Gigs, dance, art

March 1st, 2010: Api Uiz / Radikal Satan / L’Ocelle Mare

@instants chavirés

Just when I thought I would be able to post sooner after the shows, hardware failure knocked me out. Anyway this was one highly anticipated show, and not just by me from the attendance. It actually sold out, which doesn’t happen often enough. It rarely does. I guess Les Potagers Natures is still a name that draws a crowd, and it should.

L’Ocelle Mare went first, and though nice, I didn’t like this set as much as last month’s one. No fault of his though. Part was having heard him recently, and part was the less than ideal setting. The cloud to the sold-out silver lining being that too many people were talking and clearly not here for him. He used his banjo for almost all the set, with the exception of a short appearance of his shiny mouth organ. The skill and engagement were here enough to make it worthwhile, but that’s no surprise, as it was pretty much the same as the previous show.

Radikal Satan did the most surprising set. First because they played on the stage for a change, and also because that set had a rockish feel. By their standards, that is, but still. The first song was more in their usual style, but they kept most of their intoxicating touch even in the other ones. It’s a weird feeling. That was a really good set, and they still have this unique sound and feel, and I really like the way they didn’t stick with what I expected. But I nonetheless miss the old stuff, I guess then problem is that there’s just no one else wandering these lands, so whenever they move they leave a gap.

Api Uiz were the fastest and loudest of the bunch, and they pulled out a surprising set in that they didn’t even fumble before the very end. That stop usually comes earlier. I’m not only writing that to make fun of one of them, but because I actually like the way they recover from those lapses. And these only make them even more real and in the here and now, which to me is a lot of what I like about their performances. Their records are good too, but in a different way. The ability to go back and listen again changes a lot. In a live show, they make me acutely aware of the moment.


March 6, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

February 22nd, 2009: Arnaud Rivière / Api Uiz / Ero Babaa / Opera Mort


Most of the regulars showed up and more, which is good for the fine people responsible. It had been a while since I attended a kliton gig, but I intend to break that pattern. That one was to kick off the tour that will see Api Uiz and Ero Babaa set fire to Germany — it’s actually halfway through by now, I’ve been slow updating this thing.

I got my second chance at hearing Opéra Mort — this time without hearing troubles. It was well worth the expectation, and justified my aggravation at having that set spoiled back then. What I like most about them is that they throw in unusual elements in their noisish brew. Like rhythmic loops, not an important part of the mix, but the touch of spice that made it all the more satisfying to me. And processed voice will get my vote every time, even though they went light on that ingredient. I really liked this set a lot, and thanks to él-g and Jo T. for that one.

Then it was back to the usual suspects, with a twist because Ero Babaa actually went quiet and almost sane for a while. Of course that went out the window before the end of the set, but a surprise from people I’ve heard so often is always welcome. And I liked the way they just cut their set out abruptly. I think that makes total sense, even though that sounds weird applied to them — in a good way, like if I said Kenny G. made sense, though that’s not really gonna happen.

Api Uiz will probably be bitching about the many breaks and technical difficulties, but it didn’t really matter. There even was a good side to it, in that they had the opportunity to display several times how they can go to full speed instantly. Many things in their music are common with other bands out of that particular Bordeaux scene, and that’s exclusively for the best. There’s all this uncompromising energy that never crosses over to the sanctimonious. As good an entry point as any to the wonderful world of les potagers natures, and even though I still like Chocolat Billy best — I just could not resist the name-dropping — they’re too good to miss one of their gigs in these parts: instantly engaging but with more underneath if you want to delve deeper.

I was afraid hearing Arnaud Rivière on quote-unquote turntable again so soon would be boring, but it was totally different. Much rougher than his take with eRikm and Jean-Philippe Gross earlier this week. The percussive element brought by banging stuff was there, but put to another, far less regular use. And the mixing board part was closer to the mind-blowing stuff I know he can pull off. Not that good in my opinion this time, but close enough to make the performance a good one, in an edgy hungry way I hadn’t heard from him in a while. Maybe be not his best in and of itself — I’ve heard him so many times I definitely am getting picky — but the spirit was a reassuring proof of wide open tomorrows. He’s definitely neither afraid nor complacent, and that’s more than enough to make want to hear what’s next. He’s off to Israel for a few gigs today, if you’re over there catch him if you can, and don’t shy away from talking to the guy after the show, especially if you’re a composer/musician yourself. He’s very open-minded and is confident enough to stray out of his particular path.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January 18th, 2008: The Ex & guests / Api Uiz

@instants chavirés

Final day of this series. Even more people were left out this time; I would usually feel bad about hogging tickets like this, but not this time. Had it been The Ex alone, once would have been enough. But I really enjoyed the various combination in the other sets, and that’s why I wanted to get more of that.

