The Messthetics

The Messthetics

Craig Wedren

Mon · April 22, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$15.00

This event is all ages

The Messthetics
The Messthetics
The last time drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally were in a band together, they were the rhythmic architects for Fugazi, an organization whose decade and a half of disciplined progressivism provided a necessary bridge between the zenith of late-punk expression and everything alternative in rock that followed. In 2016, the two were enlisted by guitarist Anthony Pirog in a conspiracy to subvert and reimagine the power trio, bringing fully into the 21st Century a form that may have reached near perfection with Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys on the very first day of the 1970s.

With a self-titled recording scheduled for release in the Spring of 2018 on Dischord, the Messthetics will widen the reach of a decisive instrumental music that so far, they have only shared with a privileged handful of east coast and southern audiences. Across its eight original compositions and one cover, Anthony guides the sound through complex changes and harmonic densities that might compound, but never confound or muddy its connection with the listener’s body. Recorded by Brendan in their practice space, the group’s debut gives Anthony ample opportunities to swap guitar textures and styles as freely as an octopus changes patterns.

Brendan’s kit has a big heavy bell that he brought back from the Fugazi days. He maneuvers through this rhythmically shifty music with a fluid briskness that is periodically disrupted by the clang of his bell. Joe spent 8 years in Italy, among other things, woodshedding on eastern rhythms counted in 7 and 13, perfect preparation for the oddly-metered work of the Messthetics. He brings a rock-solid foundation to the groove at the same time playing a harmonic complement as ambitious and interesting as Anthony’s lines.

Bands can be dangerous when their members have accrued enough mileage to see their chops season into something like musical wisdom. When that understanding has the rare opportunity to percolate through a collaborative environment founded in love and anchored in gratitude, well, then shit can get rather intense. Anthony Pirog writes difficult music because original music usually is. Yet the ideas that he feeds through the Messthetics, are embraced by the Canty-Lally time machine, not just with precision and nuance, but with soul, joy, and groove. These last three are, indeed, the big guns in this spiritual war that music must become in the post-Trump era.

The initial concept was to mix noise/improv guitar with dance grooves – a kind of apocalyptic dance party where the beat keeps you moving, but the guitarist relentlessly terrorizes you. The first track, “Mythomania” retains elements of that posture, but as reality has itself become more daunting, Anthony – a fearless guitarist – has moved closer to his listeners, and is now willing to astonish without being so confrontational about it. That doesn’t mean the Messthetics in any way retreat from the responsibilities of a “hard” sound, just that its volume and edge never eat the bold structural ideas that define this new music. Anthony will even lubricate his tricky time signatures with energetic two-note riffs to keep the listener head-bobbing through the twisting structures. And when their collective voice is thick and heavy (like on “Crowds and Power”), it is neither ponderous nor plodding. Their performances and this debut recording have a lift and buoyancy that reflect back into the audience the love and gratitude at the foundation of this trio’s journey

— Dr. Thomas Stanley (aka Bushmeat Sound)
Craig Wedren
Craig Wedren
Craig Wedren is the critically acclaimed songwriter and singer who began his career fronting avant-rock pioneers Shudder To Think. Blessed with a voice of unsurpassed beauty, and with incredible versatility as a writer and arranger, Wedren has made a name for himself in both the traditional world of rock and as a sought after film music composer. Currently the composer for HBO's hit series Hung, and Universal's upcoming Wanderlust (directed by David Wain and produced by Judd Apatow), Craig also recently wrote the music for Showtime's Emmy Award winning series The United States of Tara. Craig's music continues to be vital and exhilarating as he embarks upon his latest solo effort, the ambitious and addictive album and musical-film project "WAND."

Wedren began his career as the singer and primary songwriter for Washington, DC-based Shudder To Think, a band that started out in the "hardcore" music scene only to challenge the aesthetics and limitations of this then-emerging musical genre. After breaking indie music tradition by signing with Epic Records (Sony Music), Shudder To Think released three major label albums including their opus, "Pony Express Record." Shudder To Think toured widely with bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Fugazi, and Pearl Jam, and their videos were featured in regular rotation on MTV. At the peak of their career, a battle with Hodgkin's Disease grounded Craig and the band, but following successful treatments Shudder To Think returned with a new goal in mind – to create music for film. With Shudder To Think, Wedren scored the independent films First Love Last Rites and High Art, and contributed music to the film Velvet Goldmine. Shortly after making the transition to film work, the band dissolved their partnership, and Wedren continued his dual career as both film composer and solo artist.

As a composer, Wedren has scored a host of popular feature films including Role Models, The School of Rock, Wet Hot American Summer, By The People: The Election of Barack Obama, Laurel Canyon, Reno 911!: Miami, Roger Dodger, The Baxter, and Boxers and Ballerinas. Wedren has also written and performed music for the televisions shows Reno 911!, Stella, The State, The Whitest Kids You Know, Dawson's Creek and Bones.

While continuing to grow creatively and commercially as a composer, Wedren has also developed a successful career as a solo artist. In 2005 he released his first solo album "Lapland" on the Team Love label, after which he toured supporting Foo Fighters, and Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs. Last month Craig released "Wand", his second, most ambitious album to date. To accompany the Wand album, Craig and director Tim Nackashi have created a series of 360-degree interactive videos who's engrossing, innovative technology continues Craig's forays into the vanguard of music and imagination.
Venue Information:
The Chapel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110
http://www.thechapelsf.com