ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
LIVE: Contact rules
Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004
By Colin J. Fleming
Saturday night at Stonehenge, a first date proceeds awkwardly on one of the
venue’s several leather couches as a few apathetic adults sip their pints
quietly at the bar. A disco ball is suspended in the middle of a neon rectangle
hovering above the band as they calmly set up their equipment. At this point
in the night, Contact’s presence is barely noticeable, but 10 minutes
into their first jam, a respectable number of people are filling up the bar — and
all their attention is on Contact.
The purely instrumental music instantly captivates the patrons of the mellow
club with its decadent, psychedelic vibe and tribal house jams combining into
an incredibly new and danceable sound. The unbelievably complex drum rhythms
create an intense percussive foundation that weaves around two swirling guitars
and a driving base. Brian is no beatnik on the congas either; he plays with
the fury of a fanatical shaman, adding an intense tribal element to the music.
Contact’s organic space funk even causes two rhythmless white kids to
succumb to the temptation of awkwardly contorting their bodies to the groovy
beats. The once nearly deserted bar is now filled with newly converted Contact
fans bobbing their heads to the music.
The frantic fluctuations of tempo are virtually epic in nature and are intensified
by the massive length of the songs. On average, Contact has a one-song, one-set
ratio and each jam usually lasts about 45 minutes — all completely uninterrupted.
After jamming straight for 20 minutes and working the crowd into a musical
frenzy, Contact parks their funky spaceship to refuel quickly. Someone in the
audience turns and whispers to a friend, “Dude, that was just their warm-up.”