SMEE greets Lawrentians with late-night concert

Joe Pfender

The Spontaneous Musical Experimental Education House hosted its first party of the year last Friday with a distinctively Lawrence show. Though the concert perhaps took something of a backseat to the party, it remained the orienting event of the evening. Consisting of the electronic explorations of two Lawrence seniors, Brian Teoh a.k.a. 8bit bEtty and Erik Schoster a.k.a. he can jog) and Schoster’s group Cedar A.V., out of Madison, the performance was a pleasant mix of uninhibited rocking out and thoughtful lyricism.
Schoster started out the evening with a short solo set, performing under the moniker “he can jog.” His ambidextrous manipulations of musical machines kept the relatively low-key, crossed-arm audience nodding their heads. On his own music, Schoster comments, “[since my album release] I’ve gotten more digital.” He went on to describe his early album, “New Ground Has Not Broken, Soil Last Week and Dirt Today,” as Brian Eno-inspired and analog, while his current work is “tending towards the ear-bleeding digital side.”
Teoh was up next with his own solo set as “8bit bEtty.” He cut things loose a bit with Nintendo-style renditions of what Teoh referred to as “cheesy pop music clichs.” Teoh got physical gave an active, kinesthetic performance, warming the crowd up for the final act.
By the time the third act, Schoster’s band Cedar A.V., began, the party had ripened and the folks were ready for something big. They got it, with the only multiple-person set of the night. Cedar, based in Madison, ended up being a happy medium between the chill musicality of he can jog and the unabashed splam of bEtty, with the confluence of three musical sensibilities in the highly experimental medium of electronic music. On guitar, vocals, and various, Nick Sanborn proved the most extroverted persona of the group. Nate Zabriskie played keyboard, accordion, and melodica in a mediating position between Sanborn and Schoster, who played his usual laptop and keyboard.
“It may have been the most fun I’ve had playing a show with Cedar,” said Schoster. “I was worried about the small space, but it made it really intimate-and people seemed to be feeling it, which makes it a billion times more fun to play.” And a billion is a big number. The show rocked, and its symbiosis with the party was satisfyingly complete.