Art Beat 2008

Last night, at the behest of a former roommate, I set out to listen to some free music put on by this annual event in Somerville.  Primarily we were there to see Freezepop, a poppy electronic sort of group popular with the young crowd.  I relaized then and there that I am no longer part of the young crowd, but it was still enjoyable.  Freezepop was fun, frolicking, and despite the threat of rain and thunderstorms, generally well attended.  But that was not the only pleasant surprise the night afforded.  The other was, direct from Italy, Rota Temporis.

When you see a stage set with several large drums, one covered in zebra hide and others bearing horns, you expect a certain type of music.  When the band members come out on stage all in leather with long and mangled hair, tattoos, and a sprinkling of cave-man jewelery, your suspicions are almost totally confirmed.  What you don’t expect (especially from obviously mannish Italians) is bagpipes.  Three of them.

Now, I won’t say that I don’t like bagpipes.  I was recently at a lantern festival where a piper played as the lanterns were set out across the water – it was quite beautiful.  However, I expect most bagpipe music to be mournful and, well, Scottish.  I don’t expect Italian metal-looking dudes to be playing them.  Still, the sight of such dudes prancing around with enthusiasm and actually playing a variety of non-repetitive songs on the things is impressive and delightful.  In fact, they were so into it that I was afraid several times that one of the swirling bagpipers was going to conch out the drummer with the horns with some of his pipes.  Pretty intense and moving stuff.  And while some of their attempts to interact with the crowd were hampered by less-than-fluent English, it still got the point across.  By the third or fourth song in, I was really grooving to those pipes, along with the rest of the crowd.

I have yet to find a way to buy their stuff online, and alas, I did not get a CD before they left.  But I will be looking for it.  In the meantime, their Myspace page is here.  Knock yourselves out.

Postscript – found the website!