Cex it up


Aloha brings the skeptics closer to belief.

Andrea Morales/Special to Gaiensville.com
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 at 11:04 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 at 11:04 a.m.

I had a curse and I didn't even know it yet. All I knew was that this was supposed to be a show worth seeing.

Cex, Aloha and Weather were in the middle of their month-long tour when they reached Gainesville and performed at Common Grounds on Monday night.

First up was Weather, the new band of Roby Newton from Milemarker.

When Weather started, the few people in the venue were sitting down. As they continued playing, more and more people got up and moved to the stage to watch. Always a good sign.

Weather's songs often started off calm and ended turbulent, as they built from a whisper of noise to an explosion of sound with lightning strikes of feedback. The driving percussion was particularly impressive.

Next, the members of Aloha succeeded in bringing their dense, layered melodies to life on stage, proving that their songs are more than post-rock studio productions.

Throughout their set, Cale Parks and T. J. Lipple took turns on the drums, keyboards and vibraphone, and vocalist Tony Cavallario played both the keyboard and guitar.

At one point, Parks simultaneously played the keyboard and bass drum while Cavallario played the other keyboard and high-hat cymbal.

In order for them to reproduce their songs live, they often had to switch instruments mid-song. The fact that they pulled this off without noticeably missing a note was quite intriguing.

After the accessible, captivating soundscapes of Aloha, there was no way to prepare for what was up next. This was when I found out that I had a curse.

When Cex took the stage, Rjyan Kidwell said that everybody had a curse or else they wouldn't even be there. He encouraged audience members to move closer and prepare to have their curses removed. Call it a cex-ual healing.

Cex, the brainchild of Kidwell, was once a project he took on all his own. He is now accompanied by his wife, Roby Newton from Weather, on bass and his friend Cale Parks from Aloha on drums.

During the group Cex session, Newton swayed back and forth as she used a bow to play a modified electric bass that stood upright, had only two strings and produced a haunting sound.

Meanwhile, Kidwell stood behind a table of pedals, effects and samplers as he frantically twisted knobs and pushed buttons to produce avant-garde beats and samples that both he and his wife sang over while Parks provided a dynamic, dramatic rhythm.

In between songs, Kidwell talked a lot more than some people preferred. I wouldn't have minded if it didn't cut into so much of his allotted time. As a result, the electronic shock-rock trio only got through four songs, and a lot of people left before they were through.

Personally, I enjoyed all three of Monday night's acts, and I left with the latest albums from each of them. I guess I needed something new. Consider the curse removed.

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