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2 Foot Yard with The Blow (Khaela Maricich):
An evening of genre-bending art/pop music

April 21, 2006

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Tuesday, April 25
    2 Foot Yard
    By Juliette Brush-Hoover

    After listening to the 2 Foot Yard song clips on OtB's site the morning of the show, I was sufficiently wowed to purchase the entire album from iTunes just minutes later. As I had hoped, the performance was chock-full of Carla Kihlstedt's jaw-dropping virtuosic violin-playing (she plays like a goddamn rock star) and appealing, earthy vocals, as showcased on the album, which was recorded without the other two musicians who now make up the trio. Live, I was not prepared for the amazing synchronicity evident between the three players, nor their collective musicianship. Ms. Kihlstedt's talents are perfectly complemented by Marika Hughes and Shahzad Ismaily's playing. One of the show's highlights was the the performance of "50 Miles", which the band said they discovered on an old Carter Family album. The song, which also appears on the 2 Foot Yard album, was infinitely more beautiful and moving with Marika's cello and harmonies and Shahzad's haunting and inventive percussion. I'm looking forward to their first collaborative recording effort, scheduled to happen at the end of 2006.

    To be honest, I'm still unsure how I felt about Khaela Maricich of The Blow. I remember thinking in the middle of the set that her vocal style and lyrics reminded me of a Solex meets Suzanne Vega meets Peaches kind of thing... Though I like all of these ladies individually, I'm not sure if it's ultimately a good blending. Maybe it was just an atypical night for her - Khaela performed sans the other half of her duo, which meant that her performance was almost a cappela, save the incredibly minimal electronic bleeps and bloops that accompanied each song, and primitive oval projections behind her. I'm sure she was painfully aware that there was nothing to distract the audience from watching her -- every moment, every movement scrutinized by us for the entire hour she was up on stage. She did entertain and engage the audience; but it was an exercise in self-consciousness that I found difficult to watch at times. Maybe it's just my issue... I actually slipped outside for a few minutes during her set, so discombobulated was I by her performance (although I admit that part of my motivation for leaving was so I didn't have to participate in the audience-made music video, which John talks more about in his blog entry. What can I say? I'm a crank.) Despite this, I will say that Khaela has a lovely voice, an ear for interesting melodies, witty lyrics and huge cojones for getting up there and performing solo. Kudos to her.

    posted by tania @ 10:04 am | Permanent link

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Monday, April 24
    2 FOOT YARD: 1 BECOMES 3 (Professional Blog Entry)
    By John Osebold

    Originally, 2 Foot Yard served only as the title of Carla Kihlstedt’s solo album, highlighting her proficiencies as a composer, lyricist, performer, and producer. The album, released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, features Ms. Kihlstedt primarily on violin and vocals (though she also sports a gaggle of instruments from viola to zither to melodica), Marika Hughes on cello, and Shahzad Ismaily on drums. The trio’s chemistry and effortless ability to give life to Kihlstedt’s compositions led to the accidental creation of a new band and the adoption of 2 Foot Yard as their name. On their debut tour, which brought them to On the Boards last Friday, it was apparent that 2 Foot Yard had evolved from Carla Kihlstedt’s solo project to a powerful trio capable of great musical heights and delicious mischief.

    It must be noted that each of the three musicians are deeply interwoven into Bay Area, as well as national, music circles. Bypassing the long list of credentials and band memberships each one possesses, we can be sure they are no strangers to ensemble work, further proved by their execution on stage: The new material – presumably from their forthcoming sophomore recording – prominently featured musical contributions from all three band members, giving the impression that they are now writing songs together as a truly equal partnership…and the partnership works. With theatrical endeavors, overwhelming dreamscapes, and solid musical structures, one’s ears and eyes are drawn to each of the three, as well as to the trio as a whole. (2 Foot Yard brought up a guest musician on musical saw, whose name I didn’t catch, but who only added to the sonic web and the sense of artistic community.) Credit must be given to Ms. Kihlstedt, who could have chosen to continue 2 Foot Yard as a ship that she alone steers, but the evening found her fiery violin playing at times brought down to rhythmic subtlety in order to focus on Ms. Hughes’ equally beautiful voice and cello, and Mr. Ismaily’s potently poetic drumming and rhythm guitar. One gets the sense that these three enjoy each other’s musicianship immensely and want ultimately to serve the music at hand instead of coddle the spotlight. Their charming stage banter, though put down by themselves, only added to the notion of their mesmerizing unity.

    The ice of the evening was broken by Portland’s The Blow, represented by Khaela Maricich. Ms. Maricich’s understated set was comprised of vocals conversationally describing self-righteous men from her workplace [for example] over pre-recorded beats, simple and subtle video projections, and a winning music video created in real time by a giggling audience passing colorful pieces of construction paper from left to right. The Blow brought to mind a wave of Bedroom Art in the vein of Miranda July. These two acts, though wonderful in their own rights, were mismatched in their aesthetic, and so seemed to split the audience’s preference: One half for charmingly awkward performance art with an emphasis on presentation, the other for musical prowess based on scholarly musicianship and group dynamic. Then again, this is On the Boards, and perhaps the challenge of adjoining the two sets in the same evening enjoyed more success than was evident on the surface level.

    posted by bobcros @ 1:29 pm | Permanent link

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    2 FOOT YARD: OH, BABY (Unprofessional Blog Entry)
    By John Osebold

    So, who’s a fan of 2 Foot Yard? Me. Ever since I first heard Carla play some of these songs by herself in 2003, I thought: “Damn.” I bought the album, listened to it a lot, and proceeded to royally geek-research the hell out of related bands with personnel tie-ins, like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat Trio, and Charming Hostess. I had already recognized Carla and Marika’s names because they played strings on Mr. Bungle’s California. And Carla played on Tom Waits’ Alice. Oh, and I saw Shahzad play three times in a short period of time, each time with a different band and on different instruments. Anyway, yeah...what was I...oh yeah.

    Did I like the performance? Is Pope John Paul dead? Yes! Carla and Marika and Shahzad played the pants off us, and I’m all, “Damn, I’m glad I got these boxers, and I don’t mind if anyone sees ‘em.” I heard some people walked out during the encore, and I’m like, “What?! No, no, no. What?!” They missed some serious fire and brimstone conjured up by the 2FY. I mean, c’mon! The whole night, they were cooking in the kitchen with EVERYTHING from razors to soft bunnies. OK, everything they did was theatrical and innovative, and they did it all without a special light show, electronics, or anything else to distract. (This worked differently for Khaela of The Blow, who used it supremely to her advantage.) And I was happy to hear Marika sing. I was happy to hear them joke about cities they played in which I can’t spell but I can say them. And the first song of the evening, Carla played these arpeggios...too term-y? Uh...she played real fast. They have grown as a group. Real tight.

    Oh, and The Blow was the opener. When Khaela started to relax and dance during her songs, it was on. I don’t know if I’d put them on a bill together...but since it was OtB, I guess that’s okay...or maybe that was the point...or...man...I’m hungry.

    posted by bobcros @ 1:24 pm | Permanent link

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    Blogging Delay
    By Tania

    Due to our bloggers' schedules, there's been a delay in posting reviews. Expect things to begin showing up today, Monday, April 24. Check back soon!

    posted by tania @ 11:18 am | Permanent link

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Thursday, April 20


Who better to write about what happens at On the Boards than the people who support and attend our performances? Making art is part of a dialogue between artist and audience, and so we've created Blog the Boards... More

About 2 Foot Yard
More about 2 Foot Yard here... More

About our bloggers...
Thanks to our wonderful bloggers: Juliette Brush-Hoover, Elizabeth Conner, and John Osebold! More

2 Foot Yard Links

Listen to a short audio interview with 2 Foot Yard

Listen to an excerpt from "Peel" by 2 Foot Yard