Baghouse and The Sanctuary

By on 3 August, 2015 in Fun, Kate and Stephen with 2 Comments

IMG_4139We’ve written on this blog twice before about the interesting sonic experiments of local guitarist Jeff McLeod. The first time was a 2012 writeup of his album Under Dim Self, which we called “vibrational healing by way of some kind of Brian Eno workshop.” Over a year later, we reviewed the album “Scum Commodities” from his band No. We not only liked both albums, we drove to Birmingham to see No perform live at Secret Stages.

But it’s been a while since we’ve heard from our local sound architect, and it has also been quite some time since we’ve been out to check out the Montgomery live music scene. That all changed last weekend when we went to The Sanctuary (432 S. Goldthwaite) to see McLeod perform in his newly-reformed project, Baghouse.

First, a word on The Sanctuary. The former church has been operated for a while as a non-profit community space, and is now being run by Helicity Montgomery as “a safe place for art.” This means that our city’s occasionally-elusive Helicity group has a headquarters of sorts, which is periodically hosting great live music shows. We have been meaning to check these out over the last few months, but haven’t been able to make it until now. If you like the idea of Montgomery having a cool independently-run space for music, including experimental and traveling acts, click here and help them patch up a broken window where some jerk smashed it to rob the place. This is one of those great examples where a small donation could really help a local non-profit stay afloat.

Now, a word on the show: It was really fun. For a mere $5 per head, we were able to see four bands bringing loud and (mostly) interesting rock music to our city. Concerned that your only local music options are tepid singer-songwriter types? Tired of DJs and pre-packaged club nights? Interested in catching a band while they’re hungry and committed to their artistic vision? You need to get in on this. The scene is small, and not every performer is accessible. Some are still working out the kinks, as part of the inevitable process of learning how to make art in front of an audience. But the bottom line is that it’s fun, affordable and it’s important to get out there and support local musicians. Turn off your stupid TV. Go meet some people.

McLeod recently described his band as a “space-rock/noise/drone trio.” They were by far the best act of the evening, although some of the other bands showed some potential. It was an all-ages show, and I’m guessing that one of the earlier acts may have been in high school. But Baghouse is really pretty polished, in the best sense of that term. Although McLeod is from here, the other two members are from Athens, meaning that they are based in a legitimately world-class music scene. If a band is from Nashville, Austin or Athens, they automatically have a greater understanding of just how competitive a music scene can be. And that competition can push bands to reach higher, and step further out and take more risks.

Bahouse’s bassist, Jeff Rieter, describes their efforts as “folding space,” producing “rhythmic experimental music,” and says that the band members “improvise soundscapes that range from ambient post rock to full on doom.”

Improvised soundscapes aren’t for everyone, but our takeaway was that Baghouse makes cool music. And it’s fun to watch them play off of each other. But rather than convince you that Baghouse is good, you can judge for yourself. Here’s the first part of the show we attended:

And if you liked that, the second part is here.

Your opinions will likely vary, but the point is that there’s a great place to see music for a very low cost. and there’s a whole Montgomery music scene out there. And you’ll never know about it unless you get out and check it out.
Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.


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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Joe says:

    Vegan Deviled Egg put this event together and it is the seventh show they have organized and held at The Sanctuary.

    • Stephen says:

      I have no idea what Vegan Deviled Egg is, but I’m glad they are putting on shows. Tell VDE to add us to their mailing list and let us know when the next shows are.

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