TR3 - The Left Hand of Darkness
TR3 - On This Mountain Born in Clouds

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Thursday, April 26, 2001
Mellow melodies
Reynolds shows acoustic genius

Reviewed By Jennifer Slivka
Collegian Staff Writer

Both floors of Crowbar, 420 E. College Ave. were comfortably packed with people eager to hear what guitarist Tim Reynolds had in store for them.

The stage went dark and one of Reynolds's crewmembers lit five chunky candles of varying heights in Gothic candleholders that reached to the floor, and stuck five sticks of soothing incense that smoldered underneath the candles. Otherwise the stage was bare.

As Reynolds strolled across the stage with guitar in hand, the crowd let out a hearty round of applause and shouts. Then it went quiet, and pretty much stayed that way.

Reynolds didn't sing, in fact he barely spoke throughout the entire performance. But he didn't need to.

The few words he did say however, spurred a lot of laughter from the crowd.

"Good evening. All of the songs tonight are about ham," Reynolds said like comedian Andy Kaufman.

The smoke-filled Crowbar felt more like a music recital at times than it did a rock concert. The crowd was mellow, tame and totally absorbed in what Reynolds was doing up on stage.

The first few songs Reynolds played were unadulterated acoustic ballads. His melodies seemed to float above the crowd, but were anything but dull and boring.

In the middle of a song, Reynolds would suddenly switch time signatures and break into an upbeat intricate melody that would elicit an occasional holler of approval from the audience.

Reynolds really started to demonstrate just how much talent he has when he switched guitars and began to sonically experiment and improvise with the use of various floor pedals and switches.

At one point, Reynolds made his guitar whine and echo throughout the Crowbar like whales singing in the ocean.

He scratched, hit and plucked the strings of his guitar to create sounds you normally wouldn't think could come from an acoustic guitar. During one song, Reynolds used the knuckles of his right hand to strum the guitar and clapped his left hand up and down the neck of the guitar to distort the sound.

Reynolds took full advantage of his floor pedals by distorting the melodies he would temporarily record through them. He also created a fuller sounding musical atmosphere by having a certain guitar rift repeat in the background while he played on top of it.

This technology also helped him out when he needed to wipe the sweat off of his face, take a drink of water or tune his guitar.

His set lists are often hard to pin point because he often fuses different songs together during his live performances, but he did play a good number of songs from his new album Nomadic Wavelength (2001), and his last acoustic album See Into Your Soul (2000).

Peter Prince, who in many ways was the exact opposite of Reynolds, opened the show. He was flamboyant and rigid, where Reynolds was laid back and fluid.

Prince followed the theme of solo acoustic guitar by playing one, but that was about it.

Unlike Reynolds's intricate and clean technique, Prince's strumming was clunky and thick. But in a weird way, it worked for him.

His voice reminded me a bit of Joe Cocker without the huskiness, and his attitude reminded me a bit of James Brown without the polish.

The majority of Prince's songs had a blues feeling to them. Although his vocals often reached the point of screaming, when he mellowed his voice during his folk ballads, the result was much more pleasing.

His lyrics told stories, and often his facial expressions and comments to the audience gave off the impression that he might not be right in the head, or had drank an entire pot of coffee before the show.