Lucas “Granpa” Abela at Rozz-Tox -- July 19.

Friday, July 19, 8 p.m.

Rozz-Tox, 2108 Third Avenue, Rock Island IL

His legendary live shows described by NME as "crossing the line between music and bloodsport," experimental musician Lucas "Granpa" Abela, who also performs under the stage moniker Justice Yeldham, headlines a July 19 concert event at Rock Island's Roxx-Tox, the New York Times' David Rees describing the artist's live sets by saying, "One moment you hear John Coltrane playing a volcano, the next you hear a string section being squeezed through a toothpaste tube."

Abela began his music career in Sydney, Australia, in the 1990s as a DJ and turntablist. Realizing that any metal tip can carry sound, he began replacing the record needles with objects such as pins, knives, and skewers, and soon moved on to building his own phonographs with recycled electric motors. Abela's experimentations attracted the attention of Australian musicians Oren Ambarchi and Mike Avenaim, who helped launch his career as a touring artist. Describing himself as an improvisational musician in the free-jazz tradition, Abela discovered the musical potential of glass in 2003 when he found broken glass among building rubble in Chippendale, Sydney. He attached a microphone to one end of the glass, then started blowing on the surface. He later said: "I was really taken how just kind of crystal clear the resonance was as opposed to the resonance within metal … . Finding glass was a hallelujah moment."

Performing as Justice Yeldham, Abela toured the world extensively with his glass instrument, garnering a wide array of reactions due to the graphic and dangerous nature of his live shows. Played somewhat like a reed instrument, Abela vibrates the shards edge with their lips, producing both audio signal and control voltages. These feed a complex modular patch of parallel chains where the performance modulates itself to give the instrument the illusion of a ghostly accompaniment that together forms dense layers of anomalous music. In regard to bleeding on stage due to cuts from the glass, Abela has said, "I'm never even conscious that I've cut myself until after the show when someone says 'You’d better clean yourself up.' It’s like the playing is an out of body experience in which I never feel pain."

During Abela's Rozz-Tox set, copies of their limited-edition collaborative 7” with Zach Hill (Death Grips) will be available for $10. The single fuses Zach’s frenetic drumming dynamics onto Abela’s textural glass noise by converting Zach’s drumming into rhythmical control voltages to tear Abela’s sustained textural glass signal rhythmically apart. The single was recorded using stems provided by Hill, so Abela could develop techniques to interpolate their signals before recording together in Los Angeles late last year for a forthcoming album.

Lucas "Granpa" Abela plays his headlining concert in Rock Island on July 19o with additional sets by Gorgina and Nick Yeck-Stauffer, admission to the all-ages 8 p.m. show is $12-15, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)200-0978 and visiting

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