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Dirge for the uninitiated

Last night we checked out the new music venue across the street. We had absolutely no idea what to expect musically, we mostly just wanted to get out and see the space. It’s an old converted fire house, and from the outside, it looks supergroovy.

The first act was a guy with an electrified stand up bass, singing very Jeff Mangum-like (but not as good) over his bowing (which sometimes looked more like sawing.) He also plucked and smashed his hands on the strings. What lyrics I could decypher were a little predictable; I was mostly mesmerized by the way his fingers looked rubbery the faster and faster he played.

Next was a woman with a keyboard. She started out with a tuneful little ditty, then totally ruined it with her womyn’s music-wailing-screeching-singing-warbling-bellyaching. It was hard to stomach, and a lot of people left during her set. I felt bad for her, but then again she wasn’t exactly putting on the ritz, you know what I’m saying? Her lyrics were just as painful (something about there not being enough room in the garden for two angels, etc), and later when we were walking home, I said to TA, “Man, that must have been sooooome breakup.” To which he replied, “She might have been better off with a chocolate binge.”

The third musician was interesting because all he had was a laptop and a violin. He sat on the floor and asked everyone to get close, so that we could all be nearer the “sweet spot.” He started off with a percussive track, then sampled little riffs from the violin and layered everything together. As he did that, he slowly started building the volume so that as it became louder, it also grew increasingly hypnotic. He also incorporated humming and what I think would be called “vocalizing”. “Dude, I think I’m peaking!” TA whispered. At one point there was a little glitchy sound, then from that point forward the music devolved and became metal-on-metal scraping, kind of like the bitmap equivalent of music, veryvery loud, with the musician screaming into his microphone. He rocked back and forth in front of his iBook, screaming and tuning, every now and then, turning off the “music” so that the room could be filled with just his screaming… I thought the vein on his forehead was going to explode. Closing my eyes didn’t make it any better. Sweet spot indeed.

The last act was some kind of post-rock-African-Indian-freejazz-hippy-industrial-folk-gypsy band obviously made up of people who’d studied music at the post-graduate level. There were a lot of references to different musical forms and genres that I’m sure a musicologist would appreciate but that flew right over this ignoramus’s head. It was edifying, but hardly enjoyable so we walked home, heads pulsing.

What’d you do Thursday night?

10:37 a.m. - 2005-05-27



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