The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis wsg Andrew Rathbun Tri

Ages 18 and up
Monday, May 13
Show: 8pm
$20 / Day Of : $22

This is a 18 and over event with standing room only

Joe Lally was onstage, playing at full throttle, when he realized that his band had found a true kindred spirit. It was the fall of 2021 and the Messthetics — the instrumental trio of Lally on bass, his former Fugazi bandmate Brendan Canty on drums and guitarist Anthony Pirog — were at Brooklyn venue the Bell House, digging into their uptempo riff workout “Serpent Tongue.” Joining them for the piece was a special guest, acclaimed jazz saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, making only his second cameo with the group after a drop-in at another New York show back in 2019. That first meeting had been a success, but this time, Lewis’ presence sparked something new.

The Messthetics spent a few months in the fall of 2022 assembling and arranging material as a trio before meeting with Lewis for just one day of rehearsal prior to the recording in December. Even with minimal prep time, the material evolved considerably. Lewis added a lush, spiraling melody to the chorus section of “The Time Is the Place,” originally called “Meters Groove” in honor of the song’s Canty-written central riff, a crisp seven-beat strut. And Lewis was the key element that unlocked Lally’s “Railroad Tracks Home,” joining the bassist on the second pass through the theme and turning the subtle, swinging mood piece from something, in Lally’s words, “dirge-y and dark” to “a light-bringing thing.”

Judging by the enthusiastic response the Messthetics and their esteemed guest have received during more recent live meetings, listeners are similarly eager to hear what happens when brilliant players like these stretch themselves through collaboration.

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