This weekend went by in a blur... Isidro, Heber, and I, went to see Neurosis and Minsk, last night, at the Logan Square Auditorium. U.S. Christmas from North Carolina opened up, and their style of Theremin-infused, spaced-out, psychedelic stoner/doom (Hawkwind, "Tab"-era Monster Magnet, Comets On Fire, maybe even Chrome) was a very nice introduction to an intense long night. Minsk played an excellent, dynamic, trance-inducing set, augmented by guest player Bruce Lamont on sax/loops. This was probably my favorite Minsk set, yet, and they seemed to take advantage of the cavernous, echoing sound at LSA. After seeing Neurosis several times in the 1990s, it has been a while, for me. I have continued to follow their progress, even if the last few albums have not held up for me out as well as most of their earlier material has. But as a live force, Neurosis has really mastered their craft. They have fully realized their grasp of dynamics... learning well from later Swans CDs, regarding how to build slowly, hypnotize with repetition, then knock you back to reality with bombast. They were tight as hell, they rocked hard, and their video, while "simpler" an affair than it used to be, was extremely well executed and was a great accompaniment to the sound.
The weekend also included some DVD viewing: "Zoo" (a bit dull and something of a letdown), "Le Boucher" (a great old Claude Chabrol film), and "Chacun Sa Nuit" ('One To Another" - a fairly disappointing, newer French film).
Friday's show was a lot of fun. Tom from Rococo Records called me at about 4:00 PM to let me know that Pink Reason and Psychedelic Horseshit had been in a van crash, or something like that, and that they were not headed for Chicago. A couple of telephone calls later, and Terence Hannum (Locrian, Unlucky Atlas) and Druids Of Huge had agreed to jump on board at the last minute. Terence opened up the night with a densely woven sound, taking elements from his side of Locrian, building up amazing loops of melodica, harmonica, and voice, and laying them over decayed backing tapes. His set was easily as compelling as the best Locrian sets that I have seen --- no offense, Andre! Check out his brand new New Order-inspired (the packaging, silly) solo cassette, if you can track one down. Druids Of Huge played a monster set - to family and to friends - with a clearer mix than I have frequently heard with them -- definitely a plus -- and a good time to interject that the sound guy from MPShows did a fucking great job! Ben's drums had an excellent wallop, Jon's guitar sliced through the mix - in a distorted and fuzzy sort of slicing motion, and Brett's electronics/tapes acted like the gross glue between the other two instruments. Always a pleasure to have their hybrid style in the mix. I played next, and as soon as the feedback started to really build, I saw fingers go in ears and I saw bodies head back into the front bar. I guess it got that bad. In fact, at one point, I started to smell that awful odor of burning wiring, or whatever it is that PA systems start to do in early meltdown. After changing my mind about what content to use, I looked for some inspiration and then settled on a reprise of this past Spring's "Melting" phase. I was really pleased with the results, overall, even if it was a more subdued and controlled performance. John Wiese and C. Spencer Yeh played next, and all that I can really say is that the combination of their two styles made such perfect sense in this live context. More analog versus more digital. More organic versus more processed. Soft versus loud. Subtle versus harsh. Like a true duo, the two built up a dynamic set that was really nice to watch unfold. I was really glad that I got to see this performance. It really clicked for me. The New Flesh were up next, and I need to cannibalize something that I posted on the noise board to discuss their sound... They made me think of a cross between the heaviness and the repetition of early Swans records, but played by guys in a punk or a hardcore band. I always used to imagine an impossible dream-cross between Swans and Discharge --- in about late-1983/early-1984, I had a cassette that was glued to my first Walkman: Swans "Filth" on one side, Discharge "Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing" on the other --- and while this was not exactly it --- it was in that imaginary stylistic neighborhood... The New Flesh have no need for slicing guitar solos, like Discharge, though, and actually, the guitar and the bass are very much in sync. More like a two-bass band. Early Cop Shoot Cop, minus the samples, maybe? Who knows??? The Rococo folks drew the reference to early Amphetamine Reptile, and while I was never a fan of too much AmRep stuff, I definitely get the connection.
We ended the night at Continental, where the DJs churned out a great blend of druggy glitter, glam, and classic late-60's/early-70's rock mixed with Motown and girl group stuff. The late night conversation continued at home, and it seemed like no amount of espresso could make things right on Saturday afternoon...
Thanks to Tom at Rococo, for getting things sorted out for the show, in the first place. Thanks to the MPShows folks, for the opportunity, and for the smooth running show. Thanks to Terence, Ben, Brett, and Jon, for the last-minute save. Thanks to everyone who came out to support -- we filled the room up quite nicely!
Here is a quick video clip of me that an observant friend sent me the link to:
Here is a quick snapshot:
And a self-portrait in yet another foul bathroom:
Whoever took the video and the first photo - feel free to get in touch - so I can credit you, if you want...