Chasing The Moon podcast: Ramon & Jessica premiere

We were invited by Dina a few months back to attend a Ramon and Jessica performance to be filmed for a podcast. It took place at Hyde Street Studio C, where bands like Green Day and Digital Underground have recorded albums. We were quite honored and terrified to be there, as we figured we’d destroy some equipment or make loud obnoxious noise that would ruin takes. Or that we’d be on camera. Fortunately, the former two didn’t happen. We got through recording the room levels (“silence” that would be EQed out) without giggling, and got to watch performances of four songs that will go on the next album.

The Chasing The Moon podcast is recorded on the night of a full moon, and a new episode is screened also on the night of a full moon. We returned to the former site of 12 Galaxies, now The Blue Macaw, to watch the premiere of Ramon and Jessica’s ep, as well as watch both Ramon and Jessica play their own material. The room wasn’t all that different, but the undertone of the weirdness that is Frank Chu was missing.

The night opened with Hélène Renaut, a singer/songwriter on guitar and uh…some other stringed instrument which she played on her lap. I don’t usually dig singer/songwriters on guitar and unfortunately, this gal wasn’t an exception. Eh well. Strangely though she didn’t put me to sleep.

Next up was Jesse, who handed out percussive noisemakers in a Hershey’s tin. I got a mini maraca, Dina got a rainmaker, and I think Marië and some other people got bells. Jesse had probably about 13 or so instruments/pieces of equipment total in order to make his music from his album recorded in New Mexico, Ojito, including a looper, a tape player and a tuba. As I told him after the show, “I wasn’t sure how you were going to pull this off…and I still don’t know how you pulled it off!” There was a pretty decent crowd in the venue for his set, and he said he had envisioned silence between the songs and to take that as they wanted, but thanked them for the applause. He deserved it because he was working hard up there (and quite sweaty afterward). The centerpiece of the album, “Creature” was equally brain-melting performed live as it is layered on the album.

Next up was Dina, who is usually backed by a trio of Erics, but that night only had her guitarist. She started out with a Beck cover a cappella and off mic in the front attachment of the stage, with the audience backing her up. After that, her songs seemed to be more moody and present with her vocal being a lot more bare and exposed than it is when drums and bass are present. In Your Galaxy made me sad that the place wasn’t called 12 Galaxies. Jesse played glock on it. It would have been an awesome night for Driving Is Fun, but The Appointment won out as the final song because the person it was about was in the audience.

An encircled countdown started soon on the screen above the stage after Dina’s set. We saw a rather dark version of the podcast which is available to view online; in the video file you can see my husband and other people in the audience, but at the show we could only see the performers. Also the online version includes an interview at the end. I didn’t care much for the editing of the first song, as there was a bit too much not-showing-faces, but the editing of the second song very much captures the whimsy of the band, which I hadn’t expected at all to see. The third song shows off the skilled fingerplay of the musicians. The fourth song is only partially heard in the credits. They sounded really good loud.

When it was over, Dina, Jesse, and Marië all got together on the center floor and hugged. We hastily bid them goodbye, missing the last band, Indianna Hale, because my husband had flown to in LA and back that same day for work, and was loopy. We’ll have to see them some other time. They made a really nice peacock flyer for the show. To go along with the bird theme, Jesse had put the R&J bird in a space suit for his flyer. And so ended our first time at The Blue Macaw.

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