Monday, March 10, 2014

THE GREAT SOCIO - and Music as Transformation

The Great Socio.  Other words.  The end.  Ohhh wait, I will fill in the gaps too!  The Great Socio are a Philadelphia-based group that originated in the Lehigh Valley.  Their most peculiar feature is that they are a rock band with no guitar player.  This gives adequate room for the other instruments to breathe (like practicing Tai Chi on stage!).  What instruments?  I am glad that you asked, imaginary friend.  We have Monty on the synthesizer, Alberto on that vocal thing and trumpet, Craig on bass guitar, and some other dude on drums (his name is Drew).  In a serious manner, I would like to use TGS as an example of how music can act as transformation in order to change lives.  

Soooos, I walk into the World Cafe Live in Wilmington, Delaware last Friday and I ask the guy if any Socios were playing tonight.  “Why yes actually!  The GREAT one”  he replied.  Disbelieving in a spiritual connexion to coincidences, I said “One ticket please!”.  The event at hand was called the Homey Awards and this was the 8th annual gathering.  It seemed to be a means of recognizing semi-undiscovered regional talent.  I arrived rather late, and The Great Socio had already won best rock song for Modern Grip.  I thought to myself, what a liberal political structure this must be in order to allow a non-guitar band to win best rock song.  Happiness was for me in this thought.  They also won best Live Act shortly before taking the stage.  Talk about pressure!  G’luck!  

Let me rewind.  Although, I do not need your permission.  I’m an adult!  I have seen TGS perform 3 times prior to this night.  My reaction has always hovered around:  “These guys are talented and put a lot of effort into what they do, but I’m not in love with any of their songs.”  Bass Man Craig had told me that people adore them when they perform for large audiences in Philadelphia, and this resulted in having a good many die-hard fans.  But Craig, I mean, statistically there’s going to be several Bruce Willis fans in large groups of people.  He said I wasn’t getting the point.  I said he wasn’t.  We probably met in the middle with mutual confusion.  To sum up all the historical data, I thought TGS have always been fun, talented, and cool guys to hang out with.  I cannot honestly say I felt anything more than that.  Now, Music as Transformation begins.

Socio commenced.  It was like 2 independent exploding things had big enough explosions to reach each other and amplify into a larger exploding conglomerate of fire.  It was hot, to say the least.  Berto was moving his whole body with the music (Orenda approved!), but it did not appear to be choreographed.  That shit was natur-al!  Monty was rockin’ the fuck out on his wall of synths and making noises that Depeche Mode would give a thumbs up to.  Craig’s fingers and face were all like “I’m damn good at bass.”  No rhyme intended.  It was like seeing Optimus Prime as a vehicle and then later seeing him as a robot without observing the gradual change and just having to make a David Hume style Necessary Connexion.  Just for the record, I hate Transformers.  Not a joke.  The Great Socio earned their middle word with this new edifice that stared down on it’s spectators.  

There were 2 main factors that made me love their songs this night.  The first being the way Alberto enunciated his words.  So finite, so perfect, so on-point!  His vocal presentation made their music so damn enjoyable that I was smirking throughout.  Secondly, Monty’s synths were bangin’.  He had such a large number of pieces of gear linked together that I had no idea exactly how he synthesized each timbre.  The synthesizer has been my favorite instrument for as long as I have been a serious musician, and I can honestly say that this man did justice to my people (electronic music community).  Let us not discredit the contributions of Craig and Drew.  They played with incredible precision and gave off great energy as well.  The whole package was an easy sell.  

This was not the same band that I had experienced in the past.  It was illustrated perfectly when they played Criminals.  I never cared for this song when I had attended previous performances.  This round, I got chills.  Chilly chills that I liked, and I hate being cold!  They all delivered.  It was a new energy for a new collection of people.  Quick side note:  Berto threw down his top hat at one point and kicked it.  It flew over the entire audience near the stage and followed an immaculate trajectory to a girl sitting down.  It was executed to such perfection that I couldn’t tell if it was spontaneous or not.  It had to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed at a live show.  The audience was better for it.  We were transforming too.  Lastly I would just like to emphasize the music as transformation concept with two pictures of Monty that I stole from his Facebook (don’t hate me).  Monty - a normal looking dude to Monty - holy fuck that’s a shiny golden god of handsome!  Believe me now?  Catch the Great Socio on their current tour, and also please support their Kickstarter campaign (link below) if you like what they do.  There is only four days left to meet the goal, and they are well deserving.
Monty Before
Monty After
-S.O. out…   

Extra:  Craig is my ex-landlord.  According to Mitch Hedberg, Craig and I will probably build a go-cart in a dream one day.

The Great Socio on Facebook

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