by Brian Weidy
In my first ever visit to The Stone in Manhattan's East Village, I found myself lost; literally—I could not find the venue. Sure enough, though, on the corner of 2nd and Avenue C, a nondescript door was plainly marked with the lowercase lettering of "the stone." When they eventually let us in, we were treated to the venue's sparse decor: no more than 75 or so folding chairs and the band's instrument setup. For tonight's show, Yuka Honda brought together a collection of fantastic musicians to play a 45-minute set of mostly improvised music.
Before the show, I had asked the drummer, Miles Arntzen of EMEFE, Superhuman Happiness and Antibalas, what to expect from tonight, and his reply fit the tone perfectly: "To be honest I have no clue!! Something cool though." Once the band had begun to play, after some small technical glitches at the beginning, they slowly cooked up a foot-stomping rhythm. The keyboards and other electronics from Honda and Jared Samuel (also of Superhuman Happiness), as well as the snaking baselines from Sean Lennon, laid a nice foundation for Stuart Bogie's saxophone wails. About 15 minutes into this improvisation, the band hit a collective peak as they amplified in volume, with Arntzen's pounding bass drum and powerful hi-hat hits complimenting Bogie's horn stabs and Honda's specially made Yamaha kaossilator-esque device.