Stockton

Local band Novacain celebrates 16 years

In Entertainment on November 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

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(From L-R) Middagh Goodwin, Jim Ricks, Andrew Hemans, and Dan Tounian rounded out Novacain’s most-recent fluctuating lineup

By Adam Messinger

This past Friday, the Plea for Peace Center featured a headlining band that has been playing music in the 209 for 16 years. Novacain, fronted by Plea for Peace curator Middagh Goodwin, is a freeflow noise band.

Goodwin himself described it to me as “90% music, 10% performance art”. I realized as he came out into the crowd and danced with each individual member that this would never be seen again. Goodwin made it clear that he was the only consistent member of Novacain.  Just like its music, its members ebb and flow with people filling in on various instruments for each show.  For this particular show he had “Jumpin” Jim Ricks on keys, Andrew Hemans on drums, and Dan Tounian on bass.  With each song they created a new cacophony of music.  They would all play their respective instruments as Goodwin switched between his saxophone, trumpet, and slinkeymaphone.

There were times in the show where he would simply conduct them on speed or rhythm.  During one particular part Goodwin conducted everyone to stop the song, and then proceeded to have individual conversations with each band member to see if they were up for going “possum crazy”.  After their mutual decision was made, Goodwin screamed into the microphone as each member began rapidly whaling on their instrument.

I looked around the room during this insanity and realized only one thing was lacking: there were far too few people in the room.  Our small group drank in the show, but it wasn’t going to be the water cooler conversation the next day at work.  I wanted to talk with my friends about this.  I want an everyday Stocktonian to know what I’m talking about when I refer to “The Novacain show at Plea for Peace”.

Few places in Stockton host live music.  There is Stockton Arena for the marquee names, The Bob Hope Theater for the big names, and The Plea for Peace for names that have developed or are developing a cult following.  While the Arena, and the Bob Hope have names once or twice a month, Plea for Peace manages to have a variety of shows every night.

We need to promote our homegrown talent to our friends.  Word of mouth is all we have, and as that grows, the chances of keeping around venues like Plea for Peace increase.

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