Sunday, May 23, 2010

Music Non-Stop

Just when I thought marriage was slowing me down...

The Bands I have seen in the last 10 days:

The Dresden Dolls - mediocre goth/freak Tori Amos type with a bad-ass drummer. Excellent pre-show theatrics from a troop of Gothic Mimes. The show itself was a little long for that chick-at-a-piano style for my tastes - altho there were a few truly good numbers in there.

Radio 4 - Weak neo-Post-Punk dance-guitar act. Total wankers in comparison to the main event.

Gang of Four - A band I have waited over a decade for the chance to see. Their set exceeded my very high expectations. True genius on every instrument. Highlights - "At Home He's a Tourist", "Paralysed" and Jon King beating a drumbeat on a microwave using an aluminum baseball bat.

Festival Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Canada -

Kid Koala with Martin Tetreault - One of the best turntablists I've seen teaming up with a Canadian noise artist who also uses turntables for an entirely different effect. They did an hour and a half long improv turntable sound-scape. It was brilliant.

Hair Police - A noise-rock trio from down South somewhere. These guys made quite a racket with their two 30 minute long songs "Constant Terror" and "Endless Screaming." Their lead singer/guitarist is the Red-Neck Mike Patton. This was real "nightmare" music. An act not to be missed if they come to your neck of the woods.

Wolf Eyes w/ Anthony Braxton - Michigan's favorite sons Wolf Eyes put on a really impressive noise set - jamming with famous Jazz Saxophonist Anthony Braxton. Their set wasn't all in your face tho, they created a swirl of sounds that crept up on you and then exploded in your face. Braxton - a black man in his 70's - was having a blast making his sax and clarinet screech like a banshee. This collaboration was a real treat.

The No-Neck Blues Band - While they may have the worst band name ever - this 8 person group from New York create some incredibly weird but good music. Most of the band hide their faces behind either their hair, bee-keeper masks, or giant pieces of foam tied into their massive beards. This was an improv jam with instruments and artifacts strewn all over the stage and the members just grabbed whatever they felt like and jammed. This was one of the most bizarre acts I have ever seen but at the same time it had a tribal power that brings to mind acts like Einsturzende Neubauten and Throbbing Gristle. The only way to hear this band is at a live jam session - their albums are just chaos. I was totally surprised by how amazing they were live. The highlight was one dude taking his drum, which was made from a hollowed out tree-stump, and filling it with various deer, elk, and moose horns then climbing on to a stool and holding it over his head until his arms started shaking - then he stood there straining to hold this heavy filled-up tree stump while screaming at the top of his lungs for five minutes. All this while the other 7 members were ripping apart guitars, stomping their feet and throwing hand fulls of nails onto sheets of metal. Fucking sweet,

Thurston Moore's Dream Aktion Unit - SY's main man created a Dirty-Dozen from the world of noise/jazz improv and set them loose with no rehearsal. It had everything from an Asian chick humping a cello to two saxophone players bleating and wailing to an exploding amp(courtesy of Thurston) to dueling drummers to a fat Japanese Violin dude manipulating his lips and throat to scream into a bizarre dual microphone rig built to create an unholy Doppler effect in the sound system. It was fucking balls to the wall awesome. Plus Greta and I got to eat breakfast with them (well next to them anyway) the morning after the show.

The Boredoms - From Japan - the ultra-hard to see in concert mega-act. The main reason we took the side trip to this festival. I've seen them every time they've toured N. America and have enjoyed every stage in their evolution as a band. This show was no exception. The Boredoms are unholy - that's all there is to it. Three drummers and Yamatsuka Eye screaming and manipulating his weird electronic noise-inventions. For two hours they played some of the most intricate and powerful drum lines I've ever seen/heard - topping even their 1997 performance at the 930 Club (which is in my top 10 shows of all time). The show started with all the lights turned off and Yamatsuka Eye making music with two glowing fists of energy. Seriously - he was like Hi-Du-Kon StreetFighter II - He held two glowing balls of power in his fists and did crazy acrobatic tai-chi to generate the most unnatural sounds ever. Greta and I were just dumb-struck. It was as if Eye had brought these magnificent orbs back from the future or something. I have no clue how they worked but god-damn were they fucking cool. I was sad when the show as over, but oh so glad I got to see it.

Back in the USA...

Kraftwerk - Just got home from night 1 of their two night stay in DC. Greta and I loved it so much, we decided to go again tomorrow. These guys are the masters of Audio/Video interaction. This two and a half hour set was much longer than the one I saw at Coachella last year and was so worth the large ticket price. Every extra song they played tonight was something I was dying to hear after Coachella. The highlights were "Neon Lights" and "Home Computer". Watching Kraftwerk play these two songs along with the perfect visuals projected on a mammoth screen was sublime. Pure joy - I could've cried during "Neon Lights" it was beautiful.

Re-reading this before I post - I feel incredibly lucky to have seen three of my favorite acts - Gang of Four, The Boredoms, and Kraftwerk in such an short period of time. This has got to be some kind of new record for great concert density. Any more good music this week and my head might explode. Guess we'll see what happens tomorrow night.

Originally posted May 31, 2005 on Myspace.

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