C A U T I O N
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, Hollywood,CA
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, 1999, Fullerton,CA
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)

A.A.23
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 are they?
[AA23 photo by Saga528] 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?

INSTAGON
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.
[Instagon, photo by Saga528] 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.
[Instagon, photo by Saga528, 
Lob sings Thee Arrow] "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 weight...

SOL INVICTUS
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.
CRITTERS BUGGIN
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
SHAMBALLA 2
featuring: NELS CLINE vs. DEVIN SARNO, NOT BREATHING, BASSLAND, CHOWDERHEAD, GLEN BACH, & DANIEL BREMMER
October 23, 1999
Costa Mesa,CA

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 to see, [STLJ photo by Morgan Faulkner] 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. [STLJ, photo by Morgan Faulkner]
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]
[flyer art courtest of Koos] Koo's Noise Fest '99
KOO'S ARTS CAFE
August 14, 1999
a review by the Reverend Paul Mathers [Rev.Paul Mathers, photo by 
Phish Blackler]
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 punk.[Sigh Co., photo by Doc Monk] 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 Accent" I 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.[Not for Air, 
photo by DOc Monk] 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.[John Weise, photo by Doc Monk] 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 quality noise.
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.[Lob, photo by Doc Monk] 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, photo by Doc Monk] 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, photo by DOc Monk] 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 wish!
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 them.
[Phraud, photo by Doc Monk] 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 [Phraud, photo by Doc Monk] 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 Fraud.
Instagon was Cary Pealer on percussion, Dan Kaufman (Shiva/Mindrot) on guitar, 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 [Instagon, photo by Doc Monk] 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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