Slow Children at SERP House on Rugby Road

"I can't believe more people didn't leave"– M.C. Muffin.


 So maybe they've played only two shows. So maybe they were both at M.C. Muffin's frat house. So what? Slow Children aren't just the best band in Charlottesville. They're a force of nature– inevitable, unstoppable, profound.

"Kinda weird how we're all clumped together, isn't it?" said fellow Children connoisseur Theo. And so it was: all those in attendance at that tripartite living room of Ozymandian proportions huddled en masse on the stairs, circling the wagons against the wolves of sonic onslaught, battening down the hatches in the futile hope of not getting swept out by the storm.

In a town where even the bravest of the brave new bands are but an exercise in derivative sport, Slow Children are a welcome respite from the tyranny of folkjamgrasspseudoindieshitrock. The brainchild of M.C. Muffin and Sysop, who've been sighted as the non-singing, non-six-string-masturbatory half of the Belding Principle, they began as a recording project. Now they've gradually evolved into one of the most engaging and nuanced live shows I've had the pleasure of witnessing.

Eminently beatful but too complex to be danceable not that their fans are so much the dancing type Slow Children's multi-instrumental talents played prominently in their performance last Friday. Considering there are only two people on stage, they covered a lot of territory guitar, bass, live drums, sampled drums, trombone, keyboards, and a parade of gadgets that I never quite figured out.

Things get zesty when guests are invited to join in a little spoken word poetry here, a little jam-along there. They were joined by a vocalist at their first show, and while I missed her contribution to the texture this time around, it's clear that they don't need it.

I could enumerate the endless list of influence on their beat-kicking ethos, but most homage goes out to a beautiful little computer program called Reason, which supplies the canned half of their rhythmic undercurrents. Their instrumental choices, which involve as much crap (kids' toys, cell phones, you get the point) as legitimate instruments, might take a cue from Self's found-sound tomfoolery, and once you throw in the laptop-launched lunacy of Cex, you've got yourself a band... a band that throws their own milk-and-cookies intermission party and that lifts samples from Amadeus.

And if they're ever generous enough to invite the general public to one of their singular shindigs, you'd best be there.