Gigs, dance, art

August 13th, 2009: Oneida / Alexander Tucker


August is again a boring month for me as I’m stuck in Paris with gigs few and far between. At least this one made up for that in quality. Final Fantasy was supposed to play as well, but he was sick and had to cancel. The silver lining being that Oneida got to play longer, which most especially welcome as I had not seen them for over four years. Another bad side of this situation was that the audience was quite sparse, always a worrying development when a band I love does stop here.

But first things first, Alexander Tucker opened with a pretty good set, on his own with a guitar and a bunch of pedals. I don’t like his voice much, but that wasn’t really an issue. Each song followed the same pattern, starting with a-little-too-nice guitar picking then some bowing on a smaller one, then voice and guitar but with feedback this time. The cool thing is that all of these were looped so that there was a definite buildup in sound throughout each song, concluding with a much harsher ending when he would play the pedals and effects in a pretty much noise way. I totally like this approach and pattern, but having each song develop the same way made it a little too predictable. I really liked his performance nonetheless — not surprising with my love for such layering — because he mixed very different sound styles in that buildup, each distinct for a while before joining the rest in a slowly evolving whole that remained consistent and interesting into the cathartic endings. I think the whole made the parts better, and I was just impressed by one moment when a voice loop would interact with his singing in beautiful ways that I think were just too great to have been random happenstance. This guy sure knows what he’s doing.

Then it was time for Oneida at last. There were five of them, while the last time I saw them there were only three — shows how long ago that was. I recognized one of the “new” faces as being in the Ex-Models — another band I’d love to hear live again — and even though I’m sure I’ve seen the other one before I can’t place him. To get the bitching out of the way, I thought the sound didn’t do them justice, because the keyboards were just too low, basically drowned out by the guitars, and that’s a total shame. I spent a while roaming in vain to find a more balanced spot. That didn’t stop the performance from being great, just makes me eager to see them again in better conditions. Which will probably take a while because these people need day jobs and can’t afford to tour faraway places. The fact that their great music isn’t appreciated enough for them to live from it is just plain wrong.

They did long tunes for the most part — which takes some of the bite out of those “only two more” announcements — and kept it intense all the way. Kid Millions is such an amazingly relentless drummer, but really they’re all relentless in some way, and that’s a big part of their appeal as a live band. Despite being mixed so low, the organist had a memorable moment when his keyboard slipped to an angle and he didn’t skip a beat. There was a quite krautrockish quality to the music, with those long hypnotic pieces, but their relentlessness made that a little bit different, and actually better as far as I’m concerned. I’ve held them to be one of my favorite live bands for a while now, and this time just strengthened my opinion. I do love their records — and their stop here gave me an opportunity to catch up a little on that front, and Rated O is really good — but hearing them live is the real thing.

I got a chance to chat with both guitar players and they’re just good people to boot. I did spend some time lobbying for a Knyfe Hyts show in these Bob-forsaken parts, both to Shahin and locals with some potentially useful connections, but that seems like a long shot. Back to summer boredom now.


August 15, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , ,

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