Consider The Source at the Bright Box in Winchester, Virginia
It's always hard for me to describe bands and each one of their unique sounds. I seem to always find myself referencing another genre or band. With Consider The Source, things get even more difficult but I have finally figured out what the bands name is all about. CTS literally wants you, the listener to consider the source of the music they are creating and morphing, combining and transforming. CTS is always unique and sometimes, I just want to give up on trying to define their diverse and obscure sounds references; many I am yet to understand or define myself. But who am I kidding? That's not me.
This would only be my second time seeing CTS live but I knew I was in for a loud and high throttled performance (I brought my ear plugs) positioning myself directly to the side of the stage. I dug in deep and tried to pay close attention to what members was doing, to better understand and acquaint myself with their musical process. I did my best but became lost and in awe of Gabe Marin's guitar rig and pedal board. Surrounded by an arsenal of sounds, Gabe's newest guitar also features a variety of midi pads and controls. I am astounded that he can make any of those noises sound like music; it's as though, he is in a rocket ship, piloting some musical spacecraft. A short list of the sounds I heard from Gabe's guitar: saxophone, xylophone, violin, voice, drums, perhaps an elephant? Somewhere in there I heard the Star Wars theme or was it Gustav Holst's Op 32?
Onto the song selection (or what I can tell you) and JBP impressions. Opening with a long intro that included great slide work, this would be very reminiscent of Indian/Hindi scales mixed with classic blues scales. I'm always immediately impressed with the musicianship from his trio. John Ferrera's stage energy is always palpable and passionate especially within the new song called "It Is Known", which was almost whimsical and far away, with lots of delay and this is where the sax effect on guitar comes in. This song went into a Motown swing, something much different than I've heard from Consider The Source before. There seems to be added space and dynamics but they always return to that high-powered, solo blistering sound. The next song sounded a lot like Primus and had my heart pumping in an eerie cacophony. CTS is not afraid to take chance and try new things with effects, sound combination and ancient musical properties from India and beyond. Touching on world music and progressive hard rock alike, Consider The Source have me considering why this type of high powered music has yet to take off? With electronic and dance acts utilizing the same build ups and effects, I think CTS is a great alternative to the bland single DJ playing loops in some "live" performance.
Organic and wild, both John and Gabe could be seen convulsing in ritualistic unison while violently shaking their instruments. Elements of Greek and Eastern European themes come to my mind. Jeff Mann’s drumming skills are off the chart and keep this band from going too far off the rails. The perfect balance between complete rhythmic destruction and light taps from Shangri-La.
Looking trough my notes, they must have played a song called "Won't You Feel Alienated?" I can't recall because I was too busy watching a sizeable women in vomit green, spasmodically shuttering and disconcertingly screaming at the top of her lungs to the beat. John begins to play so rapidly on his bass solo that she gets confused/tired and suddenly leaves the concert; quite the performance.
Consider The Source can sometimes come out of left field with their original sound and live concert experience but they are always energetic and raw. I certainly won't miss another CTS show in my area and will be delving into their musical catalogue in depth this summer, searching for inspirations and recognitions of classical world compositions. I look for CTS to gain a lot more interest in the coming years and believe many festivals will catch onto this sound. Stay original and always on the cutting edge.
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.