Premiere: Watch The Colloquial Orchestra’s First Performance In Five Years

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Premiere: Watch The Colloquial Orchestra’s First Performance In Five Years

This past March, the experimental improvisational troupe Colloquial Orchestra returned to the stage for the first time in five years for a special set at Bandito’s in Richmond, a set that was captured in both audio and video form. This Friday, May 24th, the proficient ensemble will be releasing both the digital album and film of this special performance, capturing all the extemporary splendor from The Colloquial Orchestra singular approach. We at The Auricular are proud to offer an exclusive premiere of the captivating Live At Bandito’s film, available to watch at the bottom of this article.

Featuring collective members Micah Barry, Elizabeth Owens, PJ Sykes, and Dave Watkins performing on drums, electronics, and homemade dulcitars (designed and built by Watkins himself), the thirty minute film showcases the collective’s improvisational theory, but also keenly highlights each member’s own unique approach to the music and the sublime way that approach fits into the larger vision of the performance. Shot by Alec Milton & Emmaline Terry and edited by PJ Sykes, the film decorates monochrome footage with vibrant effects and interlaced frames that follow the ebb and flow of the music, allowing the music to resonate in a visual field as well as sonic.

On the live album, the performance is broken down to seven tracks, named for key ingredients of the famed burrito lounge’s menu from the opening track “Refried Beans” to the closing track “Cilantro.” So far, the ensemble has released the anxious track “Sour Cream” ahead of the release, capturing 150 seconds of rousing and mesmeric experimentation.


“Sour Cream” offers a perfect snapshot of the whole performance, one that is soothing in its swirling instincts and inspiring in its sonic flair. For longtime fans of The Colloquial Orchestra, started by Watkins in 2009 “as an excuse to be in a band with his favorite RVA musicians,” Live At Bandito’s beautifully follows their past performances, all of which were previously captured on Cherub Record’s 2016 release Alive In Richmond. That release was adorned with a memorable tree graphic, and Live At Bandito’s offers another noticeable branch to that hardwood, still connected by a strong, rooted base but following its own inspiration and desire in the process.

You can watch the full Live At Bandito’s film below, and make sure to check out the live album via Cherub Record’s Bandcamp page when it is released this Friday, May 24th.


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