CYBER ZINE FOR AUDIO EXPERIMENTALISTS
LIVE EVENT REVIEWS
this is a listing of live event reviews.. if you go to a noise or
experimental show and wish to review it for CAUTION, we would love to
include it.. we love to show pictures of events as well. when we an get
them... this issue of CAUTION includes reviews of the following events:
Sol Invictus, Instagon, AA23 -- Feb. 4, 2000,
Critters Buggin -- Nov 11, 1999, San Pedro,CA
Shamballa 2 -- Oct. 23, 1999, Costa Mesa,CA
Radar, Sweep The Leg Johnny, Es Telar -- Sep. 25,
Koo's Noise Fest -- Aug. 14, 1999, Santa Ana,CA
SOL INVICTUS, INSTAGON, AA23
February 4, 2000
CLUB VYNYL, Hollywood,CA
review by DAVID COTNER
(as experienced ten yards from the stage, amongst 200+ people)
Much conferring amongst musicians onstage as an ambiance segues to
ambience and a beatful whirr. Slow. Not low. Those speakers are
beaten from the inside and a ball hurls colours in a roundabout
fashion. Much conferring. Voices seep occasionally - and just whose
And a segue that only seems like a full stop. A weaving sting of
strings and does the programming of an instrument become an instrument
itself? This hall use to hallow the sock of rockabilly - how much of
those sonic qualities still haunt this place? For ghostliness and
ghastliness are hall-marks of rockabilly itself. Is it possible for the
music that found action in a venue - to further act and play through
music later performed in the same venue? Well, of course it is -
anything's possible. But is it probable?
Phrases ride astride the curve and echo of themselves.
Transfixion. Spot-light unfolds across the stage, flowering in
revelation. Now comes the phrase comes the phrase comes the phrase.
"Yes." Is it a sexes-clad thing for more males than females to approach
the stage? At least one lapdesktop computer generates a sound.
Third: easy demarcations? Drumming drumming and so on. Cries and
whispers and what do artists think of snatching their statements?
And yet here is where the objective journalistic imperative must be
obeyed. Analysis. Reportage. Direct impression. Often has the
performer turned his back on the audience. It should be vice-versa.
Objectivity. At all costs. Music is the sound you like. Noise is the
sound you do not like. Both notions must be considered. Objectivity.
Even if it costs your pride, even if it costs your anger - there will be
an accounting. There MUST be. There is no other way. Choose
everything simultaneously and not. And what else is a music re view but
everything in the re viewer that was experienced at the time? Whilst
the music was playing? What happened? What happened?
There is no "rejection." There is no "disappointment." Things
happen in a certain order, and then more things follow. It's the way it
must be. Quotations are necessarily temporary things.
Eight players onstage. Several stringed electrical instruments.
Much percussion. Much: the desire to find the plentifulness in
allthings - even if the question is "Who drank my water?". The action
is recorded to videotape from behind the group. Another avenue of
perception? At what angle exists the truer perception? It is not for
nothing that those who scale Mount Everest forget to stand on their
heads at the summit.
"The Arrow." Do measured rhythms precede weight of lyrics? Which
is to say: we are thanked profusely. A red pall enthralls the stage.
"Your god is not my god." And a cover of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" - but
dead WHAT? With congas and no vocals, they carry the weight, carry the
A chant, a drone, a feminine point and counterpoint - and at what
point does a group become a band?
It has been said that folk music is essentially punk rock - to the
beginning and back again? Can there be a link rewoven from the past by
strings vibrating and drums beating? Copper into water use to be
sorcery - what about sweat on metal and over guitar?
"In my garden..." Flute and strings and the insistent beat. There
seems to be a sense of nostalghia - of want for returning. But to
what? For what? "And no one sees what we see / and no one believes in
what we believe..." I myself would bang a gong (after I bang a broad)
if only discourse and conferrence were shaken loose upon striking - and
that IS nostalghia for an age yet to come.
"This is love / this is hate / this is chance / and this is
fate..." In a garden green - much harmony. Flowers of feedback (piss
blossoms?) bloom here and there. If there are person-shaped spaces in
us all - representing the people in our lives - could there also be
similar spaces for songs and poetry and cats and icebergs? And so on?
