There's something in a young artist that likes banging on things, preferably on stage with a large group of friends, and there's a long tradition of neo-tribal post-art-school percuss-O-rama in Los Angeles. Gutbucket, the newest art-bangers, put a hip-hop twist on the genre at LACE on Friday, occasionally sounding more like a Public Enemy backing track than like the more traditional Gary Glitter-meets-"Ummagumma" treatment.
Above the splendid racket of a half-dozen guys pounding congas, oil drums, trap-sets and whatever, trumpeter Michael Whitmore blew the kind of breathy, dour solos that Ornette Coleman plays when he picks up a trumpet, and a fellow named Chrono muttered Beat-ish groove rhymes. Local painter Anthony Ausgang scratched along on turntables, Jeff Kaufman pinned down the meandering beats with coherently funky bass riffs and leader Vinzula Kara wailed stylishly on melodica.
At times the jams got repetitive, and this sort of thing is invariably more fun to play in than to listen to. Still, with blurry slides flashing past in the background and a wandering video cameraman seemingly as much a part of the band as the percussionist, Gutbucket was a low-budget, total-media assault.