BRATTLEBORO — Epsilon Spires - in the spirit of its tagline, "Rewarding the Curious" - will present an evening of interesting music for interesting people on Saturday, Sept. 23, when Daniel Higgs and Chris Weisman bring their respective multidisciplinary, genre-crossing performances to the Sanctuary of 190 Main St.
Perhaps best known as the singer and lyricist of the band Lungfish, Higgs, of Baltimore, has been observing and participating in various underground sub-scenes for over four decades, sharing poems, songs, and paintings. His early band Reptile House and his later side project The Pupils released albums on the Washington, D.C.–based punk/ hardcore/emo/post-hardcore label Dischord Records.
As Higgs crossed musical boundaries into experimental/noise, he also crossed international boundaries, joining seven Swedish musicians to form The Skull Defekts, which released 23 albums and a handful of singles and EPs in the 13 years the group was together.
During that time, Higgs also teamed up with Japanese musician and photographer Fumie Ishii to release four albums under the name Fountainsun. While recording with others, Higgs also began releasing his own albums under his name or one of his musical aliases, including Cone of Light and Minerva. Higgs's music has also appeared on such labels as Holy Mountain and Thrill Jockey.
Attendees can expect an unparalleled journey of evocative mythic imagery delivered with prophetic power from Higgs, who describes himself as "an interdimensional song-seamstress and corpse-dancer of the Mystic Crags."
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Also on the bill for the show is local multi-instrumentalist Chris Weisman.
Weisman's music is a kaleidoscope of vaulting melodies, wild poetry, overload harmony, melting bridges, and jazz solos. He is the author of Nonmusical Patterns and their Musical Uses (for Guitar in Standard Tuning), the inventor of inverted tuning, and a devoted practitioner of the Yamaha Venova, a recorder-like reed instrument.
Weisman has long been a part of the Brattleboro-based, independent, lo-fi music scene. He has shared albums and stages with Ruth Garbus (Happy Birthday), Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), and Zach Phillips (Blanche Blanche Blanche).
He recently returned from touring the West Coast with producer, composer, and musician Blake Mills. The two collaborated on songwriting for Mills's album Jelly Road, on the New Deal/Verve label. Weisman appeared in the video for the album's lead single, Skeleton Is Walking.
On his own, Weisman has self-released an astonishing number of solo albums since 2008: 50 in all, with 13 of them coming out in 2021. He has 46 credits on others' albums, primarily as a musician playing bass, guitar, drums, organ, piano, and woodwinds but also as a frequent writer and arranger.
For the evening's performance, Weisman will be joined by elie mcafee-hahn, a songwriter living in Brattleboro. A founding member of the record label and art collective People's Coalition of Tandy, mcafee-hahn is one-half of the trailblazing guitar duo, Blue Dish, with Julie Bodian. As a mixer, songwriter, singer, and musician playing piano, guitar, and recorder, mcafee-hahn's boatload of credits spans a wide berth and includes releases with Chris Weisman, Ruth Garbus, Ko T.C., Nick Bisceglia, Sam Walters, and many more.
Epsilon Spires' Sanctuary, with its excellent acoustics and fully-functioning Estey pipe organ, is a prime space for musical performance. Housed in the former First Baptist Church, the nonprofit was founded in 2019 to activate the venue and bring diverse cultural experiences to the southeastern Vermont region, highlighting underrepresented and international perspectives.
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Epsilon Spires presents Daniel Higgs and Chris Weisman, joined by elie mcafee-hahn, for an evening of music in the venue's 400-seat Sanctuary on Saturday, Sept. 23. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20; a limited number of sliding-scale tickets are available. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit epsilonspires.org.
Wendy M. Levy is a former reporter and columnist for this newspaper. The Commons' Deeper Dive column gives artists, arts organizations, and other nonprofits elbow room to write in first person and/or be unabashedly opinionated, passionate, and analytical about their own creative work and events.
This The Arts column by Wendy M. Levy was written for The Commons.