When: Sat., Aug. 6 2011
Dylan Gilbert was in a rut. At age 23, with five solo albums already under his belt, he wanted a new direction for his music. Until last year, Gilbert had been tracking all of the vocals, guitar parts, and drums himself in his Charlotte home studio and taking his songs on tour in solo-acoustic form. Left to his own devices, he would belabor small details. Enter the Over Easy Breakfast Machine, Gilbert’s newly formed backing band consisting of longtime friends Zach Jordan and John Harrell III. “They’re great editors,” Gilbert says. They also helped steer him toward an ambitious new project: a rock opera, currently in the works involving more than 20 songs. Gilbert says you can hear everything from waltz rhythms to psychedelia to the pop bliss of Brian Wilson. There’s also a hint of Frank Zappa. “Frank Zappa, he does whatever he wants to do, right?” Gilbert says. The new idea in Gilbert’s songwriting life is “not to premeditate it as much.” The album’s plot is still getting tweaked, but at its core it is about ex-astronaut Jonah Collywobble, who leaves his wealthy, alcoholic girlfriend, Astrid Cuttlefish, to go “out on the road on this big binger.” Jonah joins forces with the Curious Cavalcade, a band of explorers who seek the Gateway to Heaven. The music is like nothing Gilbert has undertaken before; on the only track released so far, “I Was Young,” reverb-heavy falsetto vocals hover over a shape-shifting dancehall drumbeat and kinetic, angular rhythm guitar.