Is the world as empty as it seems? There is also a sense of living
through these songs - as if there are spaces inside Tony Wakeford that
are filled only through the songs sung again. "Here we go / the same
old lies again..." Can the progression of a setlist be dependant on
several factors - besides aesthetics? Well, all right - if so, why
aren't people made more aware of these factors? Is the creative process
- even down to the nth of red tape - so hermetically-sealed?
"And the sun was over the woods..." Violin trembles into view and
drone vanishes and reappears. Migration? A wandering of the idea? The
piss blossoms of feedback call from their darkened wood - instruments
playing the musicians, apparently.
Sound and vision. There are two pairs present during live action.
There is the sound and vision onstage - and that which is heard and seen
of the audience, from the audience. What action remains "free" of the
final cough or clap? What live recording can extract itself from a
murmur, from clinking glasses and linking laughter? Both kinds of sound
live their own lives. Yet - perhaps as importantly - at which points
can these two lives intersect? At what point does audience and
performer become one?
"See how we fall...", "The king is dead but the phoenix will
arise..." Harmonies and vibes. "Against The Modern World" and "The
Death of the West" (with an entirely different raft of phrasing) and in
the future physical beauty shall be measured by how clean and unmarked
and unremarked upon - the body is.
Sacred Grounds, San Pedro, CA
Nov. 18, 1999
Reviewed by G. Murray Thomas
First thing, we arrived at Sacred Grounds, and it had been turned into a
laundromat. Not totally, the front of the room was still the same coffee
house as always, but there were washing machines where the stage should be.
And no sign of any concert.
Turned out they now have an “annex” space across the street, which was a
large warehouse space, apparently only half finished. But it had comfy
couches and funky lighting, and was a fine space for this show.
All of that has nothing to do with the concert, except it set up a mood
of weirdness which was perfect for the show we saw.
Critters Buggin’ play flowing soundscapes. Although I’m certain there
were individual compositions represented, they bled into each other, and it
became one whole piece. The entire performance had the ebb and flow of the
surf. Things would build to a discordant crash, and smooth out for a few
minutes before building again.
The five musicians played a variety of instruments, which included
keyboards, bass, drums, saxophone, synthesizers, timpani, and numerous
percussive toys. They switched easily between them as the music demanded, so
a thundering percussion climax would be followed by a calming interlude of
xylophone (the xylophone miraculously appeared in the mix whenever a soft
touch was called for). The keyboards and bass would pile on the discord, then
switch to funky, and a saxophone came out.
Proceedings were enlivened by a couple of dancers: a black man in a
caveman outfit and a woman in flowing robes juggling plastic fire. At times
they became part of the act, fit their dances to some narrative thread in the
music, at other times they were simply extraneous entertainment.
The first set was a long session, which concluded with a massive orgy of
percussion, everyone in the band beating on something. After an extended
break, they finally came back for a second set, which was, if possible,
looser and even more flowing than the first. It seemed they were no longer
concerned with “performing” (much of the audience had left), as just playing
together. Their joy at just playing was obvious as they continued to play, or
at least make noise, even as they broke down their equipment.
As the show went on, I tried to figure out what to call this music they
were playing. Was it jazz, noise, avant-funk? There was no attempt to fit any
genre, to play the standards of any particular style. They were just playing,
wonderfully together; this was not some set of music, it was just music. It
was post genre, into the freeform era.
- G.MURRAY THOMAS
featuring: NELS CLINE vs. DEVIN SARNO, NOT BREATHING, BASSLAND,
CHOWDERHEAD, GLEN BACH, & DANIEL BREMMER
October 23, 1999
reviewed by Lob
Well as the story usually goes.. sequels are, for the most part, nothing
as special as thier original namesake. I wasnt able to attened the
original Shamballa that happened in 1998.. but all year i heard
about it.. how incredibly intimate and special it was.. how the music and
the food just flowed all night for a truly unique happening... So, i was
very excited to hear of this 2nd gathering happnening.. it was "limited"
ticket sales.. to i got mine early.. the day of the show came and i was
really excited.. i hadnt seen Not Breathing in a year or so, and i
had only seen Nels & Devin once before, seperatly.. and
Bassland is always fun..so i was into it and looking forward to a
fun night.. when we arrived we found out that the food wasnt ready yet..
so they werent allowing anyone to enter the place yet.. so we had to wait
outside in the cold october air for about 20 mins.. and then they started
to let people in.. soon all of the tables and chairs were filled up and
there was only room left on the floor.. it is very hard to eat Indian
Food while sitting on the floor holding your place.. the rice keeps
trying to escape from you.. Daniel Bremmer or Chowderhead were at the DJ
booth, i really cant remember which one was spinning first.. it was very
ambient and relaxing.. it was cool.. first up to perform was
BASSLAND, Alex & Stuart were totally wonderful.. they were relaxed
and ready to play.. they filled the little Indian restaurant with a great
vibe of african rhythm interplaced with electronica wizardry..