The opening set featured Christine Sehnaoui on saxophone, Clayton Thomas on double bass, and Wolter Wierbos on trombone. This time I moved up front and that proved a good move as the set was great. One of the very best of the three days, with each performer doing something I just loved along the way.

Then came a shorter set with Andy Moor, Terrie Ex, and Ian from Api Uiz. Complete change of mood there, three guitars and full speed mayhem, and I mean that in a good way.

Then Anne-James Chaton read three of his “events”. I didn’t like that much, as usual. I’m fine with hearing one, but then it’s just too much of the same, with that monotone reading and a booming loop of a short phrase as background.

Api Uiz delivered a good set, even though there were some awkward pauses. They were joined halfway by Emma Fisher who painted on sheet of papers taped to the wall. Fun, but it must have been hard on them because of the smell. I think I would have enjoyed it more in another setting, though. It was markedly different from the rest of the sets, and a bit too predictable. Then again, that comes from familiarity.

Afework Negussie again did a solo set before being joined by Clayton Thomas, Katherina Ex and Andy Moor. It was too close to the sets of the previous days, which means good but I was really spoiled at that point.

For a fitting finale, The Ex started alone, then were joined by Wolter Wierbos and Clayton Thomas, with Christine Sehnaoui and Anne-James Chaton added for in the event. Again, it was a high intensity set, which more than made up for the occasional slips. They performed some songs that they already had the previous days, but that’s fine with me as they were favorites.

January 20, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January 17th, 2008: The Ex & guests

@instants chavirés

Second day. Why go again? Different sets, different people, and new combinations of people that were here the day before. About five sets this time, even though it’s not really that clear cut.

First came Andy Moor, Anne-James Chaton and Colin McLean. At least I was told the latter was there, I didn’t see him; I guess he was seated in a corner, I’m too small to see that. I was fearing the worst, having been bored before by Chaton’s reading of ATM tickets or such. But it turned out OK, even real good at times, thanks in part to Andy Moor, but even the layering of snippets of speech did work on its own.

Then Terrie Ex did a short solo set, a pedal to the metal affair that changed the mood of the evening to a punkier, messier one for a while.

Then a composite “set”, or maybe three of them, go figure. First it was just Katherina Ex and Christine Sehnaoui. Good mix once it got started, really different style meshing and converging while keeping clearly separate. Then Afework Negussie did a few songs on his own, before being joined by Katherina Ex and Christine Sehnaoui. Problem was that I couldn’t hear much of what the latter was doing, it was just drowned out, and that got worse when Clayton Thomas and Andy Moor joined them for the last song of the set. It was dynamic and pretty good, but I think I liked yesterday’s set better.

Two guys from Api Uiz — no drums — did a very short set, more like one song, then left the stage to Clayton Thomas on double bass, Wolter Wierbos on trombone, and G.W. Sok on vocals. Wierbos was impressively good; that set was closer to the regular improvisation sets I’m used to, and proved very interesting.

I would say the final set — The Ex without any guest tonight — was even more on the punk side than the first night. Maybe that was just me being closer to the stage for a while; but I doubt it. So that tops the previous day as the most energetic performance I ever saw them deliver. I can’t wait for the final evening.

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

September 14th, 2007: Api uiz / Le club des chats / Oso el roto / Projet Piscine


It had been a long time I hadn’t been to a gig set up by Kliton, I think that would date back to January or so. I like what they do, but I often had other plans. I’m also selling a bridge or two.

Projet Piscine was unknown to me, but I was pleasantly surprised. Keyboards/voice and bass duo, the surprise came from their sound. It felt very eightiesish to me, but I actually liked it, even though I’m not usually fond of such old stuff. The lack of drums didn’t bother me at all, which is another unusual reaction. I’d like to check them out again in a few months, see if that’s just a weird mood of mine or just their being good. For now I’ll settle on the latter.

The next act was no surprise, as I’ve seen Oso el Roto many times. More of his trademark nonsense lyrics and voice games. It can be fun, but I was not receptive tonight.

I had heard about le club des chats, but never seen them before. Light-hearted and fun, at least at first. It did grow old for me about halfway through though. I don’t know, but I would have like them to stray from that routine somehow; on the other hand, there would have been no point for them to do that.

Last, but definitely not least, Api Uiz took the stage. Like by storm. They play loud and fast, a guitar/bass/drums trio without vocals. Not that a singer would have been heard anyway. That felt good. Some good old noise/punk music with an unstable balance. After all that jazz lately, I guess I needed this. I should aim for some balance myself in the coming months.

I was pleased to see the room filling up after a sparse beginning. I hope this event was successful enough for them to plan more gigs in the near future. They are good people and deserve some support.

September 14, 2007 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment