Où, où est-elle passée, où est ma colère, ma colère…

I have, quite a few times, been up The Junction. I have, quite a few times, been to gigs elsewhere. I have seen most of the bands I have ever wanted to over the years, with a few exceptions. I have never seen Lou Reed before (and after reading what follows, you will realise, technically I have, but in spirit not) so I decided to go watch his Metal Machine Trio.

(You may think this is another weblog posting, and it is, but it isn’t going to be a standard review, if that is what you thought was coming.)

Sur, sur quel terrain l’ai-je semée, quels détours m’ont fait, m’ont fait l’oublier, ma colère…

What do you do at gigs? I mean, how do you conduct yourself? It is easy when you are some clean shaven grotty student, but when you are a respectable middleclass professional?

Take the Half Man, Half Biscuit show (this time round). Last time, I was at the front, swinging my hips and hair to wild abandon to the three minute ironic pop tunery. This time, I stood near the middle, clutching an ale (without the intent purpose of flinging it forward, though I would never have done that, you do of course realise) and tapping my foot while humming along.

N’ai je, plus rien vu soudain, plus rien entendu, rien…

I have been to some odd gigs over the years, ancient Sumerian sun worship on stage, bands with their backs turned away the whole time and extreme halogen lamps uplighting them, groups wearing lab coats and sweeping the stage before lifting instruments and redefining a decade, collectives not coming on stage until one am then blistering through a different definition of another decade (with girls in cages and Uzis, why do we pay homage to these monkeys?) and even uber-hip skinny white blokes with guitars, whom you would never have heard of.

Plus personne à blamer, personne à déplaire, personne à défier, où est-elle passée?

But the Metal Machine Trio was different again.

We turned up late, though there was no support anyhow. When I say late, I mean an hour or so after the doors opened. And what is it with no support bands anymore? Has that, like me, gone out of fashion? The house lights were dimmed, but still up. And there was a relentless (I am going to use that word again, later) feedback storm going on. Rather loud. Very loud. But no one on stage. Just a lot of laptops, a comfy chair in the centre of the stage, and amps. Lots of amps. With a few guitars leaning against them.

Every fifteen minutes or so, a roady would come on, move a guitar an inch, and wander off. With it getting louder. Now, as we turned up late, I can’t say when the feedback started. Maybe at seven, when the doors opened? I don’t know, but I would like to think so. How do you sound check for a noise band? Like that?

Où, où est-elle passée, où est ma colère, ma colère

There was me, standing centre of the middle, and Lou Reed danders past me to the side stage entrance. That’s great, thinks me, it is going to start soon. Maybe the feedback will dim, and we get another noise.

No. It just gets LOUDER.

Three blokes come on. One with a sax in his hand, the other by the synths, the patch bays, the laptops and the midi keyboard. Lou Reed, ambles to the comfy chair, sits down, lifts a guitar and puts his head down. With lots of tall, old blokes in front of me, I barely saw him for the first half. It was also an odd audience, with me probably the youngest, and a fair few chicks.

He did lift his head the odd time, to motion to a roadie to change his guitar, or to shuffle (literally) around the stage, turning things UP, but other than that, no, he just sat there.

N’ai-je plus rien vu soudain, plus rien entendu, plus rien à confier, à mes nerfs…

None of this has defined what it sounds like. And I can’t, really. The closest I would say would be early 70s Tangerine Dream (think ‘Phaedra’) piped through Godspeed You! Black Emperor and then filtered through EXTREME VOLUME. And brought up to date. Which, if you know my musical tastes, you can imagine I appreciated. Muchly.

It was noisy. It was relentless. It was brutal. It was great. I haven’t seen a concert quite like that, and if I was to see them again, I can only imagine it would not be the same. (On the other hand, how could I tell?)

L’as tu prise toute entière, l’as tu décimée, décimée

Two hours or so, no breaks in sound. I can’t even tell you how many songs they played. One? There was a single second of Lou and the sax stopping, but the feedback continued, and the synths continued, so maybe that was some link to a different song. I don’t know.

T’es tu accaparée, ce peu que j’avais que j’avais donné, ma colère

So what did I do? Stand there, mostly, thinking. Such extreme noise allowed you to think, bizarrely. To drift, which is probably why I thought of Phaedra. Though the synth noises helped that comparison.

It was great. Unexpectedly great. I don’t expect others to agree, but that doesn’t stop me remembering this as something perpendicular to other shows I have seen. And certainly one of those bands I think work way better live.

Bring the noise.

Leave the dark corners of the interweb alone. Go to the bright spots shone on by the Beautiful Ones

The BlackStar Diaspora

The wulf insists on text here...and I shall leave it at that.

People I know

I know people who didn't work at BlackStar, and they have weblogs too. These are they.

News, politics and paranoia

The State is not your friend


It is a well-known fact that the Stray Taoist (nee Toaster) isn't as internally consistent as he thinks he is. Welcome to his world.

Feeds: RSS | Atom