Flocked by instruments and friends, Rich Aucoin set the HPX standards high on Wednesday night
One by one they shuffled out under the sultry, sweeping and murky lights to say “hi” and sonically eulogize our lives and his. An enigmatic enlistment of one-off orations by sweet and succinct balladeers, getting a word in edgewise before the inevitable. After being thoroughly wished well by friends, he finally skipped onto the stage, setting the crowd up as he set out for a long night; he warned us it would explode.
He called our names and let us in on the best kept noise, nursing the words into our mouths and marveling at the resulting voices. He talked us through it and smiles crept up everywhere, we all knew we were obliged to hang on, hanging on his every word.
Like an avalanche, the walls around us came alive, throwing back a swarm of enamoured voices… walls of guitars and harmonies poured from the ceilings, strings and sitars sat waiting in the wings. Littered with an ever evolving mass of musicians, anywhere from 10 to 25 at a given point, the entire church became the stage.
He flew from side to side, from piano to tiny casio keyboard; he ducked out of sight, flew off the stage and re-emerged moments later from the top, diving out of a pulpit and leading a charge of rushing horns.
Guests flooded on and off the stage, a cyclical flux of followers, just trying to tie down some of his frenetic outpouring. Klarka Weinwurm, Ruth Minnikin, Jon McKiel and everyone in-between enveloping Rich and the stage. A massive and hoarse bellow of drums, galloping and groping all the wooden surface, clinging on as they were cast off to bounce and flicker through the restless expanse.
“I wish I was recording this,” he gushed. “Oh shit, I am recording this,” he laughed.
Swaying, swelling and collapsing on one-another, lines blurred and audience and band became inseparable; a winding, angelic choir of call and response, harmonies intertwining the stark, subtle spray of old and ecclectic film clips, cluttering the walls behind us.
“We’re all dying to live,” he kept screaming; and we screamed it back, waiting for it all to fall apart at any minute, clutching the banisters and peering as hard as we could. In the end, with a belligerent haze of crescendo, it fell down around us like a gigantic group hug.