Merchandise's David Vassalotti gives one of the In-Between Series' most riveting performances

by

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series
The In-Between Series covers a lot of stylistic ground. But, befitting a gallery serial focused on art music, most of it is experimental and obscure in nature, and indie rock isn’t usually on the menu. The latest chapter, however, went there and went big with a rare performance by David Vassaloti (Jan. 16, Gallery at Avalon Island). Though best known as a core member of Merchandise – the breakout Tampa band that’s now on legacy tastemaker label 4AD – he’s also a noted solo artist in his own right, currently releasing on notable Brooklyn indie imprint Wharf Cat Records. All that considered, he's possibly the most vogue name to be featured in the series so far.
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series
Vassalotti’s 2016 album Broken Rope, on which he played everything himself, was nice with some interesting flourishes. But, live, his music takes on a whole new level of mystique.
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series
Musically, it’s an experimental braid that intertwines noise, blues, rock & roll, indie rock, pop and even some non-Western threads in intriguing and fresh ways.
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series
Live, he works in loops and layers, stroking exquisite lines and fields of texture with his guitar. On the mic, he haunts through voice, harmonica and even beatboxing, casting it all in a lo-fi filter like Dirty Beaches working out some heavy personal shit.
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series
As a one-man show, it was exceptional in both its fullness and its originality, defying the usual conventions of the solo format. Though not many to this magnitude, other loop artists have managed to encompass the full compositional range of melody, rhythm, dimension, depth and texture. But few do it with as much uniqueness of vision as Vassalotti. And almost none execute with this sort of channeled and restless physicality.
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series... serenading a skull - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series... serenading a skull
His technical ingenuity, hounded soul and flair for drama were plied to some seriously moving effect. On the floor of a dark gallery, under the unflinching austerity of a single white studio lamp aimed straight at the audience, it all conspired in a heady, diving, gripping performance that was one of the most evocative episodes of the In-Between Series to date.
David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series - LIV JONSE
  • Liv Jonse
  • David Vassalotti at the In-Between Series
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


comment