Jan. 13, Back Booth hosted Super Happy Fun Time, a great multimedia art event that straddled audio, visual and tactile forms. The art, from simulated vomit to stupid-funny audio installations in the loo, largely defied orthodoxy, and the experimental music followed suit.
Tele & Incredible Friends comprised the two key artists behind the event, local musician Matt Kamm and Baltimore’s Adam Vorozilchak. Their performance was noisy, spastic and absurd – just how I like it. And, according to Kamm, it was mostly improvised, resulting in a lightning-in-a-bottle sort of spontaneity. This is definitely the best stuff I’ve heard out of Kamm, who delivered an inspired, full-tilt performance as frontman and played like his life depended on it.
Local ambient electronic outfit AttachedHands has made a quantum leap in evolution since the last time I saw them, emerging this time with a much more punctuated, intentional sound deeper in dynamics. This time, they forwent a real drum kit for electronic beats, but it suited them well. And the addition of video projections added further drama to their improving synthetic tapestry.
Special guests Capillary Action, from Philadelphia, had a dizzying sound that rocked with neck-snapping shifts in gear, vacillating between gentle and explosive, melodic and cacophonous.
Headlining locals Pardon My Carbon were challenging, as usual. With little in their repertoire that would pass for conventional, they’re left-field and oblique as hell. A study in odd compositional movement and atonality, they’re often all elbows and knees. And though they’re pretty hard to get into, it’s good that the scene has experimental bands like this.
The art event must’ve sucked all the creativity outta the space for a spell because by the time Boston’s Cherry S/T played there Jan. 17, things were dire. They pulled a fervent crowd, but after having seen them play, I’m still nonplused as to why. You can dress it up with electronics and glossy hard rock all you want, man, it was still emo, and any of the dudes who danced to this set should be ashamed. First, be wary of any male singer wearing black-and-white striped knit gloves with the fingers cut off. Second, be suspicious of ANY band with the word “cherry” in its name.
Mercifully, the Social hosted the Machine later that night, the acclaimed Pink Floyd tribute band from New York. I’ve said plenty about the concept of a tribute band, and I stand behind every word, but what makes these guys credible is their lack of reliance on physical resemblance or wardrobe. They just aim to faithfully recreate the work of a great, serious band. On that count, their replicative powers were simply astounding and resulted in a spectacularly moody affair that captured the desolate, resigned majesty of Floyd’s music perfectly, showing how modern it still sounds today.
Jan. 19 was Marilyn Manson at Hard Rock Live. I’m a longtime appreciator of the guy because he’s an incredibly smart mainstream artist who knows how to use the system to delicious effect, every gesture a considered move. A note to concerned moms, dads and Crazy Christians: GG Allin was dangerous; Manson is simply irreverent, well-executed theater. He’s neither the first nor the only shock-rocker to enter the cultural lexicon, but no one else’s formula has shone with this much flair or cohesion. And this set, likewise, was tightly controlled and orchestrated. Oh, that is, except for the wardrobe mishap that saw the wig of newly rejoined bassist Twiggy Ramirez fall off midsong. How’s that for an ignominious homecoming? Whoopsy-daisy! Mystique gone, just like that.
So you know, T.L.U. HQ has all sorts of blinking, high-tech advance-warning systems in place to keep you looped about the good stuff. Here are a couple of new releases worth serious attention:
• Evangelicals – The Evening Descends (Dead Oceans): With an excellent balance of surprise and loveliness, this psych-pop masterstroke is an early contender for the year’s best indie album.
• Damemas – Let Your Tape Rock EP (Part Mine Records): It’s their first release of any kind and it’s just an EP, but take note of this Brooklyn band now. Bashed out with heat, swagger and desperation, this is rock & roll with a big firstname.lastname@example.org