03 November 2007

go! power at halloweentime

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pullet with dragonfly wings

i don't typically associate halloween with great music - not being a misfits fan (or a goth), the pool of season-appropriate standbys runs surprisingly shallow - but i have happened to see a number of great shows on hallows-e'en past: most memorably elliott smith at the beacon theatre in 2000 (hm, well apparently on or near) (he played "don't fear the reaper" as an encore), and the roots at the electric factory in '01 (all-out in dapper pimp attire.) ok, and for that matter i guess that particularly memorable tmbg show in '01 as well. (i do remember the moldy peaches being in costumes.) anyway. the go! team concert at [the venue f.k.a. t.l.a.] this past wednesday wasn't quite up to those levels, nor was it the euphoric dance-dance-revelation à la this past st. paddy's' junior senior show that i'd secretly hoped for. BUT it was pretty fun nonetheless, and a nice break from not going to any concerts b/c i didn't have sufficient interest or anybody to go with.

i just went by myself b/c i didn't have anybody to go with. which woulda been more fine if the show had started at 8 as advertised - instead it was doors at 8 show at 9, so i ended up seeing all of the 'support' band's set (good choice for halloween, but their handmade book+cd album packages were much more extraordinarey than the actual music) and then waiting for a full 50 minutes for the 'team... i mean, i know that's not all that unusual of a delay between sets (though it srsly should be - but save unprofessionalism rant for another day), but it can substantially drain one's energy level to have nothing to do but stand there for almost an hour, vaguely jockeying for position, vaguely eavesdropping, vaguely nodding to the boards of canada (?!) on the sound system but not so much as to seem like you're trying to attract attention to your familiarity with it. so once they finally showed, ninja [that's her above, with the wings - thnks flckr] and company had some work to do get me back into it. and they weren't helped out by the sound - it was loud and indistinct enough that it was often hard to make out the melodic/harmonic content of the music, with or without earplugs.

yet slowly but surely, the goodvibes pulled through. not sure if it was my ears getting acclimated or just my resolve to revel firming up, but after spending the first half of the set debating leaving early, i finally started acquiescing to ninja's exhortations (hands in the air! jump to the beat! ladies go like this!), um like i meant it. by the point, two-thirds of the way in, when she declared "(sorry, but) this is the go! team, and we're not going to accept anything less than all-out, sweaty, shakin-yo-booty, dahncing, from everybody in this room!," the crowd was ready to get really into it too, so we had ourselves some right good, jumping, almost-abandon. helped that they played some of their best tunes then ("ladyflash" i think was what they launched into - definitely the high point.) "bottle rocket" also around then (though i have to admit i'm not very good on the names of their songs.) the horn parts and such were never as loud as they needed to be, which meant a lot of the hooks got lost - but even so, my impression remains that they have just a handful of great songs, and a lot that are sort of undistinguished. the show didn't particularly make me want to check out their new album either. but, y'know, that's ok.

hum. actually, i think what really made me want to post about halloween-night music was the djing i heard at silk city slightly later on. (some of it apparently - maybe? - by one of the guys who was in liquid liquid.) there was too much unexciting house/minimal stuff that never went anywhere interesting - and there was definitely not nearly enough room to dance. but it was all worth it for a couple of selections that it just tickled me to hear. first (right when i got there) that weird frankie valli pilooski edit - hearing it actually played out at a club made me instantly much more appreciative of its existence, even though it's still a complete wtf? dunno if the crowd knew what they were hearing (is it actually getting successfull?) but they seemed to be playing along. later there was an airing of that ross of love insta-classic "kick out the chairs," and an uncanny recreation of the peak moment of my own halloween dj set ("crescendolls" > "thriller"), but best for sure was hearing "late in the evening" - oh man! totally unexpected, brought me such a smile...i sang along with the whole thing (esp. the horn parts!) he looped the intro groove for a really long time before starting the song too - made me wonder if it was a sample...has anybody done that?

anyway. that made me happy about djs. and wondering if maybe having my binders pre-packed (rather than starting fresh every gig) is tending to make my sets staler and less inventive, less likely to pull out unexpected chestnuts like that - and what effect mp3jing would have. (ha! coinage?)

oh, btw: i guess i should mention that i went to a concert last night as well - the çudamani gamelan, from bali, at lang at swarthmore. i went in hoping but not expecting to have my generally low level of interest in gamelan changed - and it wasn't, particularly, but i did enjoy the first few numbers, especially, more than any gamelan i've seen in the past (which has basically just been the swarthmore gamelan. who do not play nearly this fast or precise.) after a while it did all start to get indistinct - the pieces seemed to be less form-based, with fewer quick, dramatic shifts - but probably i was also just having trouble continuing to pay attention. liza argues that i should dig this stuff because i like steve reich - which is true, to a point - my problem with a lot of it is that it's noisy and aggressive in addition to being harmonically and structurally minimal. um. but i like the stuff that's less noisy all-the-time. and there's no question that this group had some seriously astounding technique - especially the xylophone lines that were split up between multiple players alternating beats. so wow for that.

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