Gigs, dance, art

October 3rd, 2009: The Nihilist Spasm Band & Sun Plexus 2

@instants chavirés

I was expecting something great, yet it ended up even better. I don’t know much about Sun Plexus 2, and I’m just a fan of NSB*, so I was hoping the former wouldn’t take anything from the latter. Boy was I wrong. They actually brought something and NSBSP2 came out as close to a single entity as can be with these guys. What I mean by that is that NSB feels to me as strong individuals playing together — more or less loosely — without losing their separate personalities but enriching those through interaction. And the addition of SP2 was just more of the same, which for a change was a good thing.

Of course there were times when it worked better than at others, and the many guitar sounds from could get confusing, but consistency isn’t what makes NSB so great, so it’s not even an issue. With this band, consistency is having Bill Exley start each piece by reading, then all bets are off. And that held true. Maybe the closest thing to a watershed is how the kazoo and drums are split between John Boyle and Aya Onishi, and even there it’s not that big a deal.

Somehow, I think the one who benefited the most from this association was Art Pratten. Maybe it was just my focusing more on him this time for some reason, but he was closest to the drummer and guitar player from SP2 and seemed to feed off both and his performance was not just the best of the three times I’ve seen him play, but one of the best performances I’ve seen from anyone.

This was such a great gig, and I just wish I can see NSB many more times. Of course there’s the reality that as they get older it gets less likely, but this part only kicks in after the show. When they’re playing that’s not a factor because the present is just too intense to waste time about the rest.

Except once in a while to think “I wish Hugh McIntyre was there”. It’s different — not better or worse, it’s not about a value judgment — without him, and even though I only saw him once, I just feel that hole. He’s gone but not forgotten, not by me at least.

* I’m enough of a fan than to me London is ambiguous. And whenever I meet someone from London, Ontario I ask about NSB. Usually I get no recognition at all, but when I do it’s always a good sign. Having someone email you “I just saw Bill Exley at the supermarket!!!” from another continent is eerie, possibly alarming, yet very much worthwhile.


October 10, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , ,


  1. Hello
    I read you often, as I live in south of France and so not able to see all Paris events…
    though I have to disagree a little bit on this show. NSB were great and I think it was a fantastic set from Murray Favro (guitar). nevertheless SP2 seemed to me to have not the good attitude: they looked like careful and serious students, and delivering very few good sounds imho. I would have preferred to see them wild (as in a SP2 show)…

    thanks again for all your reviews

    Comment by vomir | December 18, 2009 | Reply

    • You know, I think you’re right about SP2. I wouldn’t really know because I’ve only seen them once, but as far as I remember that was a wild set and with NSB they weren’t assertive at all. I was more focused on NSB anyway, and when I said it worked I guess I meant it worked as a NSB performance. Thanks for bringing another point of view.

      I’m taking December off from posting notes about concerts in the noise/improv scene. I’m just not happy about a few things about this blog and the regulars’ reaction to it, so I’m taking a break to sort it out. I think I’ll get back to it in some way, but maybe not before Instants Chavirés reopens.

      I’m still going to gigs though, so drop me a line next time you play in Paris or nearby.

      Comment by counterfnord | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. Counterfnord
    well, I hope you’ll be back soon with your notes !
    Maybe a short one of the next Borbetomagus show ? but maybe there is no need as it’s sure it will be an amazing show ;)

    all the best

    Comment by vomir | December 18, 2009 | Reply

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