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Concert review: Greg Ginn and the Royal We @Fulton 55, 6/16/2012
Greg Ginn played guitar for Black Flag (he was 99th on Rolling Stone's list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time). He started SST records, which is like THE independent record label. It released stuff from Black Flag and a slew of other indie staples (like The Minutemen, Husker Du, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. Hell, even Soundgarden had a SST release).
Ginn is by no means a household name. And of those who know the name, the majority probably don't have a clue about what he's up to these days. But he's got some cred. He's someone who has made a living (presumably) as a working musician for close to 40 years and is still out there doing it (he played Coachella this year).
And he comes to Fresno on a Saturday night and draws three people. That's my count. There were more if you count the opening act, the Djs, bartender and boucner. The Violet Lights closed their set with the typical "Thanks for coming out. Stick around for Greg Ginn."
"We're looking at you two."
Still, Ginn came on and played for just about an hour and if he was bothered by the turnout it didn't show.
Under the moniker The Royal We (it's a solo project, get it?), Ginn plays live guitar (and the theremin) over guitar/bass loops and electric drum beats, creating a sort of jazz/electronic noise rock. It's droney and hypnotic and at times edges on dissonant. Not, the most accessible music ever and that's obviously not the point. Eyes closed, Ginn sort of sways bodily to the rhythm, while a 40-inch TV screen plays synced-up video of silent film cuts. The whole thing comes off as very organic and real (though totally pre-programmed).
Does the fact I really liked it (and think others would have too) mean I am expanding my musical horizons? Next thing you know, I'll start liking jazz.