Man, I feel like I just finished a three day run at Hampton with the good ol' GD this morning, but the payoff was seeing alot of great music. Diversity was the theme as each show was in a different venue and the headliners were all from different countries.
OOIOO & Kinski Bukake Climax
Friday, March 23, 2007
Chop Suey on Capitol Hill
OOIOO is another side project of the Boredoms singer/guitarist Yoshimi P-We (sidenote, the Flaming Lips Yoshimi album was named for her, she also has a band called Free Kitten).
Before their set, Kinski Bukake Climax put on a monster performance. It was a freewheeling experimental music supergroup, featuring members of Kinski, The Boredoms and The Climax Golden Twins. There were three drummers, two bassists, a keyboardist, a flautist, a vocalist and at least two guitar players in on the jam. It was hard to see how many guitarists there were because the stage was so crowded, they had to set up on the floor below the stage. They played two songs in 45 minutes. The first tune began in kind of an ambient/new-age vein with the flute player (a dead-ringer for Herbie Mann) backing some harmonic chanting by the vocalist. The vibe got progressively grimier as the jam took off, and by the second drone, the vocalist was channeling gruff menacing tones like a grindcore band. Not for the feebleminded, but this wound up being some of the most interesting music of the week.
Chop Suey is a pretty small club with a disco ball and elevated stage and pretty decent sound. After stepping out for a safety break, the headliners took the stage. OOIOO is an all-female, all-Japanese band. With the Boredoms connection I was expecting something a little more experimental, but the show suprised me by being a jamband vehicle. The drummer, bassist and Yoshimi carry this band. At first it sounded similar to Phish and King Crimson, but lacking the electric guitar avatars each of those bands sports. The guitarist for this band was simply amateurish. She was allright eye candy, but it was hard to see how she'd gotten the gig considering the caliber of musicians she was playing with. The weird thing was that the jamband textures flew just fine without a hot lead guitar. Yoshimi is definitely channeling from other galaxies. She plays weird time signature rhythm guitar that would make Bob Weir seem downright normal, sings like a banshee in a fit of erotic ecstasy, and threw in a little trumpet to boot. The tunes with the trumpet reminded me of the early Mothers of Invention work. I had to let the crew I'd gone with head out to party on as I had to be at work with a fairly clear head on Saturday morning to train a new employeee. While I could have seen reggae artist Clinton Fearon or jazz bassist Dave Holland Saturday night, I gave myself one night off from shows.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I'd seen the Abyssinians at Larry's Nightclub in Pioneer Square shortly after moving here two years ago. That club got closed due to excessive violent activities causing their liquor license to get pulled (it was the joint that Seahawks' safety Ken Hamelin got his head kicked in causing him to miss a season). Nectar is apparently going to be a major player in the reggae scene here. Clinton Fearon played there the night before and was in attendance for this show. The club is in one of the trendier nightlife areas in town, and the hipsters came out to pack the place. They have a balcony with tables, but it's a pretty small venue and was jampacked. The show started with some dready white guy vocalist being backed by the Abyssinians' band. Apparently this guy is local and has performed at many a Hempfest. He'd been working on his dreads for a while as they were hanging down past his ass. My buddy Dan said "you probably saw him on Dead tour." He did resemble many a (not so) kind veggie burrito vendor from the days of yore. All appearances aside, the set was pretty decent roots reggae, although one too many references to Jah ("Jah bless you", "give praises to Jah", Jah-di-fricking dah-di-dah) had me asking Dan what he thought this guy's folks' reaction was the first time they heard him referring to God as Jah.
The Abyssinians came on and played a wonderful set. There is only one of the original three vocalists, but it was the same trio I'd seen two years hence and once again, they did not dissapoint. The bass, drums and guitarist that had backed the first guy were joined for parts of this set by a trombonist and tenor saxophonist. It was a dance set all the way, and the crowd was up and grooving for the whole shebang. Two old warhorses, "Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego," and "Satta Massagana" stood out.
Badly Drawn Boy
Monday, March 25, 2007
There were a couple of opening solo singer/guitarist acts, but my friends and I skipped them to get some grub and stash our safety gear in the car as the nightclub was being menacingly draconian in their enforcement of safety regulations.
Neumo's is a long brick warehouse with an elevated stage at one end, a balcony, 4 bars and a really loud sound system. I'd last seen BDB down in L.A. when a girlfriend turned me on to "The Hour of Bewilderbeast" and had thought they were outstanding. This show had a much different vibe, but also delivered. The first time I'd seen Damon Gough and co. they were riding the wave of mass critical acclaim and audience recognition. All sunshine and goofs and gags about Springsteen being in the house. This show was way different.
It was obvious that Damon had trouble on his mind when the band came out. He apologized and said he needed a moment to get his head together. He actually seemed pretty lit. Turns out that his maternal grandfather had just passed away and the funeral was the next day. He talked about how it had been a long tour and he was missing his kids, but that this show and every one left on the tour was going to be dedicated to his grandfather and would be "the best show of my life." His bandmates were obviously helping him get through his grief both with fantastic playing and encouraging nods and smiles. The place was only about 3/4 full. The extra space was nice, but Damon had to light into the audience a couple of times for poor form. The first was when some drunk girl kept yelling out requests, saying "Do this" or "Do that". Damon stopped the show cold and said "Don't you tell me what to fucking do. It's my show and I'll do whatever the fuck I want." It sounds menacing, but the lady was being a boor and he ended up giving her a hug after she apologized. The second incident occurred as he was telling the story of how he wrote a song for a musician friend who failed to show up for a recording session after disappearing on Corsica. Once again, he stopped in mid-ramble to say to a group of chatterlies , "Excuse me, but would you please shut the fuck up so I can tell this story?" Turned out his friend had died falling off a cliff and wasn't located for two years. After all that you may have thought the show might get a little dark, but things lifted nicely from there. He did a medley of mostly solo acoustic numbers mid-set, occasionally backed by xylophone. He was trying to perform "This Song" but he kept blowing the opening lyric, funnily stating that "by the way, this is the biggest horseshit lyric I've ever written. This song will not help you in any way at all" before saying "ah, fuck it" and going straight into "The Shining". This is probably his marquee song from "Bewilderbeast". Unlike the lp version and the first time I saw him do it live, there was no transition into "Everybodys Stalking" but instead an extended round of "Sunshine all over you, warm sun all over me" choruses. The band came back to finish the set. The bass player is incredible, and reminded me of a young John Entwistle. The guitar player was working the dorky Buddy Holly look with bad British teeth to match! The encore began with Damon playing acoustic guitar over a tape loop of steel drums to the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back." I was hoping for "Everybodys Stalking" or "Pissing In The Wind" for a show closer, but instead we were given an epic cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing". He'd fucked around with the chords of it at the show I'd seen in L.A., but I never expected them to work up a full version of it. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it didn't suck. He'd also thrown in some "Jungleland" quotes when at the keyboard earlier when someone yelled out "Bruce", so it's safe to say that he's got a Springsteen and Journey fetish. All in all, this was a great show by a grieving artist pouring his soul into his music for solace. The guy is going through a rough spell, but it's clear that the music was helping him get through it.
Son Volt/Magnolia Electric Co.
I had a huge lp trade-in come in a half hour before close, so I was concerned that I was a little behind the eight ball getting to the venue. Turned out there was another opening act. I forget their name, but I caught their last two tunes, which seemed to be adrenaline fueled rock and roll a la the Stones. Magnolia Electric Co. soon followed, and all I can say is wow, go see this band. I had no idea they were this good. They're a three piece. Guitar, drums and keyboards. The music was all original, but was clearly influenced by Neil Young and Crazyhorse. A short, sweet 45 minute set. I'll definitely go see them the next time they come back to headline.
The piped in music during the setbreak was a little alarming. Friggin' Seals & Crofts and Little River Band. Enough of this Yacht Rock pheneomenon already, arggggghhh!!!!
Jay Farrar and Son Volt came out and played a high energy hour and 45 minute set. They're a five piece, two guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. For a couple of numbers they were joined by a trumpeter and sax player. The lead guitar player is some shit-hot hipster who was working the Ryan Adams skinny ass, dorky glass, heroin chic look. The boy could sure play though! Farrar has been getting knocked around some for recent Son Volt albums and shows being a little drowsy. Not the case this time out, as these guys rocked hard from start to finish. The bass and drums were solid, but the keyboardist was next to impossible to hear in the mix. Interestingly, when they came out for the encores, Farrar pulled up to the piano and you could hear him loud and clear. I don't know what tune he plinked out, but after he finished it he strapped his acoustic back on and the show finished with a great version of "Windfall" followed by an insane medley of the Stones' "Bitch" with the horn players right into Neil Young's "Pocohantas" to finish the show.
Four shows, four diffferent venues, four different countries of origin, five nights in the Emerald City. Yeah!
Nice review, Dave! I haven't done a run of different shows like that in a while. Could use that right about now.
This is great...thanks!
Very cool review, Dave, especially since I have not heard a note from the first two bands you saw. Once again, time to broaden my horizons...again, thank yo for the review, and glad you had a great run.
Wow...You've been busy!
damn, I wish I had thought to look you up when I was in Seattle last week. Saw Skerik and the Illuminasty Trio at the Triple Door 3/23
Sorry I missed you. The Triple Door is the best sounding room in the city. Hope you enjoyed your visit and the show!