counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

November 19th, 2008: Soulstice / Death Sentence: Panda! / Trouble vs Glue / Louise Mitchels

@miroiterie

I had figured out that the venue had been booked twice by checking the announcement on Soulstice’s page the day before. I had seen that date earlier but didn’t realize the conflict. He seems to have been most gracious about this, agreeing to postpone his set, and probably shorten it as well. For me at least everything fell into place nicely. I first though I would have to miss two out of three interesting gigs, but I ended up getting part of the other two.

I had seen Les Louise Mitchels before, had remember a saxophone, but there were only three of them this time. I think I like it better that way. They’re not taking me into new soundscapes, but they’re pretty good at what they do while still looking like they enjoy playing, and sometimes that’s enough for me. I thought they were appropriate for the venue as well, and that was probably a factor.

It took me a couple of songs to transition to Trouble vs Glue, but the voice was my gateway into their DIY pop with a twist. Maybe a bit too much drums at times, but overall the both of them struck a nice balance. At first they were supposed to have played first, which probably makes some kind of sense, but I liked it that way, it made for the kind of change of pace I usually enjoy. A convincing set thanks to their intentionally unpolished delivery.

But those I had came to hear in the first place were Death Sentence: Panda!, as is often the case because of a WFMU session a few years ago and some more recent airplay on Liz Berg’s show. They were billed as kinda like Melt Banana, which was a bit funny for me because it had been the other way around for me, having heard them first. I really liked that set, the clarinet feedback sounded just great and I liked the singer’s voice and flute a lot too. She went into the crowd and ended up singing while being carried on a guy’s shoulders, which was great because I saw that as another proof of their ability to connect with the audience. And the music is both interesting and directly compeling, a mix I just love. Such a good set from a band I like a lot, I just have to thank Kliton and Arrache-toi un oeil for making this happen.

I definitely intended to stay on for Soulstice, and was totally willing to pay extra for it, but that wasn’t necessary. I hope the success of the gig meant he did get something. I thought I had happened on his page during a recent search about Baltimore hip-hop, maybe from Food for animals, but he’s actually living in DC, though originally from Chicago. All I have to say is that it’s definitely a good time for some long time Chicago residents to move to DC. Anyway, even though I didn’t like the DJ much, his set was better than I expected. I like the man’s flow, but the stuff I had heard on his page was kinda too clean, with a bit too much soul. But here it was rougher, and so more my kind of thing. He even ended his set without music, which was a cool thing. And he was real positive and convincing despite having only a few people in the room, and not exactly his own audience to boot. Probably a bit too positive for me, but these days I’m pretty much into less exposed hip-hop, and I’m really happy to get to hear someone like this in a small venue. Of course I’d love to eventually hear DJ ALF or Bisc1 but that was good, so I’m not complaining.

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November 21, 2008 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