Monday, March 7, 2011

Kohoutek coming to Sprout 3/14

Kohoutek coming to Sprout 3/14

Kohoutek has been an improv psych collective since 2003, when the group was cultivated at DC DIY spots 611 Florida Ave and the 7th Street Warehouse Nextdoor. The instrumental lineup is always a malleable beast, changing from show to show, tour to tour, always held down by the percussive king/Kohoutek mastermind Scott Verrastro. Kohoutek's always cosmic sets vary but include Verrastro’s wash of free-jazz bells and brushes leading into a heavy stomps of ultra-heady space rock with thick slow-burning psychedelic guitars bucking and echoing, typically backed with burnt crackling homemade electronic noise and field recordings from 804Noise collaborator Scott Alison. Kohoutek has other times enlisted the screaming saxophones of outsider-jazz misfits Paul Flaherty and Little Howlin' Wolf into their free improv freakout. Last summer Kohoutek melted downtown loft, Couch Heaven as the backing band for George Kinney and as a five-piece Kohoutek set before Kinney stepped in. Kinney is notable for being in the 1960's Texas psychedelic rockers GOLDEN DAWN, known for their cult-collectors LP 'Power Plant', whom Kohoutek is touring to Texas this March to play with again at South By Southwest. Kohoutek sometimes makes use of Richmonder Damian Languel ,of terrifying acoustic-electric performance ensemble Twilight Memories of the Three Suns, playing distorted noisy broken synth blasts or other times blowing free on a didgeridoo or channelling Roland Kirk, puffing through wooden panflutes. Once a Kohoutek set finds its plateau, it rides it out in the heady zone where Hawkwind finds Neu! so you hang stay high, only to come down to minimal percussion and a fried buzzing in the back of your skull.

Definitely brings to mind the free-psych contemporaries of Sonic Youth's SYR long playing instrumental records as well as the swirling heavy psych rock of White Hills, the urgent jazz-inspired electric improv of Nels Cline, the New England experimental collective Sunburned Hand of the Man and the manipulated deconstruction of 'Beaches and Canyons'-era Black Dice. Jam band types who have taken an heroic dose could probably appreciate the freeness and elevation of Kohoutek’s jams bordering on the most far out moments of “Dark Star” or whatever, but Kohoutek has no intention of campfire singalongs, bluegrass impersonation or anything resembling traditional song structure, its all mindfuck, have a seat if you’d like.

Kohoutek takes their name from freaked out 1973 LPs from both Sun Ra and Father Yod & The Spirit of '76. Kohoutek's Scott Verrastro has performed in collaborations with Sun Ra's saxophone player/current Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen and in 2008, Kohoutek played a week of East Coast shows opening for the touring lineup of Father Yod's Yahowa 13 band. Cosmic approval for head music. A handful of live recordings are available for free download at

Kohoutek plays at Sprout Organic Cafe & Market at 1 N. Morris (at Main St) on Monday March 14th, at 9:30 w/ Caves Caverns (100th show, Richmond psych-punk) and Frankzig (talented meditations for classical Spanish guitar conquest). All sets will be visually enhanced with Greg & Sara’s Cosmic Hum psychedelic oil projections.

J. Russell

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