counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

April 25th, 2009: Battant / Telepathe / The Baboon Show

@maroquinerie

I like this festival. There has been some very cool gigs over the years, and I like the theme in that it’s a great excuse to get very eclectic.

I had mixed feelings about The Baboon Show for most of their set. Efficient and pretty cool garage/punk, but a little too clean and played by the book — that’s a common issue for me with Swedish bands. Nice but lacking something to grab my attention. But they actually did that at the end, through a wonderful cover of The Smiths’ There is a light that never goes out. That was a stroke of genius, turning this cool but overplayed song into a punk tune. That was a difference-maker as it comes to my opinion of their set.

Speaking of changing my mind, I read what I wrote about Telepathe the first time I saw them, close to one year ago: “I would not go to a gig they open for them alone”. Boy did I change my mind. First I bought their record months later, and a bunch of songs were already familiar, a sure sign their performance had left its mark. It’s been a favorite ever since, especially Chrome’s on it — that’s a totally great song — but the whole record is a blast, bringing in bits and pieces from two or three decades of music and making something new. So I would go to hear them live without a second thought, it would even take something special to have me pass on such an opportunity. And I was not disappointed. If anything, I live them better live than on their record, there’s more of an edge to it, with the drumming having a lot to do with that impression. Even though the sound was not that good — some voice parts were a bit drowned out — they did keep the best of the songs and made them better suited to the live context. It’s a little different in a good way in that I think some parts of the record are a bit overproduced. The only song I did like but not as much was chrome’s on it. I would have liked a longer set, so I just reverse my misguided earlier position: I would definitely go to one of their gig without anyone opening. As a bonus, one of them told me that DJ/Rupture did a remix for them — he had them on his show for a chat a couple of months ago — and I can’t wait to hear this.

Obviously I was not at my most open for the Battant after this. Maybe that’s why I kinda tuned out the first half or so, totally failing to appreciate it. I liked the second half better, but it still felt a bit too mainstream, in the sense that I heard such things too many times. Telepathe was a tough act to follow especially on that count, so I guess I’d better not make much of this first impression.

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April 28, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

May 22nd, 2008: Crystal Castles / Fuck Buttons / Telepathe

@trabendo

I wasn’t sure about would be the headlining band, I kinda expected Fuck Buttons to be the main act, what with all the buzz they’ve been getting recently. This was not the case, and I figured that out just from the youth of the audience; a sure sign that the crowd drawing act is one I’ve never heard about. On the other hand, the second set was the longest. Go figure.

It all started pretty well, with a nice surprise from Telepathe. Nothing earth-shattering, but nice and fresh mix of samples, drums and voices, with a splash of guitar. I’d have gladly bought a record, but all they had were T-shirts, and the guitar player didn’t seem too much into his ware-peddling duties anyway. I would not go to a gig they open for them alone, but their presence should tip the balance if I’m hesitating.

Then it was on to Fuck Buttons, the reason I was there in the first place. Good almost continuous set, much more controlled — in a good way — than the first time I saw them, yet more interesting at the same time, due to more different sounds and the use of a keyboard and especially a tom — used to great effect for a while. Still a marked noise heritage, but more accessible despite the distorted voice and almost danceable, with many things beyond the first impression. Not experimental but they would probably make a great gate band, bringing more people to be exposed to the more adventurous stuff — it might even work the other way, but I’m not holding my breath on that. I had seen them a couple of years ago when they opened for Family Battle Snake and Minitel and I remember chatting a little with them and leaving with both a CD and the impression that they were nice guys.

Now that I’ve listened to their latest CD, I have to had that it does little justice to the way they sound live. Their live sound is rougher, and all the better for it; the CD is too clean and that production removed the most interesting bits. Still a nice record, but way too nice. Being better live than in a studio is a plus as far as I’m concerned, so that’s not a bad thing. I’ll be there next time, is all, and I hope I won’t have to wait two years.

The crowd went wild for Crystal Castles, me excluded. I was bored close to actually leaving, but I stayed for the whole of their mercifully short set. Boring drummer, grating samples. The singer was a bit better, though she seemed to stick to whispering or screaming, with some vocoder for a change of pace. Whorish music, tailored to appeal and reminiscent of the worst the eighties had to inflict, with a brand new shining coat of paint but I lived those and have no wish to go through that again.

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment