Gigs, dance, art

September 9th, 2010: Antipop Consortium

@point éphémère

I don’t like the place much these days, but I like enough of what Antipop Consortium does to overcome that. Beans wasn’t there, but I’m not sure that changed the outcome all that much for me. They do different things, and what I liked and didn’t like was pretty much what I expected.

My favorite parts were the instrumental ones, which featured intricate sample-based rhythms. Sometimes it felt on the brink of breaking down, but they always found a way to pull it off. In a sense that was closer to the most interesting electro than to hip-hop proper. Then again, what I like in that band is not really the times they stay close to what hip-hop is supposed to be.

No surprise either that I didn’t like the times they got closer to melodic singing, that’s my usual reaction. And as MCs I think they’re far from being my favorites. But they make up for that with all-around creativity. That side was there, but I think like them better on records. The brilliance that they can show there doesn’t translate fully to the stage in my opinion.

September 11, 2010 Posted by | Music | , | Leave a comment

September 7th, 2009: The Pastels & Tenniscoats / Morning Star

@ point ephemere

I’m so late writing this, it has been that kind of grueling week on many fronts, with a jazz festival thrown in for good measure.

Morning Star did a good job, but that’s just not my kind of music. The double bass was a nice choice to go along with guitar/voice and drums, but even with that twist it was still mainstream pop/rock. They’re pretty good at what they do, and proved quite entertaining, but I’m more into this to be challenged than to be entertained. And the former element was lacking. Nonetheless, their set was not boring either, thanks to their engagement and some nicely crafted songs.

I thought I would get to hear Tenniscoats on their own, but it was not the case, as they were playing with The Pastels as a single unit. Another time then. It was a pretty good set as it was, especially at the end as it got rougher, even though the popest moments were very nice too. Unfortunately, the sound was quite crappy, with a buzz most of the set and crackling bass; that’s all on the venue which has been heading lower steadily over the years. That mix of indieish rock and pop was nice though, and the last few songs were really good. From the crowd reaction I guess these were classics, but I have to say I didn’t know anything about The Pastels before, so that was lost on me. Overall, the drummer from that band and the Tenniscoats were the elements that stood out for me, but the crappy sound probably do justice to anyone. I really liked the way there were clearly two different minded bands trying to find a common language, and succeeding most of the time.

And the encore featured a Le Ton Mité cover, which was a totally cool thing to do. The man himself wasn’t there, but that was probably a good thing because it gave me an opportunity to hear one of his songs in a more standard instrumentation. And I couldn’t help but chuckle at the hostile reactions from part of the audience. If they hated that this much, I guess the original version would have been lethal. Which is not something I would associate with him to begin with.

I guess that show made me even more reluctant to go to this place in the near future, no way I’d trust them to do justice to an act I don’t know, and putting up with all that crap for one I like isn’t looking that good either.

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

December 13th, 2008: Berg Sans Nipple / Die Goldenen Zitronen / Salmigondis

@point ephemere

I guess it was not my day, as I managed to miss Ero Babaa‘s set while grabbing a bite. It’s OK though, I’ll have other opportunities. And the rest of the gig was good enough to dispel any bitterness.

I was pleasantly surprised by Salmigondis. They’re a relatively new band, and I run into some of them from time to time, so I didn’t expect much, especially so close to the end of the festival. But they were quite impressive. A bit too much of everything, but that impression may have more than something to do with my being a bit overloaded by then. I definitely intend to check them out with fresher ears.

I had never heard of Die Goldenen Zitronen, and they were just the best surprise of the festival for me. Maybe I could say they didn’t stay punk forever, but there was indeed some of that just beneath the surface. Not tame by any means, and with a communicative enthusiasm. They looked happy to be here playing, not taking themselves too seriously and bringing a touch of good natured humor as well. Some of their music hints at the eighties, but that didn’t even bother me, because both following decades left a trace as well. Good music, good live band and a great attitude.

I thought I would be bored by Berg Sans Nipple, but I was not at all. On further reflection, I remember seeing them a couple of years ago and liking their set a lot. It’s just that the records don’t hold up to their live performances, which feature a lot more drumming. And this one was just driven, an intense set with an overflowing energy that kept my overall weariness at bay.

So it turned out to be a great gig, even though I missed one set. One more reason to be glad I took the pass, because I would probably have skipped it otherwise.

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

October 17th, 2008: Corrupted / La Chatte / Zeek Sheck

@point éphémère

First day of the in famous carousel series. I probably won’t go to all four because of other gigs, but maybe three, and at the very least a second one. All three bands had some video in the background, but I didn’t see much of that except at the end of the last set. Comes with being vertically challenged.

I guess that was most of a loss with Zeek Sheck, who have a strong visual component in their performance, with elaborate masks and costumes. Another thing I could only get a glimpse of was a kind of white spider. Or maybe not, I could not see much of it. The music started pretty well with drums, percussions and related samples. Weirdly enough, the parts more centered on the guitar were those I didn’t like. These sounded a bit long and uneventful. I liked the faster parts, but there was not enough of that for me to really like that set. Then again, I’m pretty sure it would have made more sense with the video.

The second set was La Chatte. Eightiesish samples rubbed me the wrong way, and the vocalist’s voice didn’t improve my mood. They stuck to that sound throughout the set, so I didn’t like it. Not my kind of stuff, that’s all.