Bassland was the sweetest performance of the evening. Next
Chowderhead or Daniel Bremmer again played some more records.. as NOT
BREATHING set up their equipment.. NB was a duo this performace
consisting of Dave Wright and Drew Fitzgerald.. unfortunatly Dave was
having problems with his sequencer, so it wasnt the full blown experience
that Dave wanted to make happen.. they fiddled about in an ambient
chaotic fashion for about 30 mins.. all the while attempted to make the
sequencer function correctly.. and in the end just gave up. The
electronic improvisation between Dave & Drew is pretty sweet.. so it was
a nice set, but not what they had wanted to present to us. Glenn
Bach was on the turntables next.. he laid a very differnt sorta of
ambience down than the previous DJ's.. with alot more white noise in his
sound.. lastly NELS CLINE vs. DEVIN SARNO.. Devin is the founder
of a label called Win Records,
and has his own solo bass project called CRIB, Nels is probably
the most extrordinary guitar player in the Southern California area. The
2 of them occasionally play together to create some really HEAVY ambient
groove dealing in sub-sounds and the layering of notes and feedback..
this set started really swell, and then the soundsystem freaked out.. and
started to feedback with an awful LOUD heavy buzzing sound.. and the
sound people/promoters did nothing for like 5 minutes.. and THEN they
realized that whatever THAT sound was it wasnt supposed to be happening..
Nels and Devin just stopped playing. It was really unbearable to try to
play softly while this grinding loud noise was on top of you, so they
stopped.. the sound system was turned off.. and they started again
without a PA. but by this time, they were not relaxed and controlled..
this time they played a 20 minute set of NOISE.. great and lovely noise..
heavy and vibrating white crashing noise.. it was swell.. BUT this was
supposed to be an ambient show, wasnt it? So the night ended loudly..
the audience was uncomfortable and there was little room to move around
in.. too many people in too small of a room and the intimate-ness was
pushed out of it.. too many technical problems combined with that to make
this night a fun outing.. but not a special experience as was hoped for.
i hope the promoters at Peachfuzz
learned a little and dont try to repeat the past again this next year.
let it fade to memory.. do something new and differnent. - [LOB]
RADAR, SWEEP THE LEG JOHNNY, & ES TELAR
09-25-1999, The Hub Cafe, Fullerton,CA
Review by LOB, Photos by Morgan Faulkner
I arrived at this hidden
gem of a coffee house a little early.. so that i would get a good solid
spot to check out the bands from.. I was instantly impressed that this
fine venue carried Jolt Cola.
Anyplace that stocks Jolt get mega points in my book.. the stage space was
located outside in a little patio area (attached the to "80's Arcade",
another Wonderful treat i discovered that night..), with high brick walls
behind the stage space to keep the sound pinned in one direction.. outdoor
venues in Orange County are pretty rare.. so i was very well pleased.. the
first band that went on was called ES TELAR, a trio..2 guitarists
and a drummer, no bass. They were pretty good.. filled with great time
changes which made me think they sounded somewhere between Thinking
Fellers Union and Phish..one
of the guitarist played the guitar as a bass, playing thru bass equipment,
giving the guitar a much deeper sound and filling the need for low end in
thier songs. I bought thier CD. The next band was the one i actually came
SWEEP THE LEG JOHNNY, frm Chicago...Unfortunatly the PA was
plagued with trouble and thier set was brought to an early end after only
3 songs (shit!). The vocalist and Sax player for STLJ, Steve, is a
POWERHOUSE on stage..diving from gnarly slashing sax riffs into screaming
vocals and back again.. he is awsome to watch.. this band has a sound
like Fugazi meeting John Zorn at a Chicago school of free jazz.. dont
miss them if you get the chance.
