counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

May 23rd, 2010: Melted Men / Headwar / Erik Minkkinen

@instants chavirés

First a short but very good set by Erik Minkkinen. The sounds were interesting as usual, but the percussive side was stronger and the occasional scream didn’t hurt either. More diverse and balanced than the last couple of times I’d seen him, the set was intense. Short, but if that what it takes to get that kind of intensity, I’m all for it.

I don’t know if I changed or Headwar improved since the last time — probably both — but there was qualifying it time: their set was just great. They sure have a lot of energy, and even more ideas, and they managed to put everything together in a set that never chose between both sides, and with a contagious commitment as well.

Melted Men were much more elaborate scenically, with their changing costumes and props. I didn’t like that side much after a while, but the music was percussive and the unapologetic fun side of their show was nice. Strange to see them as both primitive and too elaborate, but that’s how I felt.

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May 30, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

May 20th, 2009: Metalking / Headwar / Lionel Fernandez

@instants chavires

First time I saw Lionel Fernandez on his own, and in a way it was almost exactly what I expected of him yet not a disappointing set. It did sound very close to what I expected from a third of Sister Iodine, but the interesting part is that I guess I didn’t give him enough credit for the overall sound of that project. I do like Minkkinen better, but his solo set brought home that he’s responsible for more of the interesting thing in that one that I thought. Too loud and assertive for me though, in that it got in the way at times, especially in the beginning. I thought the set ran maybe five or ten minutes too long in that it ran out of steam toward the end, but nonetheless pretty good and eye-opening.

Headwar took a while getting really started in my opinion, but they do have something going there. I think they’re at their best in their most punk moments, provided they stray a little from the canon. I mean they’re very good at the high energy stuff, but it would be a waste to let the other things they can do fall by the wayside. The little twists make it interesting, whether it’s a repetitive keyboard riff or the bass player hitting some drums for a while. These moments had me liking half the songs a lot, but then the other half didn’t strike that balance and sounded either too run-of-the-mill punkish or too artyish to me. Half real good is more than I expected based on what I remembered of them, and just good enough period.

Metalking is basically some noisish sounds with some film with lense and speed changes thrown in. The good side was that both elements were related but slavishly so, with enough leeway to avoid being monodimensional, yet it was quite obvious neither would have been the same on its own. As far as I’m concerned, it was nonetheless a bit too predictable, though they avoided the most obvious pitfalls. I guess I was a lost cause anyway because I much prefer digital videos to the analog stuff. Makes no sense when put together with my fondness for tape, but that’s just the way it is. I couldn’t get beyond that particular barrier.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

May 16th, 2008: Radikal Satan / Les Louise Mitchels / Headwar

@instants chavires

The main act should have been Erez Martinic, but that was canceled and Headwar was added and opened the evening. Furious punk at first — my favorite part of their set — nothing special really but done with appropriate gusto, the way it should be. That felt good, and even though I tend to like mixes, the more metalish bend of the later part of their set was a bit too sane, or maybe I get bored easily.

I did like Les Louise Mitchels better overall, maybe because they are far more competent musically — I certainly hope that’s not the case. I had pretty high hopes for the saxophone part, but that didn’t meet my expectations. It did bring something, but not that much. Still a pretty good set, maybe somewhat too controlled and lacking in surprises, but efficient with a few welcome twists.

But the real surprise turned out to be Radikal Satan. I had seem them once and really liked their sound, but they played without a drummer that time and his presence here brought their game to a whole new level. They also had a pedal steel guitar player this time, but I felt her influence to be limited. The double bass and accordion and voice still mixed just as well, but the drummer added some urgency or smoothness, sometimes both. Evocative and compelling music throughout, improved by their eschewing the stage again, if only because I’m too short to have seen what was going on and could avoid distractions and focus on the music, giving in to that heady pulse. Somehow it could be dark and light at the same time, not just switching from one mood to another but having all present to varying degrees. And they even threw in some cumbia towards the end, transformed through their sound of course, but identifiable nonetheless; a treat for me these days.

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