Note: The following was written by Trevor Davis. He attended Saturday night’s show and wanted to write a little about what he saw. If anyone else is out there and would like to write about an event we produce from an attendee’s perspective in the future, please reach out and let us know – we encourage it! For now, though, here’s Trevor’s take on Saturday night.
If you like art, music, or entertainment and haven’t had the chance to experience 200 East, do yourself a big favor and catch the next event. On August 8, I walked into the old Frederick News-Post building and immediately understood the allure. Large murals painted by various local artists covered the walls. Local painter, Tom Kemp, was set up in the back of the room painting on canvas. Flying Dog was serving their delicious craft beer at a bar in the corner while a small kiosk served kale chips, tomatoes, and vegetarian chili. You would never know this venue is normally a vacant building. Fans packed into lines at the merch tables, played cornhole, and danced to the enchanting rhythms emitting from the stage. Local band Kabob-O-Taj opened the evening, followed by performances by spaced-out local group Time Columns and headliner spirit band Giraffes? Giraffes!.
I had an opportunity to sit down around a bonfire and spend time with Giraffes? Giraffes! as well as Time Columns after the show over some sweet Flying Dog nectar to ask them a few questions.
You might not expect a national touring band that have been together for a decade, released multiple albums, and established an almost-cult fan-base like Giraffes? Giraffes! to be so modest. But when I asked how it felt to arrive in a new city they had never played before — where fans were wearing giraffe costumes — drummer Ken Topham smiled and answered, “I still can’t believe it sometimes.”
Guitarist Joe Andreoli quickly gave the credit to Time Columns. “Their promo vids all week is what created the hype,” he said.
What’s even more unbelievable is the energy Andreoli and Topham exude on stage and the effort that goes into making it all happen off stage. The two have an intimate and fun chemistry that could only come from hours and hours of practice and years of touring, but they also take care of their own bookings and promotion, as well as record themselves. These guys do it all.
This DIY attitude is something that Time Columns has adopted and made work for them over the years. The group’s guitarist, Kenny Eaton, owns and operates a recording studio, Mystery Ton Studios, where the band records most of their material. Time Columns’ wild drummer, Jordan Miller, also owns a recording studio and with his professional videographer skills has been able to create some impressive music videos for the band. Throw in their perfectionist bassist, Stefan, along with all three of the group’s members’ ability to pitch in to book shows, give interviews, and receive free Chipotle on the road, and you have yourself what they like to call a math rock band.
So, I asked the question, “Wait. What is math rock?” After some confused looks between Andreoli and Topham — and multiple responses about overlapping genres of post rock, prog rock, and experimental rock — I found that the answer wasn’t easy.
Miller chimed in: “It has to do with syncopated drum beats and all the jerky time signature changes like doing math. Like progressive rock with more punk attitude thrown in.”
“Math rock is a subgenre of progressive rock — bands like King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra — that is mostly instrumental and rhythmically complex … most non-math rock songs stick to 4/4, 3/4 or 6/8 meters,” Eaton explained.
Giraffes? Giraffes! were on their ninth day of a 10-day tour when they played the 200 East Art Haus, and I wanted to know more about being on the road and the ritzy hotels they stayed at every night.
Topham informed me that they “never stay in hotels or motels. I think we’ve stayed in two since 2005.”
So, what do they do? They couch surf. Joe excitedly revealed a story from a few nights prior in Chicago where they had the chance to stay at a fan’s place. After being directed to an abandoned and empty building for the evening, Andreoli said, “I had to sleep with my knife in my hand all night.”
On their last day, before heading up to their final show in Pennsylvania, Giraffes? Giraffes! recorded two videos at Mystery Ton Studios, so look for that release in the near future. I also recommend keeping your eyes peeled for the talent in Frederick’s continuously expanding music and art scene.