Gigs, dance, art

October 29th, 2009: Projet Piscine / Ntwin / Jubilé / Zaraz Wam Zagram / Berthold


I was there early so I went for a spiral in a neighborhood I had not seen in years. Some places looked familiar, but there’s been some serious gentrification going on there, and this is a change for the worse to me. It was my first time in this bar, and I pretty much hate the place. Way too much light for me, and there’s even a mirror. But despite all this I knew early on I would enjoy the show because a darkest cloud had been lifted.

Still, I had some trouble getting into Berthold‘s set. I guess I can blame Benjamin’s contributions here for setting a high bar, but at first it was a little too mundane rock for me. That got better as the set went on, and they added a few wrinkles to a steady basis. It remained too predictable for my taste, but I really enjoyed their last couple songs for some reason.

I’m grateful for all he’s doing setting up gigs all around, but I wish he was playing more often. Again, Zaraz Wam Zagram used sounds I love with sounds I hate, usually at the same time. He started with something almost catchy, close to a beat, before shooting that down. I still don’t know if I hated or loved the high feedbackish tone he pulled out at the end of his set, and that’s a big part of what’s interesting in his music. I didn’t like the middle of the set, but I suspect part of that was intentional after the catchy start. I just wish he had used the tapes more, because I just love this medium, but that was a good set.

Jubilé had a good guitar sound, but it took me a while to like what they were doing with it. At first it sounded a bit confused, but I guess it was their getting used to the place. Much better as the set progressed, and I really liked their last song. It reminded me of a fave Oneida live tune, without that reference spoiling the moment. I think they would have been better off building that one up and stopping on a peak though. Or maybe playing the exhaustion card all the way.

Ntwin‘s set was the one I liked the least. Way too much control there. That alone spoiled it for me, because they had the right involvement and energy, but they seemed too much in control and that made the set a little cold. They seemed to have some mic issues at the very end and that little glitch probably helped me because I did like their last couple of songs best.

Projet Piscine did play even though I thought it would be too late, but that set was again a short one — at least what I heard, maybe I left too quickly. The first song was very different from what I had heard before, close to krautrock in its relentlessness. I totally love this new direction, so maybe they should record their second album before the first indeed. The second song was closer to what I expected, pop and new wave with something both earnest and aware of the history. The third and last song — at least for me — was a personal favorite, because I think it’s not as much a song as a template, a synth backbone supporting vocal and guitar forays. I think it’s a great live song, because it leaves so much room to whatever might be happening, while retaining a definite identity. Maybe it’s better not to attempt recording it.


November 1, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment

June 28th, 2009: Elwis Presley Lieben Toten / Antilles / Damien Schultz / Mr Marcaille / Projet Piscine / aka_bondage

A pretty good start with a diverse set by aka_bondage. Sometimes close to noise, sometimes percussive, featuring loops, samples and his trademark stringed antlers. He used a bow when the latter was involved, and that might have been my favorite part — though the first one was real cool as well. I know he’s been around for a while, but I had only heard him as part of a bigger project not that long ago, so that was a nice discovery for me.

Back when I first heard Projet Piscine, I was surprised at my liking them despite a eightiesish sound. I don’t whether they evolved or I just paid more attention, but except for a very Cureish bass sound during one song, it’s really not that dated. I was actually more thinking about mid-nineties Sonic Youth during their set, for some reason that isn’t all that clear to me. It definitely has something to do with the singer’s inflections at times. Anyway, it’s not a big deal because whatever influences showed up, those were integrated into something definitely theirs and current. And though they do have a rather consistent sound, their songs are not alike, that kept me interested throughout. I went to my original post about them and read that I wondered whether they were good or I was in a good mood. This time my mood was sour and I their set was my favorite anyway, so that pretty much settles it. In between I had heard them once for a very short set, botched in a way but that I liked a lot because it was rougher. Another promising thing about them is that people who have told me about them don’t agree much on what they like about them; I take that to mean I still missed a lot and will hear new things the next time.

Mr Marcaille brough something totally different, basically playing metal on cello. Throw in some serious feedback and drum kicks, and it was indeed metal, the cello bringing a different touch but not straying into some ironic fusion at all. As is often the case with metal, I did enjoy it at first, but kinda lost interest toward the end. A bit too much of the same thing, that’s all. But cool enough for a while.

Damien Schultz is always challenging for me, because I don’t like words, so I have a hard time getting into spoken word acts. I just tend to block out the words and focus on the flow. He’s suitably relentless and rather on the fast side, which help. Not my favorite performance of his, but not a poor one either.

I was quite impressed by Antilles. I had last seen them two years ago, but hadn’t quite got it at the time. Erik Minkkinen was just as creative as usual, this time his guitar was flat on a table and he started by playing a beat that was close in role to bass even though the effects made it sound more synth-like. Again, I really liked what Lionel Fernandez did, I once thought he was too loud and assertive, but I’ve changed my mind in the past year or so. He’s probably both, but the difference is I get it now. The drummer was a big part of why I liked this set, in that he not just grounding the thing but really had an equal part. The whole had an almost trance like quality, especially the encore, driven with a rich sound with featured clear sounds and a dense texture.

Elwis Presley Lieben Toten saw their set impaired by technical difficulties and cut short by curfew. Laptop, guitar, megaphone and power tools for an electro-punk hybrid that had cool moments but I just had a problem with the beats. Hard to say with those less than ideal conditions, and their playing last probably didn’t help, so I’d probably like a second look.

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

September 14th, 2007: Api uiz / Le club des chats / Oso el roto / Projet Piscine


It had been a long time I hadn’t been to a gig set up by Kliton, I think that would date back to January or so. I like what they do, but I often had other plans. I’m also selling a bridge or two.

Projet Piscine was unknown to me, but I was pleasantly surprised. Keyboards/voice and bass duo, the surprise came from their sound. It felt very eightiesish to me, but I actually liked it, even though I’m not usually fond of such old stuff. The lack of drums didn’t bother me at all, which is another unusual reaction. I’d like to check them out again in a few months, see if that’s just a weird mood of mine or just their being good. For now I’ll settle on the latter.

The next act was no surprise, as I’ve seen Oso el Roto many times. More of his trademark nonsense lyrics and voice games. It can be fun, but I was not receptive tonight.

I had heard about le club des chats, but never seen them before. Light-hearted and fun, at least at first. It did grow old for me about halfway through though. I don’t know, but I would have like them to stray from that routine somehow; on the other hand, there would have been no point for them to do that.

Last, but definitely not least, Api Uiz took the stage. Like by storm. They play loud and fast, a guitar/bass/drums trio without vocals. Not that a singer would have been heard anyway. That felt good. Some good old noise/punk music with an unstable balance. After all that jazz lately, I guess I needed this. I should aim for some balance myself in the coming months.

I was pleased to see the room filling up after a sparse beginning. I hope this event was successful enough for them to plan more gigs in the near future. They are good people and deserve some support.


September 14, 2007 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment