07.03.02 - 1:26 p.m.
Dana & I went to a show last night. I hadn't been out in forever (negative income will do that to you), so it was nice to dip my toes in the cultural pool once more. This particular splash took place at Bottom of the Hill, where Dana's friend Ryan was doing a video performance. Laptop musik was provided by Lesser and Blevin Blectum. *
Now I'm as much a fan of impenetrable glitchy electronica (ok, I said it. I SAID IT, ARE YOU HAPPY) as the next man, but you have to admit that it is not exactly riveting to watch two bedroom boffins get up on stage with their laptops (Macs, of course) and click listlessly for an hour. This is why putting on a simultaneous video show was such a great idea.
The film itself was nothing more than digital footage of Ryan, Blevin & Lesser walking through golden gate park. Despite the minimal subject matter, it was strangely hypnotic. Digital cameras are super crisp. Ryan ran a lot of the footage in slow motion, but he had a remote control that he used to periodically change the video speed (sometimes fast-fwding using a weird choppy filter that transformed the image into partially scrambled digitized blocks... hard to describe but very cool) so that the effects sync'd to the music. They drifted through fields, over bleachers, under trees... it was like watching someone's daydream.
Furthermore, Blevin & Lesser had the audio from the movie as a channel in the mix, so they would occasionally drop sounds from the movie into their music as it was happening. e.g. there would be footage of dogs running on-screen, and they'd be barking, & Blevin/Lesser would turn the barks into beats that integrated tightly with the other sounds in the mix. Haha I can hear your snide remarks. "OOH, dogs barking? sign me up!" But for real, it was impressive.
For me though, the highlight of the show was Nate Denver's Neck. The band is just one guy, signed to King Crab (label owned by Mick Turner from Dirty Three). Pitchfork has some less than kind words to say on the subject.
Nate Denver's Neck (or Nate, as I shall call him) came onstage dressed as the Grim Reaper, accompanied only by a drum machine. He had the black robe & a skull mask, and when he took the skull mask off his face was painted ghoulish white. He also had a blade attached to the end of his guitar so it looked like a scythe. I am always happy when someone puts a little effort into their look for a rock show. Clown costumes and gorilla suits are also acceptable.
Nate's set was both short and intensely entertaining. It veered quite literally between balls-out death metal and witty, acoustic ballads about dancers in Swan Lake. To quote from his website, "I wanted to make a death metal record but Iím not good enough at guitar yet, so I made this folk record." Indeed. He was just so goofy & likeable-- you felt like giving him a hug. I didn't actually do this though. He was probably sweating like a pig underneath that black Death robe, and I didn't want to smell like sweat & death.
It's funny that Dana acts like she doesn't have that many friends, but whenever we go out we meet a gaggle of people she knows. I really like her friends-- they seem to be mostly creative types, but not pretentiously or insufferably so. And, talk about small worlds: we were hanging out with this guy Chris last night, and it turns out he was drummer for the Adults! They were a Pixies-esque (say that 5 times fast) band from Austin. I reviewed their album "Action Street" when I was at KTRU. We talked about the old days for a bit, and I spent most of the remainder of the night resisting the urge to repeatedly blurt out, "you were in the Adults!!"
Chris also brought along his friend Keli, who was engaging & clever & snappy & generally simpatico. We exchanged emails, but I wrote hers on a napkin and then promptly lost it. (note to self: don't write info on beer soaked napkins you imbecile)
* I hope this practice of linking to every&anything is not irking you. I've always linked to stuff occasionally, mainly to provide pointers to interesting content & further information for those who might care. But I have to admit, ever since I became aware of the power of blog linking, I've done it more, knowing it builds associations that affect google. Is that bad? All of us are constructing a network, whether we think about it or not.
But, does anybody actually care? I might as well just link to my ass. Haha that was rather satisfying.
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