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Mouse on Mars/Coil/Plaid (live)

Plaid's video showThe Barbican, London 27 April 2002

Part of the Only Connect series of live events, tonight was self-described thus: “The history of computer games has also been a parallel history of the development of electronic music . . . this evening’s performances are less illustrations of these sounds and more works informed by this history.”

Plaid (bottom right, tiny....)Well, Plaid set the scene well. They lived up to the computer games connection by serving up music that didn’t seem substantial enough to survive as anything worthwhile without their wonderful visuals. The video projection pulses as it tracks around a space filled with cubes stretching off into the distance, some pulsing yellow in time with the zap-gun beeps and beats; iron girders touch across a shimmering backdrop to create spinning clusters of spokes whose rotations smoothly contrast with the chaos about

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Yo La Tengo: The Sounds Of Science (live)

Featuring the films of Jean Painleve (1902-1989) Only Connect @ The Barbican, London 20 April 2002

Although Yo La Tengo are most often described in terms of the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and Can, you only have to take a look at a setlist from one of their annual fund raising “request” shows to see just how diverse their influences and abilities really are. Sun Ra‘s “Rocket No.9” might sit alongside a Yiddish folk song, only in turn to be followed by a Yes track, a Neil Diamond number, a Ramones tune played in the style of a Taco-Bell commercial, a Wire and a Soft Boys song, or perhaps the theme from Fellini‘s

Tonight, as part of The Barbican’s Only Connect season, they provide the soundtrack to eight short films by Man Ray and Luis Buñuel contemporary, Jean Painleve. Painleve’s films of sea urchins, jelly fish, sea horses, octopi

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David Thomas & Two Pale Boys in Shockheaded Peter (live)

The Albery Theatre, London from 4th April 2002 for 11 weeks

Based on Heinrich Hoffman‘s dark fairy-tale Struwwelpeter, Shockheaded Peter originally opened in 1998 and last year alone played to an audience of some 80,000 West End theatre-goers. For its 2002 production, David Thomas & Two Pale Boys appear along with the original cast, to provide their own interpretation of the music of Martin Jacques and the Tiger Lillies.

From the moment David Thomas appears through a trapdoor from under the floorboards, his considerable physical stature and glowering presence possess the stage. There are a number of giggling children in the audience and I can’t help thinking of the time Pere Ubu appeared on Roland Rat (the cloth-eared rodent himself declaring: “And now… from America, maaa friends…. Pere Ubu…”) in some bizarre twist of scheduling that brought the sound of the Avant Garage into the homes of unsuspecting watchers of

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