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 | , , | Leave a comment

June 14th, 2008: Kobra Matal / Jeune fille orrible / Lubriphikatttor / David Fenech

@glaz’art / coord

That’s actually the first set of a festival and three fourth of another gig. I’m putting them together because I went from one to the other and was not able to enjoy them as well as I could have because of hearing issues. So I don’t have a lot to say.

David Fenech‘s set started great, with his playing records, recording loops and layering a bunch of these to great effect. That’s what I like most in his performances, anyway, this piling up topped with vocals that have the good idea to avoid words. Problem is I went mono about halfway through, which proved very distracting.

Then I took off to get to the other gig, where I had the nice surprise to learn that Charles from Blue Sabbath Black Fiji would be playing as well, so that both of them would be featured, if separately. Lubriphikatttor started quite late, but it was pretty good. I still think their performance in February was better overall, more cohesive — even though that’s a strong word — but there were a bunch of great moments and they sounded just great. Unfortunately, what I first thought were overloaded speakers crackling was actually an early sign of an ear infection acting up, and that unwanted additional noise kinda spoiled the fun halfway through.

So maybe I was not in the best mood for Jeune fille orrible, with their dragging of furniture and banging of stuff. I usually don’t really like that kind of thing though, and had thoughts of calling it quits then because I thought Kobra Matal would be more of the same. Turned out it was not the case at all, and seemed like a good blend of my favorite kind of noise. I’m even more annoyed at my missing out on most of it because I liked a lot what Lionel Fernandez was doing, which is usually not the case. By then it was really late and it was clear my ear was going to spoil the evening, so I left before Charles played. Which just sucks.

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April 24th, 2008: Dälek / Bleubird / R-Zatz


It was my first time at this venue, pretty nice place, a tad too nice actually. Much better looking from the inside than the garish pink box outside would suggest. Not so big, and it was definitely not crowded tonight. What gives? I though Dälek were popular around here…

The opening set was R-Zatz, featuring a laptop wielding DJ, a guy on guitar and bass and a VJ. The video was an arty black and white affair with some coloring and inserts thrown in, not much of interest to me in there. The single live instrument did a lot to keep me around, but despite a few tunes I liked, it was a bit too scripted for me. Musically it was more electro than hip hop, in different styles from ambient to pounding. The scratch samples did not sit very well with me, part principle and part because it didn’t seem right with the kinda detached delivery.

As if to complement that opening set, the next one featured a lone MC with his laptop, Bleubird. A bit heavy on the stage banter, but that was mostly OK. And when he actually turned it on, it was really good. I liked his quoting Zappa as well — that line about information/knowledge/wisdom/truth/beauty/love — and he kept me guessing by going into different styles. The most rapid-fire delivery was not the best, that would be those times when he seemed to put all he had behind his words. A lot of energy, positive somehow, and he came across as somehow who does his thing out of a deep-seated need. Pretty funny at times nonetheless.

Very different from the darker mood brought on by Dälek, with their fascinating mix of hip hop and noisish guitar wailing. Maybe the room didn’t do justice to their sound, but it was commanding nonetheless. I love their straying from the expected stuff musically yet remaining true to hip hop nonetheless. The MC was great, commanding attention despite all the stuff going on around him, as it should be. No prettiness in there, and I’m glad for that. They struck a near perfect balance between the noise and rhythmic elements, with the result being consistently interesting, neither oppressing nor comfortable. My only problem with their set was that it was so short, but I’d rather have a gig seem too short than too long.

April 25, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment