Review and videos by Joel Patterson
What is it that bands actually DO? I found myself pondering this question as I was close to drowning in a tsunami of delirious joy watching the Catbirds earlier this month at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock. You could look at them as “sound workers,” in the parlance of the day – environmental managers, creating a pulsating, vibration-rich climate, altering its molecular status slightly. They manipulate stringed amplification devices, or just pound away with a sure-footed maniacal frenzy on hollow containers. There is language with messages. There’s the visual – even these guys, no spring chickens, they shine bright lights on them, yes? And in the dimension of time, they create this roller-coastery pattern of noise and harmony that carries an irresistible flow of yearning and delight. What they do is connect us with something, a primitive, nearly biological sensation – what it is, or how to describe it, I have no idea!