Last on the bill was RADAR,
which seemed to be the local favorite. Another trio, they took the stage
all wearing the color blue (i was told they always wear blue) and the
dived into a soft fluid emotional melody that was soon blackened by the
evil trouble with the PA...and still they went on.. with the PA cutting
into and in and out of thier set.. it was humorous to see them continue
even though no one had a clue what they were saying..they keyboard
player, Brandon, went on like nothing was wrong.. and thier
singer/guitarist, Craig, thrashed about on the stage like young Elvis
Presley meets Lux Interior.. He smashed a TV into the ground in front of
the stage (i was told they smash alot of TV's).. one of the local coffee
heads walked by a little later, and noticing the TV, picked it up and
smashed it to the ground again.. AUDIENCE PARTICPATION.. very good! i
had a great time.. i would see any of these bands again. -- [LOB]
Koo's Noise Fest '99
KOO'S ARTS CAFE
August 14, 1999
a review by the Reverend Paul Mathers
I rushed through a dinner of a cheese steak hoagie because I thought I
was late. The noise fest started at 4:30 and here I was driving there at
5:00. I got to the ticket counter and asked the blue haired girl if Lob
had shown up yet.
"No, he's not here."
"Well, I'm from Caution Magazine," her
expression told me that this meant nothing to her, "okay, how much is it?"
I paid my five bucks and got in just as Dog was finishing up. Dog seemed
to be two guys with their shirts off. One of them was diving onto a
sheet of aluminum siding, the other was throwing instruments around. I
saw a snare drum fly past the window as I approached Koo's Arts Cafe. I didn't get
in to take pictures and see the band up close because I was smoking.
The band that followed was Sigh Co. (pronounced "Psycho"). They sounded
like if you took the swamp out of Captain Beefheart and replaced it with
It was a funky sort of noise. The drummer played on Instagon's
first CD, "The Most Creative Thing I've Ever Heard in a slight English
think it's called. I notice the drums because I drum. He's a much better
drummer than I am. In fact, the whole band was a pleasure to listen to.
Next up was Not For Air, a band of about seven boys making chaotic noise
with a bunch of electronic equipment. One of the boys was wore a virtual
reality helmet. I mean, that's all he did was sit there with the helmet
on. There were a couple of guys with keyboards and a bearded guy walking
around the room, shouting into a microphone, crouched like he was in the
depths of a dysentery pains. They all looked like when Hollywood makes a
movie about a nerdy kid and they just slap a pair of Ginsberg glasses on
a hunky actor and they don't look anything like the geeks you grew up
with. They look like hunky guys with glasses. The whole band looked
like that. It was disturbing. I mean, it wasn't a bad thing. They
seemed nice enough. I was just a little surprised to see so many of them
gathered in one band. Their music was well formed noise with very little
variations, a lot of repetition and not much textural variety. My guess
is that they'll really kick ass in about a year.
I had met John Weise earlier in the day. He was a very nice, sort of
quiet guy with a good sense of humor. I was eager to find out what kind
of noise would come out of him. He had a minimalist set up, just him
playing with knobs on a box by his amp in the middle of the room. For
twenty minutes he took us on a malfunctioning roller coaster of sound.
The abrasive textures were so thick and various it was like being jerked
around places that you didn't quite understand harshly and quickly. I
highly recommend you check out this guy's noise. He has a seven inch out
called "Cat Woman is a Cat Vampire" and a split album release set for
late september. I don't remember who it's a split album with (he told
me, but I forgot to write it down), but you should buy it. You should
also keep an eye out in case he performs in your area. This guy makes
Lob wanted to use records in his solo performance, so one of the hunky
bespectacled Not For Air guys took us upstairs where we rifled through
the Koo's record collection. Lob picked out a Cheech and Chong album,
the L A Dream Team, and a few more that I don't remember. His
performance was him sitting on the floor with a turntable with a bad
needle and a microphone. He played a record through what sounded like
some sort of heavy distortion and made some strange harmonies by fumbling
the microphone over his hand and pants. He went on for the perfect
amount of time. Just when the novelty of watching him sit on the floor
and do that wore off, he threw on some big finale music, like the musical
orgasm you would hear at the end of a David O. Selznick picture.
Astonishingly good performance with very little set and movement.
