Chris Mandra, guitarist for local psych/trance rockers Telesma, sounds pretty awed to be playing tomorrow's Zappa fest. "We're honored to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Frank Zappa," says Mandra. "As a lion of independent music and free thought he showed through words and deeds what was possible as a composer, performer, humorist, and advocate for freedom of expression and the First Amendment. Among other things, Zappa showed how much complicated music played by dedicated, competent musicians can groove as hard as anything. We're thrilled to have been asked to play the Zappa plays Zappa afterparty and are glad to be able to help out in any way we can."
Mandra and his bandmates know a thing or two about being dedicated musicians, grooving hard, and expressing themselves freely. If you've seen Telesma's Hearing Visions: Live concert DVD, you know what I mean. Recorded at Sonar in late 2008, it's an ambitious concoction of ecstatic, Eastern-tinged, trance rock with belly dancers, body artists, and painters incorporated into the performance. The painters are visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey—you've likely seen his work at AVAM—and they each create a new piece, onstage, as the band plays and the music swirls around them. It's especially satisfying to watch the progress of Alex's painting, from blank canvas to its completion as a vibrant, electrifying artwork.
Tomorrow's Zappa afterparty starts at 7 pm at the Creative Alliance. Big in Japan, Indra Lazul, and DJ El Suprimo are also on the bill.