We launched Band Crush last December as a crucible of collaboration. The idea was to foster a creative process through which two mutually appreciative bands could cooperate with each other, celebrate each other and produce an unprecedented performance with each other. And hot damn did it work. When the True Loves and Industrial Revelation came together for the inaugural Band Crush, they blasted through almost three hours of original, body-moving soul/jazz/funk/rock n roll music, unleashing Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” as their grand finale and scoring one of the most elevated, energized artistic experiences of 2016.
IR and the True Loves proved the concept. This weekend, Will Jordan and Andrew Joslyn will expand it further.
Our first pairing was two bands known for blowing minds in the moment. Jordan and Joslyn, on the other hand, are writers’ musicians. Craftsmen. They’re both accomplished songwriters and lyricists and producers; they’re both studio rats who spend more time tinkering and experimenting with music, recording, editing and releasing it, than performing it in public. (The two actually met in the studio—the famed London Bridge in Shoreline—when Joslyn wrote the string part for one of Jordan’s songs a few years back.) Jordan occasionally writes songs for pop-radio hitmakers and big-budget film scores; Joslyn composes string parts for Macklemore and Kesha and classical and chamber-pop for film and television. (He’s also a badass violinist). Their talents are evident not only in their own work but in others’. They’re virtuosic as well as chameleonic. They’re capable of being more than themselves. And in this brand-new Band Crush format, that’s an exciting prospect.
I say brand-new but, as I’ve written previously, these two have collaborated before, and the results were stellar. “Plastic Heaven” is one of the standout songs on Joslyn’s solo debut album, a song about modern disillusionment, celebrity worship, the self-sustaining performative lie that is social media, life in a consumer culture—a whole lot of deep, deep subjects that we all deal with almost unconsciously on an everyday basis. Joslyn composed the music and penned the lyrics; Jordan sang the song and gave it meaning. And somehow, instead of sounding sad or broken-down, Jordan’s reading of the story is matter-of-fact. His voice conveys the resignation, desperation and, ultimately, the exhaustion that Joslyn intended, and it also implies the possibility of transcendence. If we can recognize this ouroboros and articulate it with such eloquence, such pathos, we can also evolve beyond it.
Jordan and Joslyn performed the song live at Joslyn’s album-release party at the Filson store earlier this year, complete with a full band and string section. Dressed to the nines, the massive ensemble conveyed all the pathos and drama the song demands.
That one song—Jordan and Joslyn together—was the highlight of the night. This Saturday we’ll be treated to an entire evening of songs by Jordan and Joslyn together. Jordan will perform a few of his songs manning an MPC drum machine accompanied by a backing vocalist, guitarist and drummer, then Joslyn will perform a few of his with a rhythm section and a string quartet, then they’ll blend it all together. Joslyn has penned new string arrangements for Jordan’s songs and Jordan will sing a few of Joslyn’s originals.
Joslyn describes the night as “a live experiment” and admits he’s both excited and terrified. Jordan says it’ll be like being present in the studio with the artists, bringing a process that usually happens invisibly into a public setting for the first time. He’s bringing his full stage setup—lights, lasers, fog machine—and ready to go big. Album favorites, some covers, some brand-new, never-heard-before material, some planned, some improvised. These two veterans have played together many times but never like this, and never again afterward. A singular moment of free expression: That’s what Band Crush is all about.