Sunday, January 29, 2006

beta weekend

Before I knew it, I was out two nights in a row at rock shows, which has become anathema to me as of late. Winter has not nearly been the hibernation inducer that I was hoping for, meaning books and movies aplenty pile up in the cave, unread and un-watched as instead the 50 degree nights implore me out and about. Walking around in the park yesterday was fucking with my head; I mean, it's still January, and even the barren trees are confused by such sun. Sunbathers seemed to be stunned rather than basking in it. Even with all this seasonal synaesthesia, I had been staying away from rock shows, and yet here I was in the basement of Cake Shop for a friend's band, Coyote on Friday night with Man Man, and then down to the sold-out Black Dice/ Gang Gang Dance/ Bill Cosby & his White Pudding Pops show at the Syrup Room. Can you say clusterfuck?

Friday night I made a crucial layering mistake, knowing that it would be cold out but forgetting the oven-like tendencies of the cramped basement confines of Cake Shop. That brilliant idea of long johns backfired, as did wearing a coat and sweater. After watching Coyote's set, my friend and I decided that the chance to instead catch the last L train back to Brooklyn was far more enticing than watching Man Man and paying the cabfare.

Come Saturday at the sardine factory inside the Syrup Room, I was smarter, with only a thin jacket on me. Of course, in the industrial depths of East Williamsburg, where liquor licenses and smoking bans are as distant as the Jersey shore, it meant smelling like an ashtray upon arrival, kicking at crushed cans of PBR and Sparks. What was worse than that cig stench though was in venturing outside brought an even more malefic and unidentifiable industrial aroma to the nose.

Bill Cosby is cut from the Tra La La mold, if said band was only into "I Want Candy," all Neanderthal thud and Godz-like lobule non-think. The band must all be under 5'6" or something, as I couldn't tell who was doing what, nor could I hear most of the Neil Hamburger-esque jokes being cracked.

The prevailing thought of the night with Gang Gang Dance, who had been hibernating as of late too (incubating more than being simply dormant though) was how amazing their show at the Bowery last spring had been. That was a long time ago, and no one really knew what they were up to. Apparently, creating a whole new set, which they debuted on Saturday. It's definitely a continuation of previous themes, digital and roto-tom spikes that inspire snaking guitar and vox about them, twisting like helixes and fanning out like wasp swarms.

At times, I wonder what they would be like as a live grime band (see the Myspace page linking to Lethal Bizzle), yet they remain intent on doing Houdini-esque escapes from cheesy presets. "Andean pan pipe," "Steel Drum #3," "Zen Bamboo," "Orinoco Flow," might be some of the presets they spring from, rising above the beginning sounds with deft though ridiculously intricate rope tricks and levitation moves. Unfortunately, the band is simply doing more complicated versions of God's Money peaks right now, meaning longer songs, more polyrhythms, more prog parts, more vocal gymnastics, more busy-ness. Hopes of them locking into deeper dance grooves or becoming catchy don't appear to be part of their agenda.

Black Dice are as quiet as I've ever encountered them, meaning no chairs rattling beneath my ass or migraine-levels of bass, no irritable bowel tones. They still remain one of the more difficult bands I've ever encountered, mind-wiping me the moment I stop being able to keep up with the sonic overload of miniscule movements. Apparently, there's a new 3-track release on the way from DFA, and while they distend Broken Ear Record to gnarly extremes tonight, there's new noises creeping up as well. Danny Perez's ever-fracturing fractals and hilarious fuzzed-out hair metal loops make any rational thought irrelevant though; the senses simply overheat.


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