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Music

Banyan @ Winston's Beach Club - San Diego, CA - July 25, 2014

At times it sounded like Miles Davis was sitting in with the Band of Gypsys, which made for quite a compelling sound.

Banyan
City: San Diego, CA
Venue: Winston's Beach Club
Date: 2014-07-25

A rare and special alignment in the galactic scheme of things calls for a similarly unique musical performance to mark the occasion and so it was with this gig in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood. July 25 marks “the Day Out of Time” in the Mayan calendar, akin to the Mayan New Year’s Eve according to late great Maya scholar/prophet Jose Arguelles. When this show from Stephen Perkins’ Banyan project was announced, it seemed like the type of synchronicity Arguelles long preached would manifest if humanity would move over to a 13-moon calendar.

“'The Day Out of Time' is the day to celebrate time is art. And since art is the basis of constructive peace, this day is also celebrated as International Peace through Culture Day,” said Arguelles’ Law of Time site of this year’s holiday (see LawofTime.org). “The Thirteen Moon New Year's day occurs on July 26. Why is that? This date was originally correlated to the conjunction of the sun with Sirius rising. The 13-moon calendar is not just a solar-lunar orbital measure, but is coded to galactic timing cycles, most notably the Sirius cycle. Through the 13-moon calendar, human consciousness can enter into galactic consciousness. Give the human a harmonious standard of measure and then a harmonious human will walk a harmonious mile. Harmony – that's what the day of time is all about!”

Peace and harmony were evident at Winston’s on this Friday night, and galactic consciousness seemed there for the taking as well. This was especially true with Perkins having pulled in Brian Jordan, former axeman for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, on guitar for the show. Jordan led many psychedelic trips in the Tiny Universe and Perkins is also well known for his cutting edge alt-psyche-rock excursions with Jane’s Addiction. The pairing therefore made for an intriguing combo here. Add in Dan Shulman from Garbage on bass and trumpeter Willie Waldman and Perkins had himself a dynamic quartet for the occasion.

The band rocked a vibrant high-energy sound throughout most of their two-hour set, led by Perkins’ hard-hitting attack. Here’s a guy who has played countless arena rock and even stadium gigs, yet he was still crushing the skins with the same fervor in the intimate confines of Winston's. If Perkins was driving the spaceship, then Jordan was navigating with his interstellar fretwork. He can funk it up with the best of them, but he can also dig into the Jimi Hendrix power trio arsenal for scintillating riffage that can melt face. Waldman was the free-space wildcard with his trumpet, alternating between jazzy and spacey vibes depending on the direction of the jam. At times it sounded like Miles Davis was sitting in with the Band of Gypsys, which made for quite a compelling sound.

This was most true on the spacey jams that recalled the reality-shifting alternate dimensions of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew era. Davis may even be responsible for launching the alternative rock genre with the fusion sound he pioneered in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, adding psychedelic guitar to his jazz bands to create a new sound. Perkins is clearly a fan and it was a treat to see him playing around with the fusion genre here.

The crowd was rather sparse in the beginning of the show but continued to grow throughout the set as passersby seemed to be drawn in by the sound that was blasting out of the club to send ripples through the space-time continuum. If the club had been downtown, it probably would have drawn a crowd many times larger, with much of San Diego’s attention focused downtown for Comic-Con International.

Perkins himself was said to be heading down after the show for a late night jam with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Exodus, but psychedelia such as this is best experienced in the laid back environs of Ocean Beach. Linkin Park had headlined Comic-Con’s MTV Fanfest the previous night right next to the Padres’ Petco Park and drew a large gathering, but the vibe seemed somewhat sanitized by all the corporate glitz. With Banyan tripping the light fantastic at Winstons, it seemed like that window to galactic consciousness was open and accessible.

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