Monday, April 21, 2003

Rock Shows of Note LXI

I've been remiss in terms of reporting on the bands I've seen play lately, so this is a less in-depth catch-up entry. Scads of great shows lately and an overly active social schedule as spring emerges!

Saturday, April 19: Plunge Into Death played under their moniker DGXJC because of their recent show at TT the Bear's. They went on first, which was a little iffy because new member Mac Swell was running late (He got on the T heading in the wrong direction, he says.). So what seemed to be a sound check and technical difficulties troubleshooting actually turned out to be the beginning of their set. The band wasn't in the fine form they were in at TT's previously, but the set was still solid. Geisslah stepped off the stage, and the several songs that Mac joined them for were quite solid. One is quite impressive. And another, well, it kind of reminded me of boys jumping around in a basement, shouting sing-along songs. It sounds great, but visually, more could be done musically, perhaps. Still, excellent sequenced noise rap rock or whatever it is! Next up, the Japanese Karaoke Afterlife Experiment, a masked noise duo that reminded me of Tunnel of Love by way of the Boredoms. It also made me think that maybe Chris and I shouldn't pursue our nascent side project Cruel Ranch. This is basically what we'd do, only skronkier. Nice dramatic bleep-box, keyboard-bashing, drum set-slamming noise. Scads of fun, and charmingly staged. Their CD comes in a handmade sleeve encapsulated in duct tape. Then came the Janet Pants Dans Theeatre, a small, independent modern dance troupe from Los Angeles and New York City. With three dancers and a sound engineer/keyboardist, the Theeatre performed three pieces and screened a video. Despite my initial skepticism, I was quite impressed by their performance. Definitely one of the better independent dance troupes I've encountered -- much less performing at a bar. The dude playing under the name Pleasurehorse took forever to set up, but it was pretty much worth the wait. Using a PowerBook, touchpad, video game console controller, CD player, and microphone, this former member of Six Finger Satellite created a static- and scratch-drenched noise collage that was quite interesting. I do wish that when he found a groove, he kept it for a spell, or that he incorporated more tunefulness, because despite the fun I had trying to figure out how he was making all of his noises, his dramatic jumping around, touchpad pen in mouth, machine manipulation struck me as so much noodling. Make some music, dude. The technology is impressive, and the gimmick is great, but focus on the sound. Regardless, worth checking out. The last band, Life Partners, we didn't stick around for. More noise, much later. Time to go home. Kudos to Mr. Records for continuing their extremely impressive series of shows at the Choppin' Block!

Friday, April 18: I wasn't going to go out, but true to form lately, I decided to brave the springtime streets around 10 o'clock. Unfortunately, that meant that I'd miss the Mary Reillys set -- I arrived just in time to catch Deb, Keira, and Ben on the front stoop. It also meant that it'd be too crowded for me to get in to see Emergency Music. From the bar side, where I met up with the gang, they sounded like pleasing power pop. I did however get into the show side for the Brett Rosenberg Problem set. With a new CD just out, the band's added a rhythm guitarist, and this was the first of two CD release shows. They played an energetic, bash-pop set that seemed to expand on Brett's melodic songwriting, and I look forward to the new disc. The place was packed, so I was smashed into the back with Deb and Keira. Still, a good show, and I was lucky to get in because word is the show sold out.

Wednesday, April 16: This was the best Plunge into Death show I have ever seen. Their costuming was the best it's ever been. Their stage presence was the most confidence it's ever been. The sequencing of and transitions between the songs were the best they've ever been. And it was just a great show all around. The show Saturday was a bit of a let down given this evening's epiphany, but that's the way the ball bounces. You can't be the best all the time! This was also Mac Swell's first night with the band, and Mac hammed it up old-scholl style, decking himself out in an amazing track suit. Very, very good. Best PID show ever. King Cobra played next. Featuring Betsy Kwo, Tara Jane O'Neil, and Rachel Carns, the band is a Needs-like no-wave wunderkind. I quite enjoyed their set even though I didn't know any of the songs -- and it's been awhile since I've spun my Needs records. A nice followup to PID. Last up, Tracy and the Plastics, another fine no-wave band. A skronky night, and much appreciated.

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