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In concert: RRIICCEE (Vincent Gallo) at Jammin' Java

By Aaron Leitko

vincent galloVincent Gallo (Courtesy of the artist)

Vincent Gallo has a knack for roiling up controversy. He's a celebrity dilettante of the first order -- a filmmaker, visual artist, actor, model, and motorcyclist -- whose work is often entertaining, if only because it irritates so many people. When his 2003 art flick "Brown Bunny" debuted at Cannes, critic Roger Ebert named it the worst film in the festival's history. Gallo sparked additional controversy by promoting the picture with a Sunset Boulevard billboard depicting the film's concluding, totally NSFW, love scene with actress Chloe Sevigny. James Franco, eat your heart out.

His music, on the other hand, is surprisingly smooth sailing. Monday night at Jammin Java, the multi-faceted artist performed a mellow one-hour set with RRIICCEE -- a kind of high-concept jam band that he formed and has toured irregularly since 2007.

It was hard to know what to expect. RRIICCEE's lineup and instrumentation changes frequently. The group apparently has no recorded work -- no albums, singles, MP3s, or even a bootleg YouTube clip to hint at its sound. No pictures, either. Signs posted outside the venue announced that, per the band's request, photographs were strictly verboten.

Which is too bad, really. It looked cool. The stage was bathed in soft red light and lined with a carefully curated array of vintage amplifiers, keyboards, bizzaro electronic effects. The group -- a trio including Gallo, Woody Jackson, and Nico Turner -- emerged one at a time to patter on drums, strum guitars, and noodle with various do-dads. Gallo, wearing a fringe-heavy motorcycle jacket, stationed himself off to the side and rarely looked directly at the audience.

The music, well, it wasn't terrible. The set was largely composed of super-subdued melodic improvisations -- a kind of free-form art-school elevator music with a mild debt to composer Ennio Morricone. No peaks, no valleys, no guitar solos, just ambience. Gallo dropped in one pre-composed song, "Yes, I'm Lonely," from his 2001 solo album "When." After 45 minutes, he seemed to sense the audience teetering on the edge of boredom and called it a night. No encore.

Gallo's talents don't come cheap. On his Web site, he sells his solo CDs for up to $150. His original artworks, in the thousands. For $50,000 per night, he even claims to be available as an escort. By that standard, RRIICCEE's Jammin' Java gig, at $17, was, if nothing else, an awesome bargain.

By Aaron Leitko  | November 9, 2010; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  Interview  | Tags:  Vincent Gallo  
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Next: In concert: Jonsi at 9:30 Club

Comments

Nice article. I thought it was a good show, but I wished it would have went a little longer. By the way, the song was not "Yes, I'm Lonely", it was "So Sad". Also, there is a bootleg of a show from '07. Pretty good too. Anyway, glad to see at least a few people showed up, although i doubt he'll be coming back.

Posted by: bd655321 | November 10, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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