Archives by month/year

Salaryman (live)

The Garage, London 28th November 1999

If a band sounds the same live as they do recorded, it can be a bit disappointing. Too clean, too rehearsed. Seeing Salaryman live at The Garage could easily have been like that, only it never strayed into those well-trodden pedestrian precincts. The only non-perfect things about this show were the lack of audience (Sunday night maybe?) and the less than amazing sound system difficulties. Salaryman themselves were pristine, and beyond that, purely enjoyable. “Thomas Jefferson Airplane” came on massive and Manga, putting me in mind of a fabulous Godzilla style battle waged out aurally between oscillator bass and drums and guitars vs. keyboards. Bass-zilla vs. King Ghidra Electronic perhaps? Of course with special guest Mothra and the crying Godzuki. Add in the pterodactyl screaming flame-throw of Monster Island and this song was far more fun to watch live than it might perhaps let

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Sonic Youth – Goodbye 20th Century

Label: Smells Like Records Format: 2CD

Goodbye 20th Century- sleeve The century may still have about a year left to run through, but Sonic Youth have decided to take time to consider and pay tribute to their ancestral experimental roots on this double CD of less-than rock music. Built in earnestly engaged (but obviously joyful too) collaboration with old and new friends and musical relations Jim O’Rourke, William Winant, turntablizer Christian Marclay, and composers Takehisa Kosugi and Christian Wolff (and lovingly recorded by the estimable Wharton Tiers), there’s much interpreting of pieces by luminaries of the (predominently American) avant-garde including Nicolas Slominsky, John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and Steve Reich.

Pauline Oliveros‘ specially-composed “Six For new Time” is rendered with a combination of gusto and simple hypnotic bliss developed from the pleasures of transforming repetition into an electric mantra, perhaps unsurprisingly the piece which resembles

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Ui/Rothko (live)

The Borderline, London 9th November 1999

A night at The Borderline, a night for Americanism. We arrived too late to hear the first set, a band called Kenny Process Team, so no insights there apart from the appropriate(d) soundtrack feeling their last couple of songs gave me as I took in the setting. This venue is a strange place for my impressions of London. Done up in 1970’s Tex-Mex sort of decor, disturbingly orderly, little comedy cowboy motifs everywhere, The Borderline could have easier been stuck out in the California high desert as in the middle of London. I felt relieved to notice the very punk-rock bartenders and hoped against all that no one was going to line-dance.

So then came Rothko, their short set of woeful bass-based tunes rang romantic and sweet, completely instrumental, basstrumental. One, two, three bass guitars to accompany the other sort of electronica, but with

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The Legendary Pink Dots (live)

The Underworld, London 5th November 1999

Back at The Underworld for the second time in six months, follwowing on from an absence from their founders’ homeland of six years, The Legendary Pink Dots bring home their unique format of intense live musical performance at the tail end of yet another whirlwind European tour organised due to public demand. Tonight there’s no support, just two hours of the finest Dots songs, honed and polished to perfection.

With old friend Martijn de Kleer back on guitar and sharing drums with Ryan Moore (who also sometimes plays bass simultaneously), and The Silverman intent in his electronic grotto, the Dots get into gear as Edward Ka-Spel arrives barefoot and canary-yellow-coated. As the show kicks off, it rapidly develops into an event replete with its own incandescent contributions to Firework Night, including the irrisistably funky groove of the cynically post-apocalyptic “As Long As It’s Purple

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Faultline/Zan Lyons (live)

The Water Rats, London 2nd November 1999

The Water Rats seems like a broken place, barely still pulsing with the life of the twenty or so people inside. I wonder if it was once posh, evidence: rubbed-off velvet on the too few bar stools, forgotten glass cases built into dingy walls, and a mid-size double paned front door, spread wide and chained open. It lets in the chill November night air which is perhaps all that save us from being assaulted by the smell of age and decay. I wonder who would know this is here, but apparently they do; people file in and I’m fascinated with the creative ways people in London find to keep warm, all the while avoiding looking like eskimos.

Zan Lyons comes to play, and it is easy to get up front to see what he is about. The man stands like a spider figure,

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