January 22, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 62  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

LIVE: Contact rules

Contact
Stonehenge
London
Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004

By Colin J. Fleming
Gazette Staff

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.”

 

 

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