Artist: Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh
Songs: [two excerpts]
Recorded at Velvet Underground, May 27, 2016.
A slightly incongruous combination of performer, venue and crowd saw free sax legend Peter Brötzmann playing a midnight set at the recently-reopened Velvet Underground — probably something of a late night for his natural audience to be out and on their feet. It also contributed to some unwanted "rock show" dynamics, such as the dudes standing near the back of the crowd giving each other a loud play-by-play update for a good chunk of the set. But the updated sound system seemed pretty robust and the dynamic range of this duo moved into some blastingly-loud zones to cover that up. And though Brötzmann was probably the "name" draw here, it was really Heather Leigh's superb pedal steel work that gave the set most of its structure. Moving from driving distortion to doodlebugging drift, she created a context for Brötzmann to explore some machinegun blasts as well as mellower moments on sax and clarinet over an intense fifty minutes.