Gigs, dance, art

April 1st, 2011: Vialka / Le Club des Chats / LeDeathToMankind


Maybe it was just meant to be duo night. There was actually another set, but Raimon Rivage’s amps gave up the ghost after a minute of so, so it doesn’t really count.

I had never head LeDeathToMankind, even though I had seen both of them several times at gigs. I liked the wide range of elements they throw into their music. From metal to pop, with sometimes a high pitched female voice and sometimes not. I didn’t like the whole set, but in their case I’d say it’s a good thing. I think I’ll go see them again.

I didn’t expect any surprise from Le Club des Chats, especially not having seen them two weeks ago. But I like them enough to indulge again. And I was struck by one of the songs; maybe that’s the recorder but it sounded so like Death Sentence Panda! it could have been a cover. I had never thought of that, but the connection makes a lot of sense, and that gave me a nice excuse to go back to the right kind of DSP!

I think I kinda soured on Vialka since I first heard them. They’re still a very good live act much worth seeing, and I still like the drummer a lot. But now I think their music is too elaborate for me. I liked the changes, but I felt there were just too many guitar notes in there. So I guess I kinda checked out halfway through the set. Even then, the first half was good enough to entice me to check them out again if I get the chance. Maybe I was just too tired, or the setting was off.

April 3, 2011 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

May 26th, 2010: Penthotal / Sgure / Miho – Erik Minkkinen / Zaraz Wam Zagram / Emmanuelle Gibello


Those two weeks had taken a toll, I was probably too tired and burned out for another night out. But I just wanted to go back to this place, they could definitely get kicked out any day now. I ended up chatting way to much and not focusing enough on the music, my bad.

I usually like what Emmanuelle Gibello does, and this time was no exception, with those sounds of night and rain. But I was just too tired to appreciate the details, I was too busy fighting the urge to nod off. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like Zaraz Wam Zagram as much as usual too, I would have liked the tapes to be more in front but I may have missed that part. Erik Minkkinen joined Miho for my favorite set of the event, a nice sound texture from guitar and electronics that had some cycles and drones, a nice mix between static and dynamic. Sgure brushing his teeth with contact mics was a fun take on the latter, and the set was short enough not to overextend the idea. I didn’t last until the end of the Penthotal set. Turning on a radio then plugging in effects and stuff while playing it and loops of earlier sounds was nice at first, but it was just too much of the same for too long and I gave up.

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

September 19th, 2009: Bülanz Orgabar / Interstellar Nightmare / V.I.K.I.


I came for the place first, it had been a while and it probably won’t be around much longer. Pretty sparse audience, especially at first.

I quite liked V.I.K.I., especially the first half or so. At one point I could see him bowing something that may have been a violin — or not, I didn’t see it. But most of the sound seemed laptop generated, or at the very least heavily processed. Some of these sounds were really cool, with a kind of grainy texture I’m quite fond of. I guess I grew too accustomed to it later on, I felt it was too much more of the same, and my interest drifted, a self-reinforcing process unless something blatant happens, and that’s probably not the kind of music for this. But the set already had enough to make me happy I’d showed up.

I liked Interstellar Nightmare too, probably more, actually. Bass, drums and a metal sheet with contact mics used sparingly but to good effect. Satisfyingly loud music, with a direct kind of drumming that suited me very well that day. Less experimental than what I’m used to, but the physical level of it was a pretty neat experience, the kind that makes a live setting special. I probably wouldn’t listen to anything they do otherwise, I’m just sure I’d miss the intensity.

After a quite long delay wondering whether they’d play at all, Bülanz Orgabar did play a short set. Cut short suddenly by power being shut off, actually. Which I liked, in part because I didn’t feel they were going anywhere anyway. Some good stuff on an individual level, but not much interaction. A big part of my interest in their music comes from the unexpected things that just happen. Or don’t. No two shows have been alike, and that’s the price tag for not following a script. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

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

December 22nd, 2008: Erik Minkkinen / Zach Hill / Berthold / Helicoptere Sanglante


There were so many people there I was close to bolting. Maybe I should have, there was far enough people for it to be a success, and these crowds make me uneasy. I was there though, and the prospect of hearing Erik Minkkinen made me stay.

The crowd was so dense I missed about half the set of Helicoptere Sanglante, and probably the one I would have liked best judging from the distorted voice I heard from the outside. Too bad, what I did hear well was good enough, but I could not shake the feeling I missed the good bits. The end of it was a bit tame by his standards, nice electronics but I kept waiting for a cathartic blast that came earlier. I guess that’s what I get for being such a loser.

Berthold was kinda interesting. A rather punk set despite a more metal beginning, I’m sure they can get beyond these labels. They didn’t keep those promises this time, but they’re a name I might want to remember nonetheless. Good enough at what they do, but they can probably do more. Again, the joke’s on me for expecting more varied stuff. I did enjoy their set anyway, so it’s not even a disapointment. More like a reason to check them out another time.

