by Austin Segrest
Wearing a blue knit beanie and motorcycle jacket, Amos Pitsch grips the sticks not only upside-down, fat-end first, but choked up halfway or more. He hunches, scrunches, screws himself down, keeping everything close, keeping his strikes short, his ear near, keeping his symbols— hell, even his sweat—in. When he unfolds from behind the kit, he’s pretty big: long-limbed, horn-rimmed, wide-mouthed: a scruffy ginger with a raspy tenor. It’s like he learned to play as an adult on a kid set, or in very tight quarters. And keep it tight he does.
On the last song, mic difficulties (the bane of the singing drummer) steal a verse. Julia covers another verse from the keys. A quickly-replaced mic’s cord gets tangled, and for one beat he’s off. Big nostrils bored-out, he knocks the mic stand to the floor (a converted bowling alley) and drives out the ending, a beast who loves the cage, who demands, designs the intricacies of his confinement. There’s class rage, regional rage, intellectual rage pent up in that bent Houdini.
Austin Segrest teaches poetry at Lawrence University.