Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The ark that replenishes the earth

Several years ago now, (I can't remember how many), I saw an odd posting. Apparently, somehow, the band Des Ark was slated to play at the Black Cat in DC. I was not sure how this was possible, since I had heard that Aimee Argote and her band partner, Tim Herzog, had parted ways. Like many in DC who were not only personal friends of Aimee, but also avid fans of the band, we showed up eagerly waiting to see what was going to happen.

Memory may fail me, but, I believe, when I entered the space, there was only a chair with a small table next to it holding up a glass of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes (this is either before the smoking ban, or this part of the memory is completely false). Both were on the floor and not the stage.

Eventually Aimee emerged, quiet, but kind, and somberly rested herself in the chair. What came next was possibly one of the most emotive, expressive, and powerful performances that I have seen to this day. A long period of frustration and unhappiness was spilling aggressively out of a rigid body hunched over an acoustic guitar and out onto a mesmerized and electrified crowd.

After seeing several sets of this new incarnation of Des Ark, I was finally able to get a cdr demo, that contained music so sympathetic and emotional to me, that it was the soundtrack of choice for my grandmother's funeral.

Several years later still Aimee Argote, clearly the prime mover of the project, had once again amassed Des Ark into an ensemble. Now, with the ability to go from raucous electric to quiet acoustic, the group swelled in dynamism both in song composition and audience experience. It was in this time that Des Ark put out a split LP with Ben Davis, on Lovitt Records, called "Battle of the Beards", which is well worth putting your hands on.

Des Ark continue to put on amazing shows, and their set at SXSW was no exception. Anyone who understands how great this video is should check out their pages on myspace, Lovitt Records, Exotic Fever Records, and last.fm.

SXSW#23: Des Ark performing at the Lovitt Records showcase from Denman C Anderson on Vimeo.

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