"FAST FINGERS AND FLYING NINJAS"
Excerpt from a Derek Webb concert review
July 18, 2003
written by David Wilson
After a short wait, the house lights dimmed and Trace Bundy, the opening act, took the stage.
Now, before hand, I had no idea who I was about to see, but I had heard something about him playing finger style guitar. As a result, I was expecting nice little arrangements of "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" and "Oh, Susanna!" This wasn't the case.
After briefly introducing himself, Trace began to play guitar in ways I have never seen before: Rapid strumming with single notes still ringing clearly, lightning fast harmonics, passages played entirely by hammering on and pulling off, slapped strings, and just about every other special technique you can think of, all executed with outstanding control. In fact, if you were to close your eyes, you probably could have sworn that there were multiple guitars playing at once, such was the complexity of the music.
The actual songs being played were original melodies, some jazzy, some eastern sounding, some slightly twangy, all backed lightly by the drum. The visual aspect of his performance, with his hands and fingers going every which way, was also fascinating.
In between songs, he would tell a little bit about himself and about the upcoming song. One prevalent word in his song titles was ninjas, "Dueling Ninjas" and "Acoustic Ninja" being prime examples of this. On the last song of his set, "Acoustic Ninja", I noticed a cord being drawn down across the back of the stage. I didn't think much of it until, halfway through the song, a man wearing a ninja suit came sliding down off it onto the stage! Another "ninja" immediately followed, and the two began to do a little fake fight, all while Trace was still playing. The audience burst out laughing, and Trace even seemed to crack up at one point. Given the small size and feel of the venue, the stunt felt just like a friendly joke between Trace and the concert organizers. It was the funniest moment of the night, hands down.
After the song, Trace said his goodbyes, and we were all set to hear Derek, after the intermission. All in all, I thought hearing a local guitar player, especially one with such a surprising visual element to his playing, was an enjoyable way to kick off the evening.