Southerland plays with TJ Dovebelly Ensemble and Mr. Marco's V7, both of which debut new records this weekend. What's strange, though, is that these bands and the artists they've invited to join in their celebrations put such an emphasis on live performance that it's disorienting to even consider recorded versions of their music. TJ Dovebelly is a jazzy ensemble that combines Southerland's horn playing and eight-track "tape jockeying" with improvised onstage mixing. Southerland ruins the tape in the process of putting on the shows, and the fleeting nature of his compositions is part of what's so compelling about the music.
Lil' Sluggers, the electronic duo that opens for TJ Dovebelly at Davey's on Saturday, is so attached to the notion of performance that it may never release a CD. In that respect, Jeff Lubow and Tim Scott -- whose robotic music sometimes makes listeners feel as though they're inside a video game -- differ from other DJs. "We're taking the idea of free-form jazz and bringing it into the realm of computers," says Lubow. He and Scott use software with a bank of rhythm and melody loops and samples they can combine in seemingly infinite ways based on audience reaction, which makes their shows in-the-moment experiences. And Lil' Sluggers shows are even more fleeting than TJ Dovebelly's, because Lubow is moving to San Francisco in August. Then, he says with a hint of melodrama, "it'll be over."
Dovebelly will be changing things up even more than usual on Saturday, welcoming old-school funk DJ Memphis Black onstage as a special guest scratcher. That sort of weirdness can't be captured on disc.