philippines); GZ has a reputation for concise songs and transcendent jams. All this emanates from the fusion origins of Bon Lozaga and Hansford Rowe who met while playing in one of the idioms seminal groups – Gong. Bon and Hansford decided to tinker further with the Petri dish that was Gong, and begat a further evolution. They formed Gongzilla and released a series of Mahavishnu-esque improvisational rock albums featuring second guitarists on each one, including jazz fusion legend Allan Holdsworth, David Torn and David Fiuczynski, and a number of drummers, including Pierre Moerlen and Gary Husband.

More recently, Gongzilla has included some U.S. jamband heroes in its live performances like guitarist Chuck Garvey and percussionist Jim Loughlin of moe., and has emphasized vocals, crafting songs which fuse with improvisational rock. Fans who have heard some of the more recent tunes have described them as Steely Dan-ish at times. The new studio record includes the aforementioned Garvey as well as Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee plus guitarist David "Fuze" Fiuczynski (Screaming Headless Torsos) and bassist Kai Eckhardt of Garaj Mahal! Contradictions and balance; Rowe and Lozaga sing cool songs that will singe your soul while balancing both the hyper precision and the rockin’ mayhem this band is capable of live.

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