I don’t usually post “reviews” about shows I’ve seen. They are somehow too ephemeral – once they are past, they can only exist in my memory of them. ( In my case, memories quickly become dusty and should be treated with a great deal of skepticism.) I simply had to bend my own rules after witnessing what I witnessed last night at Beatbox in San Francisco.
Here’s why: It was one of the most generous performances I have seen in a long time. However, I’m biased. I’ve gotten to know Alex a bit over the past few months after he graced my new record (go here for more information on that if you are piqued) with his inspired cello-work. Alex is one of those musicians whose heart pours through his instrument. His playing exudes kindness and sensitivity. What I think I was least prepared for last night was the scope of Alex’s musical landscape. How often can you hear cellos playing gritty blues one minute and ethereal “soundtracks to a moment in your life” the next; toe curling flamenco as an appetizer to the most sumptuous string quartets ala Joan Jeanrenaud (who was but one of the many special guests – you know – Kronos Quartet?)
There was the batty, but kind hearted, juggler who subjected some hapless guy from the audience to a frighteningly clumsy episode using some sort of flashlight taser contraption – three of them actually – before juggling them, perched upon an incredibly tall unicycle. We were treated to a magician(?) who was able to guess the most absolutely random shit I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m still scratching my noggin over this guy. How he anticipated one phone number from the San Francisco White Pages is completely beyond me. Towards the end of the evening Alex was joined by Dan Cantrell – one of the most astounding accordionists you have ever heard in your life (at one point my friend turned to me and said “The least he could do is look at the keyboard every now and then to make it look hard.”) – in a delicate duet called “Whispers”. As if the sheer beauty of this piece wasn’t enough they were joined by a dancer(?), acrobat(?), what was he?, who balanced and gently undulated 8 glass balls in his hands. It was utterly mesmerizing.
But the glue, the very fabric of the evening was Alex and his cello. I’m posting the link to his cdbaby site so that you can click on it and then buy his record. The way I see it – his generosity should be rewarded with ours.
Buy his cd now: Alex Kelly “Solos”