If you heard about an 86-year-old musician playing at the Aardvark, chances are you’d picture some old man pickin’ on a gee-tar, thumbing through well-worn country chords or hoary, pentatonic rockabilly riffs from the bygone days of nudie suits – or at least Juice Newton. Gil Trythall is 86, and he is indeed best known for a country album, but that’s where the octogenarian assumptions end. For one thing, Trythall is a composer. For another, the Knoxville, Tenn. native makes his compositions on synthesizers – that country album, released in 1972, is called Country Moog: Switched on Nashville.
Trythall is once again the centerpiece of an art-minded concert in Fort Worth curated by Nathan Brown. Last year, Brown put together an event at Shipping & Receiving to showcase Trythall’s electronic music and video art. Gimme a Break! copped its name from a ’70s sitcom about an African-American housekeeper. That might sound a little ersatz, so Brown explains it thusly:
“I guess I had [Gimme a Break! star] Nell Carter on my mind, and we were doing something ‘Diff’rent,’ ” Brown said. “The post-event fervor plan was to do other similar events in other cities, with ‘Diff’rent’ ’70s sitcom titles – Good Times in Austin, Diff’rent Strokes in Dallas,” and so on.
In my mind, doing one in Arlington called A Different World makes a lot of sense, because I think Arlington might as well function as its own weird planet. But for 2017, the event is at the Aardvark (2905 W Berry St, 817-926-7814) on Friday. Called What’s Happening Berry Street?, this year’s sitcom-referencing, Trythall-showcasing event also includes six other acts, including Brown’s own TV-theme-inspired project, Programme. He said Trythall has new music, and that it’s of a political nature, one that lashes out at the current administration.
“A Trump-opera, he calls it,” said Brown of Trythall’s new composition, which features vocals by Dallas’ Lily Taylor. “Lily will be wearing a suit with her face painted orange.”
Gil Trythall’s electronic political opera is in the middle of a lineup that features both rock bands and electronic acts, headlined by Duell and including Son of Stan (for which I’ll be playing bass), Kit Bashes, Programme, The Cush, The Fibs, and Vogue Machine. The rock bands will perform on the Aardvark’s stage, and the electronic acts will set up on tables at floor level.
“I hadn’t been [to the Aardvark] in 15 years,” he said. Brown assumed that “there was space along the north wall. I went in and saw that there are a bunch of hightops bolted down and was like ‘damn’ at first, then ‘cool’! Every electro group gets their own table, and it will hopefully look like a convention booth setup.”