Go! Dog! Go! was an amazing band and perhaps the biggest crowd pleaser of
the day. They were like hot sax blues that you could thrash to. I heard
them comment while setting up that the audience must have left because
they showed up. By the end of their set, the room was the fullest it had
been all day. Their bass player showed up late and their sax player kept
wandering so it was hard for me to get a picture of the whole band, but I
can't complain about their performance. Much in the spirit of Job, they
fused noise and jazz. They are a noise band to watch. They've got
verve! Get the skinny on them online at: godoggo.homepage.com
The Elusory was the band that left the strongest impression on me. If
you feel that Industrial music should have stayed where it was in 1992,
you'll love the Elusory. They took an extraordinarily long and mildly
annoying amount of time to set up. We all soon learned why. Now, before
I say anything else, I'd like to state that they played their music well.
They knew what they were doing. They were a very tight band. In fact,
in their element, they may have been enjoyable. In the context of Noise
Fest, they were almost insulting.
The question that sprung to the mind of everyone I talked to was, "what
are these guys doing at the Noise Fest?" They had a smoke machine and
special flashing lights and big expensive keyboards and all kinds of big,
crazy, flashy stuff. We'd just seen John Weise blow us all away, one guy
fiddling with a knob on a little machine. The Elusory looked like their
set up was more tailored to a stadium show. The lead singer sang in the
screaming distortion of a true Skinny Puppy fan. He wore some kind of
shiny black pants, probably vinyl or rubber. I heard from somebody say
that he used to wear cross color clothes when he was a kid. You
remember, those were when you'd get a shirt with a red circle on the tag
and find pants with a red circle and they'd match. It's obvious to me
that being brought up like this paid off! His faded red shirt and shiny
black pants were a smart ensemble.
I think he sensed that I was trouble. Most of the pictures I took of the
band have him looking with defensive anger right at me.
The Elusory brought a whole different world to the Noise Fest. It was a
perfect example of the mainstream Industrial world that we're all
familiar with. They even brought their own promoters. Two audience
members, who showed up for their set and disappeared soon after,
pigeon-holed me (after hearing that I was reviewing the show) and wanted
me to inform my readers that they would be playing at the Whiskey A-Go Go
with Nation of Fear on September 11th of 1999. Looks like they got their
Of course, I realize that with their hype and flash, they're probably the
band from Noise Fest most likely to get signed to a major label, get paid
obscene amounts of money, and have their faces on the t-shirts of high
school kids everywhere. Shameless self promotion, tired shock and flash
are what sells in this decade of boring, textbook music. The guy who
reviewed the Noise Fest for the OC Weekly likened the noise scene to
early punk. I'd only agree that a formula music band like the Elusory
who are pushing their serious music for the quick fix fame are the polar
opposite of the artistic fun of all of the other bands that I listened to
that day. The consolation of the noise practitioner who sat
thunderstruck through the Elusory's Vegas Industrial showcase is that in
the near future we can all have the pleasure of denying ever having met
It could be speculated that the Almighty was in a waggish mood that
evening, for Fraud was scheduled to play as soon as the Elusory broke
down their enormous and bulky set up. Throwing all pretense of objective
journalism to the wind, I helped my two best friends, Charles Ardinger
and Phish, carry in their equipment. Charles wore a cheese brain as a
hat and Phish had a Devo hat with a party hat atop it.
They started the
glass shattering squeals that is Fraud and, as if in a metaphoric parody
of the band we'd just been subjected to, began to make out on stage. It
was funny to watch for about a minute, then I thought, "Golly! I
shouldn't be watching this. It's sick and wrong."
They continued their heavy kissing for fifteen minutes although it took
about two minutes for them to clear the room. Nobody who was outside
looking through the windows knew what to make of it. I did. It was
Instagon was Cary Pealer on percussion, Dan Kaufman (Shiva/Mindrot) on
Lob on bass, Salad (a pleasant surprise to see playing for anyone who
knows his history with Instagon) on keyboards, and some guy named Steve
on drums who I was told had tattoos on his face, although I didn't see
any. Instagon has moved in a prog rock direction. Lately they sound
like if the music of Hawkwind had a beat and actually went somewhere. I
don't like Hawkwind, but I like where Instagon has been going. So do
Hawkwind fans. Logic dictates that just about everyone should like
Instagon. Instagon is coming up on it's 200th performance. Check out
their web site for all info on Instagon events: www.tif.org/instagon
I left halfway through Instagon. I'd been through six hours of noise and
I had an article to write.
-- [Rev.Paul Mathers]
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