Gigs, dance, art

September 16th, 2010: Melt-Banana / Circle


I’m still kicking myself over missing Circle when their music was more of the repetitive stuff I like best, but that lineup was too good to miss. Their set was weird in that it mixed over-the-top elements — dress, acting and some of the music — with music that was too good to be just a joke. It featured a lot of visual nods to seventies-to-eighties heavy metal, a fact most prominent when the four guitar/bass player came together for a choreography worthy of a spinal tap outtake — each dressed as a different cliche. The singer was covering the white-leather-and-cap gayish angle, and went into a few spells of slow-motion running that were more than a little ridiculous.  But even when they were most in character, the music was too good for it to be a post-modern joke, there had to be some appreciation for the genre in there, with just enough self-confidence to be able to joke at the cheesiest part of it too. They did have a couple of lapses into slower and — for me — more interesting music during the set, but I did enjoy the whole set, though I probably wouldn’t sign for another dose of that.

Melt-Banana‘s set started with just two of set on stage, in the dark, sporting head-lamps and playing samplers. Just as hectic, but with a different edge, a little less punk and somehow rawer, despite the medium. The rest of the set went back to the usual format. That is to say there were every bit as good as when I saw them first, but it did last longer, to my delight. Punk energy and intensity with a lot of interesting stuff at work too, I love that. Note to self: next time I should pay more attention to the bass. Again, I had to hear people saying they were down a few notches from their earlier days. I don’t believe that, but even if it’s true, I don’t care, because they’re still more than good enough for me to want more.

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

June 7th, 2008: Shellac / Mission of Burma / Melt-Banana / Bottomless Pit

@la villette

Maybe one of the most mainstream gig I attended in a while. Which was way overdue proof that I can still enjoy something that isn’t pushing the envelope so much. Getting to be one of the few people going to hear experimental stuff was getting to be a bore lately. No dis on the fine people running this scene, but I’m just wired that way, I need to acknowledge my inner teenager every so often — and, why yes, this is delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

The first set might have shown the limits of that attitude though. Bottomless Pit was not very interesting in the sense that they didn’t bring much new ideas to the table, but they sure were competent. Maybe more fit for the outdoors event though. This comment was just hypocrisy at its worst though, it was a fitting gateway to the last two sets and just enabled me to play my assigned role of music snob. I’m just too full of shit to have anything meaningful to say about these guys — and probably about others as well.

Melt-Banana were the highlight of the evening for me, no contest. People were saying that they used to be much better back in the days, but it was the first time I saw them and I take those pronouncements with a heavy dose of salt anyway. Not only did they stand head and shoulders above the rest of this gig’s lineup, they were interesting in their own right, no matter the setting. I think so, but I cannot tell, so I just hope I get the opportunity to see them headlining a show. This was way too short, is my only complaint. That blend of old-school punk energy with more involved sonic experiments was worth spending more time in. Alas, it was not to be. I would gladly have traded 15 minutes each of Mission of Burma and Shellac for more of this.

Mission of Burma were the reason why I attended this gig in the first place, if only to wash out the bitter taste lingering from their previous gig in Paris, that was shamefully cut short because of some stupid soccer game. A fitting revenge, as they played slightly over an hour. Good but not great though, playing after Melt-Banana didn’t help, despite all my fondness for Clint and crew, I couldn’t really escape the feeling that the previous band was much better. But I eventually told myself to get lost and just took what was there and had a good time anyway, switching back to what I once was thanks to someone I’m not going to name here. Another guide to steer me away from elitist overthinking, debts piling up that I will never repay. Sometimes my mind just gets in the way, and that sure would have been one of these days. Despite the nagging thought that their performance was not that great, I enjoyed the chance to wallow in a past that never was mine.

All that set me up for a better than expected time listening to Shellac. Not as good as advertised, but ignoring the hype it was good enough. Despite being the most hyped band in the lineup, they seemed to be the ones having the best time, and their drummer more than made up for not being very interesting musically by being endearing through his attitude. And despite being just as good sounding and just spot-on all the time, he showed a devil-may-care side to him that got through enough to have me enjoy the set. Of course they sounded great, but nonetheless I would have liked the content to match the packaging. Oh well, I guess it just wasn’t the night for this, and I’ve complaining far too much about what was a good night anyway.

June 8, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment