Have you ever had one of those moments? One of those experiences that makes you realize that all people are people and we should celebrate the fact. Usually the feeling makes us want to go back to the 60’s, man and just live, man. “Back then was so much cooler, man,” some nostalgia thirsty friend will say. Well, it isn’t the 60’s anymore and people do tend to suck. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Sure, it’s easy to forget the commonality of human existence in this day and age, what with technology impeding on our humanly contact. I’ll send a text to my friend across the hall before knocking on his door.
But, that’s where Megafaun comes in. Perhaps part of it was the tiny, home basement-like atmosphere of London’s Slaughtered Lamb. Couches strewn about with folks sitting on them, knee against knee with people they’d never before met. Tables cluttered with pints and candles. Lamps providing dim illumination. But, we were ‘people’ in this room. We were not an audience, and we were not fans.
I’ll give some credit to the Lamb’s homey offerings, but really it was the North Carolina Trio’s utter disregard for the whole performer/audience barricade that made what happened last night so special. Why not march into the small space between couches and legs, strumming on banjos and guitars? Why not bring an old friend from high school up in the middle of a song to play trumpet? Why not be hilarious and respond to every comment made by someone in the room? These guys were funny, talented, and carried with them the sort of competence usually only characteristic of old timers.
Whether it sounded like it or not, they knew exactly what they were doing. “Close your eyes for a second, I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page,” guitarist, Brad Cook started upon making his way to the stage-area. “Now breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, we are going to imagine that this neon sign behind us is lit up, because it’s too loud to turn on.” After a few chuckles swept away any uneasy feelings, a lighthearted, kind vibe permeated the space. The band promptly jumped into one of their freak-out, sparse, free-jams, eventually evolving into the lushness of “Kaufman’s Ballad”.
Between beautiful folk harmonies and poppier-singalongs, Megafaun spent a lot of time instrumentally wandering. Electric banjo, acoustic guitar, textural drumming, and even a bow against a metal cymbal, crafted a weirded-out trip through the landscape of Americana. At times there was a great deal of silence between cymbal rushes, banjo harmonics, and funky basslines. They were building something. Slowly. At other moments warm voices atop full instrumentation filled the room. This was music to ‘experience,’ to be a part of.
After a set full of old-time folk harmonies coupled with psychedelic free-form, Megafaun made their way into the seating area for the second time of the night. Asking all to join in, they began to chant the lyrics to “Worried Mind” from their latest, Gather, Form, & Fly. “Come on ease your mind, oh come on ease your mind,” the place collectively sung with warmth. We were people there at the Slaughtered Lamb last night, even if we aren’t today. The chant went on for a while before banjoist Phil Cook finally let out a heartfelt,”Good job, guys,” concluding the event. Good job, indeed. Good job living.
So, say hi to the weird guy on the couch next to you. Smile at the cute girl across the way. Do some more conversing. Why? Because we are all people, dammit, and Megafaun knows it.
More pictures after the jump so click onward.