UseTheVastness has played in a whole lot of different venues, some ordinary, some funky: recital hall, backyard, basement, club, workshop in an art gallery. This afternoon, they return to the place where I first saw them, back in May 2009: the tiny confines of Black Hand Coffee.
UseTheVastness (or “UTV”) has played in a whole lot of different venues, some ordinary, some funky: recital hall, backyard, basement, club, workshop in an art gallery. This afternoon, they return to the place where I first saw them, back in May 2009: the tiny confines of Black Hand Coffee.
That wasn’t the first time I ever heard music in that spot. Visiting trombonist Ed Neumeister and a then-young Ombak in April 2007 hold that distinction for me. But among the differences between that very first time seeing music at the coffee shop and my first experience with UTV in May two years later, the late afternoon sun shining through the front windows is by far the most extreme. There’s something about this kind of band playing on a Friday afternoon that just hits the spot. Right in between my midday high and Friday night second wind, it’s a subdued time of day for me, even though I’ll be surrounded by caffeinated beverages.
Last May, I recall being very relaxed, yet very engaged. UTV’s music had a meditative quality to it, and people came and went as they pleased, perhaps even brushing up against an active trombone slide or microphone stand as they did so. The layout of the shop doesn’t exactly lend itself to hosting bands that contain more than two musicians, but part of the fun is seeing a band that (at the time) contained a drummer, percussionist, trombonist, two saxophonists, trumpeter, and vocalist, make it work.
Fresh off their gig Wednesday night at The Camel, guitarist Paul Willson’s group Yellow Grass will also be playing, just like they did nearly a year ago. I regrettably had to miss them on that afternoon in order to drive downtown to where Matana Roberts would be playing with Glows in the Dark later in the evening. This time, maybe I’ll beat the sun at who can stay longer.
Photo: Marcus Tenney, Mary Lawrence Hicks, and Reggie Chapman of UTV at Black Hand Coffee, May 22, 2009