Southern exposure

By BARRY THOMPSON  |  January 7, 2009

This month Beat Circus are on a short tour with Larkin Grimm, who sings on another new Beat Circus track, "Petrified Man." Solo, she resonates like a low-tech version of Laurie Anderson. One that doesn't remind me of my creepy aunt.

Carpenter worries that his brainchild has undergone so many facelifts, the "Beat Circus" moniker will confuse audiences and become a commercial liability. I respectfully disagree: they've played avant-garde jazz, circus-cabaret, and traditional Southern music. It's been a virtual, y'know, circus of beats. Although the Circus grew from improvisational gestures, according to Carpenter, those early explorations "have nothing to do with where we've ended up." Instead, he's found his creative self back in the Deep South — the place where he started, well before he started.

BEAT CIRCUS + LARKIN GRIMM + LA STRADA | Middle East upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | January 15 at 9 pm | $9 | 617.864.EAST or mideastclub.com

Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article, the writer incorrectly identified Ron Caswell as Rob Caswell. The correction has been made above.

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