Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
I have to say, when the band Ganser announced their three night residency at the Empty Bottle back in May, the news couldn't have come at a more opportune time to officially christen witnessing and appreciating live music again, especially in an intimate and iconic venue such as the Empty Bottle.
But the nagging questions up to the event: will everyone entering be vaccinated? How are the shows going to be socially distanced- chairs or no chairs? And the capacity limits? You can go on from there with the 2am questions while trying to get a good nights sleep, and thinking things through to the benefit of the band, the Empty Bottle, and to this review and the pictures.
You want to do right by all. You want to not be intrusive, get quality images, and also soak it all in, but with such a good band as Ganser- a band that's going places that's solid. A band that is fighting the fight through a pandemic and some unfortunate circumstances that have put them behind the eight ball on more than one occasion over the past year.
And yet--here we are--on night one of their three night residency. Everything is well and good. Easy going, with a protocol of soundcheck, the Empty Bottle staff going about their business as if it's business as usual; the past year as a blip on the radar and nothing more.
Make no mistake- witnessing live music again in an intimate venue such as the Bottle was so gratifying, even on a Thursday night, and Ganser did not disappoint. The doors opened at 7:30pm, and the show beginning at around 9:30pm.
The real buildup for the show for me was documenting Zoe- the Production Manager of the Bottle, writing out the Thursday night event on the front door chalkboard of the Bottle- and knowing that this show is official, and it's going to happen.
So it's Ganser for tonight's show, and only Ganser, with no opening acts.
Ganser played a little over an hour's set- 16 songs in total- highlighting last year's release of there 2nd album- "Just Look at that Sky". They opened with "Pyrrhic Victory", and going into "Self Service"- a one- two punch of '90's style art punk, with guitar jabs and shreds and sounds coming in waves from Charlie Landsman, sonic metronome beats from Brian Cundiff, restrained and sustained vocals with an added flair of synth and keyboard from Nadia Garofalo, and the much needed propulsive and complete bass grooves with additional vocal from Alicia Gaines.
Ganser performing live: rhythmically driven and focused, they are a band that commands your attention. They share in a powerful kind of communion that makes you wonder if things are going to go off the rails mid whichever song, and yet with all the ying and yangs that come from all four committed band members, everything stays intact and spot on, time and time again. Most of the songs performed live from "Just Look at That Sky" are performed with an edge, sharing with the audience some raw and basic emotions, but delivered in such a way that's kind of like a brush off, like their perceptions on viewing their world are magnified and you should pay attention, but also let's view some of this observance from the sidelines and document the craziness of living and surviving and all.
I can go on and on with the outward explanations, but that belittles the point about Ganser, and what they each individually bring to the table in constructing these songs they create, and quite identifiably going about them that makes them kind of unclassifiable.
It's not as easy as it sounds, I suppose, when crafting these songs from scratch.
Suffice it to say, that Ganser on record requires repeated listens. As for performing live- Ganser requires repeated viewing and attendance- and then some.
As for me- you can't get more cooler than that. You'll want to see a band like Ganser succeed, even in the more dire of times, and you'll keep coming back for more.