Live Review: Dreamend, Junk Culture and Tobacco; DC9; 9-10-10
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but, yes, Meg and i went to see the following show, too, so you will see her spin shortly. However, the lovely lass was double booked last night, so she only got to see Dreamend open. i certainly hope she had a blast at her prior engagement, as this was one of the most entertaining shows i’ve seen this year.
The entire night was devoted to digital manipulation, and not the masturbatory kind, either. Each of the three duos used computers, samplers and the like to create unique soundscapes that pushed the boundaries of what a “live band” is and can do. i kind of thought of it as the honky version of what i imagine a Wednesday night at the Low End Theory to be like (with all due respect to Junk Culture’s Deepak Mantena).
Opener Dreamend was nothing like their CD had expected me to hear. Whereas the excellent album (quickly making its way into my top ten for 2010) is an almost dream-freak-folk-pop hybrid, on-stage is a horse of a different color. Comprised of Ryan Graveface on guitar and an unnamed drummer (d.kyler, perhaps?; i know little of BMSR), the two were the musicians of the evening. While there were certain tuning issues, the two played a strong set with a lot more speed than their CD counterparts, everything filtered through computers. Graveface mentioned twice, “Why did we play that song so fast? Odd choice.” It was a moot point, however, as it was a fantastic set.
Next up was Junk Culture, comprised of the aforementioned Mr. Mantena and a second, different, unnamed drummer (c’mon, bands, take James’ advice to heart and give the drummer some, for chrissakes). Let me tell you, this kid on the skins was an absolute beast. i’m still not sure how he kept such a perfect and seemingly wild beat to accompany a sampler, but i’ll be damned if he didn’t. Mantena was the most engaging performer of the evening, starting seemingly random conversations with the audience, stopping between songs to demand that the crowd inch closer to the stage, and literally leaping off the stage and bouncing, Tigger-like, damn near every single member of the audience until the whole house was jumping up and down with him.
With the musicians and performers out of the way, Tobacco took the stage, and the mad scientist came home to roost. Accompanied by a lovely, young lady i’m guessing was The Seven Fields of Aphelion (seriously, i’ve never been in a room where i thought that the players needed name tags more), the two didn’t say a word for their entire set, but concocted a glitchy, spastic, fuzz-drenched set that had the entire house going ape shit.
When Tobacco and Dreamend came back to encore together, i was told it was a Black Moth Super Rainbow reunion of sorts, and while i can’t really speak to that, i can say they rocked that fucking joint, yo.
i would be remiss if i didn’t mention that part of what made it one of the most “entertaining” shows of the year was the fact that each band played videos in the background a la Admiral Radley. And while each was entertaining in its own right, Tobacco clearly took the prize for the evening. The only “problem” was that i was so captivated by his video show, i arguably found myself not paying enough attention to the music from time to time. It started with a clip of the Fat Boys, followed by a montage of various break dancers. Then, what i’m almost positive was Shô Kosugi from either “Revenge of the Ninja” or possibly “Ninja III: The Domination.” When i thought i couldn’t take any more 80s goodness, Tobacco somehow found a boatload of what originally appeared to be 80s aerobics videos. However, i knew those faces were too familiar, and it quickly proved itself to be glorious porn which he montaged into short clips of facial expressions only. And yet, nothing could prepare me for what concluded the evening.
Let me repeat that–he found and played a porno where the female lead was dressed up in a full E.T. costume, with only her mouth and one nipple showing.
While his music is amazing, it is this feat that has me tipping my hat to the artist. Well done, sir. Well done, indeed.
Tobacco may be bad for your lungs, but goddamn, it’s good for your soul.