20090715

last weekend, so much music

I woke up Saturday at noon after two nights in a row of playing really strenuous Ettrick sets at really late-starting, slow-moving, not-home-until-3am rock shows. I immediately grabbed an apple and walked 5 blocks down the street to the Golden TrapperKeeper Lodge for Godwaffle Noise Pancakes. It was only 5 minutes past noon, but My Daddy Ate My Eyes was already playing (as verbally confirmed via Q&A with a pancake-eating in the adjacent kitchen). Really pleasant music for waking up. A constant mechanical metronome pulse underlaid some nice electronic music. I want to say reminiscent of classic tape music, but I can't really remember what it sounded like, other than that I was enjoying it a lot. I was the only person sitting in the room with the musicians (actually right between them) and the speakers (ditto), which is an unfortunate aspect of that performance space, as the music sounded notably better than it did heard from the kitchen. The musician sitting on the floor next to me was playing simple-but-effective sounds on a processed guitar and a drum machine. The guy standing to my left had the metronome standing on a hi hat, and some electronics. Pain for the Party played similarly pleasant music with Max/MSP, accompanied by ASCII/Walt Disney animations. 60s Residue was loud and active noise, very choppy, kind of cartoonish. It went well with the video still being projected. Barry Threw closed the show with some nice laptop ganulator stuff. The set was cut short by some technical problem, which was too bad. The watermelon was great, the pancakes have become thoroughly edible over the years (though the last one or two I ate were too rubbery to cut with my fork), and alas the coffee man didn't show up.

After making my own coffee at home and gathering my belongings, I walked to Civic Center, hopped on BART and made my way to 21 Grand for the Skronkathon. Right after Corpsevapor (Heule/Korber/Dryer) played, an impostor set up his gear and played in place of some folks who had not shown up. Really fucking loud noise generated by a turntable with a carving fork in place of a tone arm, and a circular saw blade in place of a record. I laughed as I retreated to the alley, and laughed even more when Tom Duff revealed that the masked noise musician was crashing the show. Hanuman Zhang played a pretty weird solo set with constant arrhythmic kick drum beats accompanying and punctuating him haphazardly wailing on piles of garbage and playing electronic toys through the PA. I'd like to see this guy at a future Godwaffle or Pharaoh Maybelline's show. Z_Bug had interesting instrumentation: 2 drum sets, 1 guy playing both bass guitar and Moog synth, and 1 guy playing amplified shorts, or anyway a microphone amplified by a small amp in his pocket which was audible primarily when he was making it feedback. RTD3 was very good, as usual. Great sounds, great pacing, etc. You can tell these guys are very comfortable with each other. David Michalak on lap steel sat in on their last piece, and fit in really well, keeping things pretty minimal. John Hanes & Steve Adams played a really nice laptop duo, both using lloopp. The sound was so united it didn't feel much like a duo. Electronic sounds mixed with warped drum samples, speaking, etc. PG13 was a drum/guitar/alto sax rock trio – very energetic, and made a lot of people smile. sfSound played a really nice improvised set. The woodwinds in particular were a very tight unit, and sounded great. Baker/Djll/Hegelin/Stackpole played a really beautiful brass & gong drone set that made me wonder about releasing a bootleg cassette and blowing the minds of the masses of neo-hippy hipsters blissing out to “non-playing motherfuckers” attempting this same sort of thing. They broke out into other sounds as well, but the long drone intro was what really did it for me. The Robair/Neuberg electronics duo was a nice close to the night. Gino in particular was getting a lot of great sounds out of his Blippoo box set-up. I ate a couple great sausages in the alley, and maybe a half dozen ass-kicking brownies.

Brutalsfx Fest #62 at Pharaoh Maybelline's Sound Trough No Toilet was a natural continuation of Saturday's shows, sort of like a hybrid of the two. I arrived as Copy Lake (the guitarist/drum machinist from My Daddy) was soundchecking his watermelon. Hand in a sloppy hole with a contact mic amplifying all sorts of slurpy sounds. I started snacking and opening tightly sealed jars of pickled vegetables. Ninety seconds later, I turned around and the set was over, Copy Lake was covered in fruit juice. I guess I heard the sounds get louder for a half minute, but the set was damn short. Sound check looked and sounded great, blinked and I missed the real show. Gumball Rimpoche did some weird whining vocalizations over electronic percussion. Donald the Nut started his set with a really nice acoustic guitar trio, which didn't have any chance to shine after the singing started. Circuit-bent SK-5 and other electronics by Anti-Ear really brought a lot to the music. I'm glad his tiny amp was pointed straight at me since he was being perhaps a bit overly polite with his volume level according folks listening from the other end of the alley with the masses. Gino Robair started his Blippoo Box bleeping through the mini-PA and started scraping and hitting everything in sight. Highlights included the marimba-like wooden fence, and the USPS mail crate sanded down on the pavement. Shifted more attention to the electronic performance toward the end of the set. Really great stuff. Fred Rinne's art hanging inside was cool too.

Just for the sake of completeness, I'll mention that I checked out the Upset the Rhythm showcase at the Lab later that night. What a weird sounding room.

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