Corrupted is more like it. Again some video, which I could actually see during the last half of the set or so. I was expecting something different from Tsurisaki Kiyotaka, these were images of a demonstration in Palestine (maybe), and some military parade and Japanese flags. A couple of corpses, of course. The set started with a quiet and long intrumental part without drums at first. I like their sound, but this was a bit too long and pretty. Then a louder part with voice before going back to another quiet section and back to loud again. A bit too much prettiness even in the louder parts, which was distracting. But I did like the set, especially the end when it all dissolved in a storm of feedback. I like sludge a lot, and it was a treat to hear this live, because they have a great sound, and because I don’t have enough opportunities. And because I just like Corrupted and had never heard them live before.

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

July 9th, 2008: Gravetemple

@point ephemere

Two days in a row in that place, that’s probably enough for a while. The more I go there, the less I like it. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why, but it kinda gives me the creeps. Anyway, there were definitely more people than the previous day, not a surprise, but I would have expected even more, as Stephen O’Malley has his following. There were a lot of people outside though, so it’s not because people are away. Go figure.

No opening band, which sucks, but maybe they didn’t find someone suitable. The single set lasted way over an hour, but they sure had time for an opening set anyway. Gravetemple was a trio for most of the set, but were joined by a drummer in the last part. I was expecting something more doomish from Csihar/Ambarchi/SOMA, but I thought it was lighter, even though still slow and somber. Definitely less physical than Sunn O))) or even KTL, and Oren Ambarchi was interesting as usual. The part with the drummer was a nice twist because that guy was pretty frantic, which contrasted with the other’s pace but somehow actually worked. He did slow down a little and the others did pick up a little speed, but the gap remained a big one. I liked that a lot, as it brought in a new element to what looked a bit too much like business as usual, which each performer pretty much doing what one could expect from him.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , | Leave a comment

July 8th, 2008: DJ Scotch Egg / Ove-Naxx / Bogulta / Maruosa

@point ephemere

Breakcore for the most part, a tour called Osaka Invasion because all performers are from this city. I also picked up a compilation by the same name that features more Osaka artists, and was issued by the De-fragment label, who seem to have a few cool things going from a quick look at their site — people able to read Japanese can probably get a clearer picture. I got to chat a little with a guy from this label, who was very nice even though the sparse attendance could have made him grouchy. Sparse as in maybe ten for the first set, and maybe into the fifties at the end, and even that probably includes people from the venue and the tour crew. Probably not a good sign for further gigs from these people around here.

Maruosa opened the evening and I loved his set. Basically breakcore, but with cookie monster vocals. I had never thought of that combination but it makes perfect sense, and also made for a good show, as he went screaming and jumping around despite the almost empty room. Latecomers missed something, minor payback for being so embarrassingly hip. He seems to have at least another interesting project, so that Osaka scene sure looks worth a closer look.

In the offensive hipster section, I just don’t get how Bogulta can have been compared to Lightning Bolt — actually, I think it’s because of the bass/drums lineup. No relation, really. In part because their heavy use of samples made their sound richer, as in containing more. But really that was nowhere as savage and they actually played on stage. A distant cousin at most, and far less interesting. The drummer was OK, but all that speed was kinda running in circles at times. Good moments, but not enough for me.

Ove Naxx turned out to be my favorite, not really a surprise in itself, but his set was far quieter and slower than I expected. Maybe even too slow to qualify as breakcore most of the time. But the sound was great and his samples were very interesting and unusually organic, with complex patterns that just made my day. There were more regular moments as well, but I was most impressed by the start of his set. But even though I thought he didn’t reach that high level later on, the whole set was nonetheless consistently good.

DJ Scotch Egg ended the gig, and was the best showman in the evening. It probably helped to have more than ten people, but it still was sparse. He motioned for everyone to get closer, came down the stage a few times and was generally moving around and connecting with people — not that often the case with this kind of music. The gamish flavor of his samples were very much in tune with his lighthearted demeanor, and the set was a blast, even though I’m not that much into his music.

Later edit:

I listened to that sampler CD, and both for the record and if Takehito Miyagi happens to stumble upon this and wants suggestions for another tour — long shots indeed — my favorite tracks so far on that sampler — beyond Ove Naxx — were cycheouts G, KA4U and especially Doddodo. Nice work putting that together, sir.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 10th, 2008: Xiu Xiu

@point ephemere

There actually was an opening band, but I didn’t catch their name and they were not listed anywhere I looked. They said they had been asked the very morning of the gig, so I guess that explains the lack of information. Two guys, one singing and on guitar, the other going through a bunch of instruments including bass, keyboard and melodica. It had its moments, but not very interesting.

I went to see Xiu Xiu despite not liking the singer’s voice at all, and the gig only reinforced that dislike. But that was just a minor annoyance most of the time, as the music was consistently interesting, especially rhythmically — good drummer, but really it’s the songwriting that made the difference. And the songs’ structure was often great, with breaks and surprises — so much so that it kinda cut on the surprise. My favorite moments were at the very beginning and close to the end, when the singer put aside the guitar in favor of percussions. There was a physical engagement there that I liked a lot. An added bonus was that the added pounding was not underlining what the drummer was doing, more like adding another layer altogether, reaching new levels of rhythmic structure to an already tastefully intricate base. I liked that gig, but really I could do without his singing.

May 14, 2008 Posted by | Music | , | Leave a comment