Tom Law is known for bringing new, different and daring music to Columbia. The one-time owner of Conundrum Music Hall in West Columbia, Law provided a much-loved space for musicians working on the fridges of mainstream music, and a haven for bands that were hard to place at regular venues.
Conundrum Music Hall, which closed in 2015, is now Conundrum Music Productions, and Law continues to bring new acts to Columbia. Shane Parish, coming to If Art Gallery on Friday, Nov. 10, is a particularly special one.
“When I first met (Shane), the band he was in at the time was one of the first bands that I ever booked, long before I opened Conundrum,” says Law, “They were a loud, abrasive, dissonant band.”
Law was “amazed to hear that there was such an innovative band so close by. Most bands of that style would be in the Northeast or in Chicago.”
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“I went out to see them and talk to them,” he continues, “I was just getting the concept of booking shows myself. I said, ‘I’ll find a place and I’ll bring you down here’. That’s how I got into promoting.”
Now, many years later, Shane Parish is returning to Columbia to promote a new solo album, “Undertaker Please Drive Slow” (Tzadick Records). A longtime resident of Asheville, North Carolina, Parish’s album draws on his Appalachian roots and old familiar classics, but remains heavily instrumental and experimental.
“This is acoustic, but it’s got an edge to it,” said Law. “It’s much less abrasive, much more influenced by country and folk style.”
He describes Parish as an artist with a wide range, “It’s really interesting to see the different influences he has. You never know what he’s gonna be coming up with next.”
The opening act is also worth catching if you appreciate experimental music. The show will begin with a short electroacoustic improv by Greg Stuart and Tom Law in their first performance together.
Stuart is a percussionist whose work draws upon a mixture of music from the experimental tradition, Wandelweiser (a minimalist style of music), improvisation and electronics.
Law, who has been composing mainly on laptop recently, describes his own sound as “always changing.”
“Most of what I’ve done is solo performing,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working with Greg. It’s a lot more fun to have someone to play off of, bounce ideas back and forth while you’re playing.”
Law said Stuart will perform the acoustic part, while he manages the electro portion of their performance – but they’re keeping plans loose: “It may be a blend, and it may all change.”
For interested music lovers, they’ll just have to venture to the show and find out.
If you go
Shane Parish with Greg Stuart and Tom Law
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10. Doors open at 8 p.m.
WHERE: if Art Gallery, 1223 Lincoln St.
TICKETS: $10 at the door, cash only.
WORTH NOTING: BYOB.