The Nashville show got moved out to a house in the suburbs on really short notice. Resultingly, nobody showed up, including one band who had a scheduling conflict and another band who was never actually booked for this show. Couldn't have helped that it was a Monday night either. Tap Tap Taparoo Part III showed up and joined the booker and the resident of the house to form an audience of six (the two neighbors stayed in the living room for the whole show, so I'm not counting them). Ettrick squeezed into a sweaty corner of the basement and let loose. The six-member audience was about twice as large as the one the previous night in Kansas City, so we were stoked. Well, we were getting used to it anyway and didn't feel quite so stupid. Tap Tap Taparoo set up their amps in a circle around the perimeter of the small room. Noise that reminded me of Taiwan Deth... it's that Tennessee sound, I guess. An instructional math record was played through a delay pedal throughout the set. Harsh blasts of noise, a couple trombones, etc. Not too shabby. We eventually ate at the fucked up Hermitage Cafe – not quite as bizarre a scene as the last time we were there, but it still pretty much seemed right out of a David Lynch film. I had a poor boy.
Garfield Artworks in Pittsburgh. The guy from the venue showed up ten minutes after show time and informed us, “It's time to rock, gentlemen,” before unlocking the doors. Heroes opened... Sounded kind of like the second wave emo bands that were popular when I was in high school. I might have liked it then. Ettrick was next... finally hitting the groove. Then, the Bronze Age. Contact mics on various objects, guitars, etc. Drones and bashing. Pretty quiet. Pretty good. No delay effects used, which is something I always like to see. Golden Arm Trio closed out the night. They did the soundtrack for A Scanner Darkly, which sounds remarkably similar to the soundtrack to Waking Life, which they did not do. Similar set to the one they played in Oakland a few months back. We got “colossal fish sandwiches” at Primanti Brothers'... an 8-inch slab of fried fish on a 5-inch bun, topped with french fries, cole slaw, etc. Pretty great.
Warehouse Next Door in Washington DC. Apparently this is the only decent venue in town, and apparently it's only got a few months left (so say the locals). Not a warehouse, but a bar with an art gallery upstairs, a live music venue next door (get it?), etc. Ettrick opened, continuing to grow powerful. After the regular set, we were joined by Elliott Levin (a former Cecil Taylor band member whose own website says, “His signature single dread emits musical spores over sidewalks, music halls, and coffeehouses.” Yick.) on 3rd sax, and Scott Verrastro on 3rd drum set. Having just seen Ettrick's self destructive dual drum finale, the guests were all fired up and immediately launched into total balls out playing for the entire short set. Things sounded pretty good, though probably no better than an un-augmented Ettrick line-up. Levin's jazz-schooled approach to sax was the most interesting change. Verrastro and Levin's group, in which they were joined by an acoustic bassist and someone on noisy electronics, was next. Levin threw down some Beat-ish poetry and added flute in this set. The quieter moments, where they got into more timbral playing, were my favorites. The electronics really kept the group from straying too far into a generic free jazz area. Excellent addition. Strangely enough, the Usaisamonster headlined. They seemed a little grittier and noisier than when I last saw them at TT the Bear's in Cambridge. Probably largely because they played on the floor and through a smaller PA than at the last show. Scott brought Ettrick and Elliott to Ben's Chili Bowl after the show. Photos of Bill Cosby, Dave Chappelle and Rerun decorated their wall of fame. I had a fantastic chili half-smoke.
Studio B in Brooklyn. A Polish dance club doing a rock night to accommodate Lightning Bolt's large audience. The staff seemed to not understand or like anything that any of the 7 bands had going on. Oh well. Ettrick opened. High Places were next – kind of a poppier take on the sort of thing Gang Gang Dance does. Pretty sing-songy vocals with folktronic tribal beats. Someone tapped me on the shoulder to point out the front row filled with enraptured young men swooning over the cute singer. Dan Deacon sang along to some electro beats. Reminded me a little of Child Pornography, except in super party mode. Aa consisted of four guys playing pseudo-tribal beats on four drum sets and moaning through delay pedals. This is the sound of Brooklyn... I think. This Heat, ESG sort of thing maybe. XBXRX did their noisy punk thing. Terrible sound, as you would expect in a venue like this. They persevered. Bug Sized Mind reminded me of Yellow Swans, or maybe a happier version of Sixes. Happier meaning less dissonant and harsh. Noise with beats working their way in toward the end. A single (mercifully) short piece. Not terrible or anything, but I don't understand how or why this guy is touring with Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt seemed a bit louder and clearer than at their show at LoBot. Having just seen them, I didn't really pay too much attention. No fantastic greasy food tonight.
Avant Gentlemen's Lodge in Philadelphia. I really like the scene this city has going. Just when you think you're in a room of punk rockers, they all start talking about tonal harmony as if they're all music students. Ettrick opened and played the best set of the tour. Locals, Normal Love, were next. Prog rock in the same vein as Zs. Two guitars, bass, violin and drum set playing odd rhythms more or less in unison. These are some of the music school kids I was talking about. One of my favorite bands from this tour... I better give the myspace link: http://myspace.com/normallove
. Plotkin/Wyskida were up next. Plotkin played laptop and guitar. Static, repetitive stuff. Sounded pretty nice, but was super laid back. Playing the laptop seemed to involve clicking something every five minutes or so, and playing the guitar consisted of adding a new sound to the loop every five minutes or so. The analog synth-sounding laptop stuff was my favorite part, and he played that for the majority of the set anyway. Tim Wyskida added quiet rumbling rolls on the drum set throughout. Pretty quiet and subdued considering the other projects these guys are involved in. Their “Live WFMU” CDR is pretty good – I think it captured a better performance than the one at AGL. Looking at http://plotkinworks.com
, it seems like that disc is a limited-edition, tour-only release. Sorry, suckers. Get it on Soulseek. Ettrick joined Plotkin/Wyskida for the final set of the night. The best elements of their duo retained and injected with some vitality by the “cracked out” (-- Wyskida) style of Ettrick. It seemed very successful to me. I always feel like I should get a cheese steak when I'm in Philly, but I never do. I just ate oatmeal and watched “Night at the Museum” with the Avant Gentlemen inhabiting the Lodge.
After this, we began our return trip, heading west from the Atlantic coast into the heart of the Midwest. To be continued.
Labels: live performance reviews