25 July 08
The Empty Bottle
James Moy - Synth + Mix
Mark Solotroff - Vocals + Electronics
01. PORN LORDS
02. NIGHT STRIKES
03. ANGEL OF DARKNESS
04. MIND THE GAP
05. OUTSIDE THE GATE
06. PHASES : FOUR
07. TWO DROPS OF BLOOD
08. CIRCULAR RELATIONS LAKE STREET
09. GRUDGE (ONE)
10. VISITING AN EX-GIRLFRIEND IN THE HOSPITAL – AIDS WARD
11. LAKE STREET
13. WITHIN THE WALLS
A total blow-out! What a ridiculously over-the-top line-up to pack into a Friday night show, after the early Empty Bottle honkey-tonk thing...
We kicked things off, hoping to keep the intensity at a maximum level, as this was our first Chicago show as a duo... amusing, after playing at the Empty Bottle last month as a five-piece. Aside from some minor glitches, primarily caused by me trampling some power cords, or something, things went really well, in my opinion. James did the double synth thing, handling the highs and the lows, all the while keeping the mix of vocals really strong and loud. We did "PHASES : FOUR" again and I think that it went really well. We also brought back a couple of older tracks that we had not played in ages, so that was nice for me, too. Andrea from Rabid Rabbit - as if totally on cue - called out for a "Garfield Park song," right as I was about to announce "TWO DROPS OF BLOOD." Perfect timing! The new songs really needed Isidro on vocals, and the absence of Pieter and/or Xavier caused me to run a marathon across the stage, but I am far less bruised up, at least.
Bruce Lamont was up after us and he set up in a dramatically lit position on the floor, in front of the stage, and he played an excellent set of vocals, sax, and guitar -- all composed with his masterful use of looping and layering -- to an extremely attentive audience that formed around him in a close semi-circle.
Oakeater played third and showed yet another side to their developing multi-faced D&D die of sounds. Things really kicked in when the set reached its most rhythmic. I heard that their Saturday set was very similar, so I am sorry to have missed that, too.
Hive Mind came on next, and -- keeping in mind that I have seen Greh play many, many times -- including a few of his best-sounding shows at the Empty Bottle -- I was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY. This marked the first time that I have seen this newer phase-two style of Hive Mind, live, and from the moment that he started, I could tell that this was going to be a more aggressive and a differently composed type of performance. Sure, at points it had some of the soothing-yet-unsettling aspects of the Hive Mind of the past, but this was a rare example of the amazing, elevated synth work that we are seeing from a select group of our friends, this year. Yes!
And then there was Hair Police. What the fuck? I had not yet heard the "Certainty of Swarms" CD (I have since remedied that), so I had no idea that Trevor's drumming was going to kick in with such a different style and such a fast pace, compared to previous Hair Police songs/shows/recordings... The composition of the songs was really different to me... Robert's electronics had more amazing isolated moments where you could focus on them... and Mike pushed the front-man thing further... to the front, obviously... So, maybe H.P. Mk. III? I cannot wait to dig deeper into their excellent new CD and to have another opportunity to see this evolved style in action.
Thanks to Mike, Robert, Trevor, and Greh, for having us on board. Thanks to everyone at the Empty Bottle, as always, for the great hospitality. Thanks to Bruce, Seth, Jeremy, and Alex, for having us on the bill with them. Thanks to all of our friends who got there early to catch us - and for having such great energy while we were playing.
Take-away tacos from San Juan Pozoleria and take-away PBR from the club made for a great late-night session in the backyard. Nice to have Jeremy/Ghost Ice there, for a while, since I missed his show on Saturday. Late-morning espresso and snacks session, as always, then an afternoon trip to Kuma's with just shy of a dozen of us. Gotta' say, the Bongzilla (the July special) was totally amazing and should get added permanently. Great to have Greh and V. around for an extended visit. Non-stop weekend... a necessary distraction, for sure. Back to reality, I suppose. Looking forward to a totally Envenomistic weekend ahead! MEAT!!