Saturday, May 17, 2008

No Fun Fest 2008. Go.

Workbench: Mike Bernstein's Workbench project never disappoints me and tonight was no exception. A nice launching point for the festival, the sequencer lines blunted into drones. An invitation of sorts.

Sickness: I missed Sickness's set at last year's No Fun, and I've now lived to regret it. Wicked low-end mixed with mid-range discomfort and just enough high-end to accentuate the filth made for a lively set. Has Sickness been listening to mid-70's dub? He employed some cliff-hanging dropouts that exploited the space between like King Tubby at his most torturous. He had the crowd looking down off a very steep precipice.

Failing Lights: Un-fucking-believable. I've always like his work, but this went further than before. A slow storm coming at you that you suddenly realize is a swarm of KILLER BEES and they're totally stinging you in the balls. Jaw-dropping.

Sewer Election: I love when an act isn't afraid to go exactly where the music is taking them, even when that means a short set. Sewer Election's brevity was equalled only by the power in his music. Wait. This is boring. Let my notes take over . . . "Fucking short set. Fucking awesome. Feigned disinterest when crowd is shouting for more. Breaking down. Then WHAM . . . flattens crowd with short encore. Crowd still wants more. Even SHORTER encore. Maybe 30 seconds. Crushing." There. That was better.

Dinosaurs with Horns: A little too much like a Terre Thaemlitz set that I saw at Cloudwatch in Baltimore 13 years ago. Not that the Thaemlitz wasn't good (Love him.), but this is 13 years later. An odd fit. An off night? They're kind of legendary so I'm bummed to have said that. I don't know. Maybe it was me.

Jason Crumer: Oh, man. Burn it down. Crumer knocked me out with last year's cassette and his recent CD for Hospital productions. I was, to say the least, in high-anticipation mode for this set. This is everything that noise can be, filled with unexpected turns. Caustic threatening drones blow into a full-on noise assault that blows into a groin churning buzz and then back and through again. We're walking on a wasted land here, and my feet are burning. Glorious. My favorite set of the night.

Thurston Moore + Nancy Garcia: I'm kind of a goof when it comes to Sonic Youth. I like them best when they're a) at their poppiest or b) apart. Thurston Moore was the known entity (That should not be misinterpreted as "predictible".) of last night's set with Nancy Garcia. Nancy Garcia. Um. OK. Wow. Like an unhinged and way less classical Sussan Deyhim in both dance and voice. Like Mo Tucker on drums. Like Patti Smith on guitar. Like nobody else with her feet stomping against the wall. This duo put in a grinding set of music and performance. Truly a collaboration. At one point near the end the two were rocking back and forth at each other and they looked like they were home. Which is exactly where they took us.

Greg Kelley: Well, here's a new way to abuse your trumpet. Play it with an Office Duster. The results weren't especially exciting as far as the end results, but I could hear Miles Davis turning in his grave and Jon Hassell wishing that he had thought of that. And that can only be a good thing. The set certainly made me want to hear a little more of where Kelley might go with this. Also a good thing. Plus, I loved that he wore a sports jacket for the performance.

Burning Star Core: Hmmm. Even when C. Spencer Yeh fails it's more interesting than most artists on a good day. Unfortunately that was the case for BSC's first and third songs Friday night. Intriguing, but neither really took me all the way to that special Burning Star Core place. The second song, however, was like a Carravagio thrusting its way out of the canvas at you. Jesus. Totally absolutely utterly definitely positively mesmerizing.

Handicapper Hornz: "New York's Alright...If You Like Saxophones"

No Fun Fest 2008, second night.
No Fun Fest 2008, third night.

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