Even though Zach Hill was headlining the event, I didn’t like his set. Too much drumming, and coming from me that just means I was not in a good mood, no surprise with how packed the place was. Impressive as a performance, but there was just too much of that, and I got tired of it.

Erik Minkkinen was last, and even though most people were outside at the bar, I don’t think that’s the only reason that was my favorite set. Harsher that what I heard from him lately, but that was welcome. A bit spacey at times nonetheless, but there was a relentless drilling into the material that just compelled my attention and made for a direct experience. I didn’t like the base sound much, but what he was getting out of it just had me won over. It’s not about that, it’s all about the changes he can bring to it, and even though I always think I know what he can do, he often manages to surprise me. This was maybe not a big surprise, but time flew and by the time he stopped I just had to acknowledge how good he is. That was well worth the wait.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

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


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.

November 21, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment

August 23rd, 2008: Yours Truly / TG / Bone Rattle / Helicoptere Sanglante


Maybe I shouldn’t have looked at those videos before going, this way I wouldn’t have been disappointed. That’s too big a word anyway, that was a good gig, but I expected something different and that’s why I was a bit taken aback. But it’s sure good to see the end of that dreadful summer getting closer. Hopefully I will get to be more active now.

Helicoptere Sanglante went first, with a set that was almost subdued. Less of the performance stuff — I won’t complain about that — and more on the music side of it. Then again I was so starved for live music that I think I was in a very positive mood and just eager to hear some noise again.

Bone Rattle were pretty good, but I had to forget what I was expecting because there were no drums. Voice, violin and electronics, interesting but those videos had me expecting something more dynamic. And I really liked the drumming, so it kinda spoiled my experience for a while, the violin picking was nice, and might have been drowned out by the drums though, so maybe I got something I would have missed otherwise. I hope they come back with a drum set, so that I can hear the usual stuff.

In another related letdown, Blue Shift didn’t play. She broke her bow, which also explains the picking, but that was bad news for me because she was the one I was most curious about, again because of youtube videos. So I do hope she’ll be back to this city so that I can experience it live. I just love processed violin, and her use of a contact mike sounds very interesting. But I usually need to hear it live to fully appreciate that kind of music. She talked of touring in Europe again next spring. That’s a long wait but still beats no plan at all. My going on at length about something that didn’t take place is hopefully a small step toward making it happen. I’m not holding my breath but there’s no downside I can think of anyway.

I know this is homerish, but my favorite set was TG‘s. Just what the witch-doctor ordered to brush aside the cobwebs in my ears. Nothing special on the face of it, just guitar with a lot of feedback, but it was great. Well done, without any overthinking or high-brow aims, but something that had me physically engaged and I just enjoyed the moment. I had been missing that kind of gig, a lot. That’s a personal take, without any attempt at justifying or analyzing anything — which I suck at anyway — and a shameless one at that. Thanks man, that was a blast.

The last act was a performance thing, and I just don’t go for these, so I didn’t like it. I just don’t relate. But despite all the ways in which it didn’t live up to my expectations, it was a very nice evening, and it sure beats anything I’ve had to settle for lately. One more quiet week and I’ll hopefully be on the out and about again.

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

July 17th, 2008: Rinus / Stig Noise / Hawaiian Spasms / Ero Babaa


Not many people showed at first, which might be a reason why the gig started late, which was not such a good idea as gigs in this place tend to end on time to avoid having cops showing up. It did get a fair number of people eventually, but this tendency to show up late is growing into a pet peeve.

Ero Babaa ended up doing the first set, and I thought it was just too loud. This doesn’t bother me usually, so I guess I wasn’t all that much into their performance. Indeed, I’ve seen them do better things, this one lacked the fun part of their best shows.

Hawaiian Spasms did a pretty long set based on repetition of a melodic pattern. Pretty good, but a bit long, though I guess the longer stable part in the middle was part of the project. Some speed changes, some beats at times, for a somewhat hypnotic performance. It wasn’t great, but sure showed enough interesting parts to make me curious and I would probably like to hear him again in a few months.

Stig Noise started with a full onslaught but turned out to be no strangers to melody as well, and their use of a trumpet was a nice touch. Relentless most of the time, and overall a good set. They did relatively diverse stuff at first but kinda settled later on, which was a bit of a disappointment. Still good enough anyway.

Finally, Rinus was actually joined by another guy on dictaphone too, maybe another member of Diktat. A very short set, probably because of time constraints, and not very interesting. Most of it was noisish, and made little use of the tapes themselves, which was a letdown. They did wander around a couple of times with their players, but these parts were too distinct from the noise parts with no transition whatsoever. The guy seems better than that, at least judging from his page, so that was an anticlimactic end to the evening.

July 19, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment