Blueshift Ensemble director and musician Jenny Davis knew she'd arrived at the right spot. "YES!" she said. "We have got to do something here." Here being the old, ornate, and ever-so mysterious theater inside the Scottish Rite Temple on Union Avenue, a quirky time capsule of a space where Masonic Rite secret rituals of initiation have been performed for the last century.
Blueshift Ensemble specializes in a different kind of performance, bringing classical musicians together with performers and artists from other disciplines. "We want to create something that's more of an experience than a concert," Davis says. Blueshift's Concert with Dave Shouse finds the experimental group performing a variety of contemporary compositions with diverse, sometimes strange instrumentation. Pitched crystal wine glasses will be played. There's a solo for flute and digital delay. Rhodes College music professor David Shotsberger's new composition is inspired by gaming and game culture. The evening's most improvisational and immersive element will be a collaboration with Memphis rock stalwart Shouse of the Grifters and ManControl.
Shouse has always been an envelope pusher, playing multiple instruments in numerous bands like Think as Incas, Moroccan Roll, and the Grifters, a crunchy noise ensemble that helped to define '90s lo-fi. In more recent years, he's teamed with Robby Grant of Big Ass Truck and Vending Machine for a project called ManControl that — crazy as it sounds — uses light to manipulate waveforms. This is the style of performance Shouse will employ to a loosely composed piece by Blueshift co-founder Jonathan Kirkscey.
"We make it a point to do something new and different each time," Davis says.
Blueshift Ensemble Concert With Dave Shouse at the Scottish Rite Temple. Friday, June 2, 8 p.m. $10. blueshiftensemble.com