A collection of posts from my original weblog...or the inscrutable rantings of a madman...could be both...

Saturday, November 17, 2001

MY GIGS/NON GIGS OF THE YEAR (2001)

Radiohead/Beta Band/Kid Koala--Suffolk Downs, Boston, MA/August, 2001--Radiohead bring their "Amnesiac" extravaganza to the only area appearance. Of course, this means an overwhelming amount of preening hipsters and classic-rockers out to the show for either posing and/or a party. Still, the Betas were far better live than I expected and Kid Koala did an amazing DJ set in between the Beta Band's set and Radiohead. Not the best location for a gig, with the jumbos from Logan constantly flying overhead (of course, who knew a month later they would be silenced for a few weeks...adding a creepy resonance for me). Radiohead put on a solid gig and even played some obscurities from their back catalog along with most of "Kid A" and "Amnesiac". I bought a couple of over-priced T-shirts and my crew and I enjoyed some brew in the make-shift "beer garden". A great night for music, I'm glad I was there.

The Orb/Witchman--Avalon Club, Boston, MA/April 2001--I finally got a chance to see The Orb live when they hit the Avalon supporting the Cydonia record, which was released in Feb. 2001. My friend and I got to the club very early to witness Alex Paterson and Witchman mixing some tunes on their decks, though I didn't realize it was Dr LX Paterson himself until the Orb's set. Witchman opened with some decent electronica but towards the end of his set the tunes started to drag a bit long and I found myself hoping The Orb would make their entrance.

That they did with flashing red strobes and sound-samples from "Apocalypse Now" and then tore right into..I can't remember, I think it was something from "Cydonia. The floor was packed with dancers and I was amused by the guy behind me, who would occasionally blurt out acid-induced remarks like "Whoa...the things on the screen are 3-D..."--been there, my friend. Little Fluffy Clouds was a bit lacklustre and seemed only to be played to get "the BIG hit" out of the way. Great gig, though, and worth the wait for me anyway..of course, on the way out of the club after the show I overheard some grumbling from folks who "...saw 'em in '97 and it was way better than this.." and "...if you had seen the "U.F. Orb" tour, there's no comparison.." Hey, guys. leave me with my illusion that I had seen a pretty good Orb show, O.K.?!!

The only other downer was my friend Scott's passenger side window was smashed in, leaving broken glass on the seat and me huddling in the back under a parka trying to stay warm--it was April but a very chilly night in Beantown. Hey, that's rock n' roll, kids.

O.K., that wraps up the good shows I caught in the past 10 to 12 months. I think I caught a few local bands, but they're nu-metal clones and not worth mentioning, I just happened to be at the club where my friends were partying and witnessed those musical atrocities. Instead, I'll compile a list of gigs I wanted to see but didn't, for whatever reason:

1) The Soft Boys "Underwater Reunion" tour--Boston, MA/N.Y.C., NY--I know, that's not the "official" name for the tour, but they were sorta promoting the re-release of "Underwater Moonlight" as a 2-CD set on Matador. Yeah, Robyn and the boys live..wow...my man M.A.D. caught 'em in Minneapolis (or was it Chicago?) and enjoyed it and toasted to me as they played "Underwater Moonlight". You can read his review in the Triptych Cryptic archives. Some people said they were "cashing in", but they never made any money the first time around. Phil Sheridan, in "Magnet" magazine, wrote a whole nasty piece on why this tour shouldn't happen..but hey, sometimes, ya gotta give the die-hard fans what they want, and besides, it's not like these guys are f***ing Aerosmith or Chicago--anyway, I'm sorry I missed it.

2) Tool/System Of A Down--Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT/Sept. 2001--I knew this show would sell out quick, but I hesitated and tickets were gone. I didn't want to go through a high-priced ticket agency so I missed the show. A guy I work with at my day gig attended and said it was great and I'm sure it was. Mainstream nu-metal's most intelligent band touring their most oblique album yet. This guy said Maynard didn't talk to the crowd much, but I like the fact that he's a visual showman, using make-up and costumes instead of being like "Haaaartford, are YOU ready TO ROCK?!" The King Crimson-isms were clear on the last couple of records and now they're doing a joint tour with The Fripper & Co. I don't know if they'll be in this area, but hopefully I'll be there if they are.

3) Ozric Tentacles--Webster Theater, Hartford, CT/Nov. 2000--Yeah, yeah, this is actually a late 2000 gig but it was such a rare appearance that I had to include it on the list 'cause I'm still steamed that I missed it. England's oldest continuous "crusty/hippie" group showing up in Hartford, of all places. These guys formed in the early 80s and have been releasing records and gigging since then. The Webster Theater is definitely not known for this type of act--I mean, C-Dog and I caught The Flaming Lips there in April 2000 and the place was half-empty as the Lips took the stage. The crowd there is not outre-friendly and I'm sure the Ozrics didn't go over well, which means they probably won't be back. Damn, another one I shoulda seen!!!

4) The Bevis Frond--somewhere in New London, CT./Sept. or Oct. 2001--sorry I don't have more information on this one..I remember seeing an ad for it in the Hartford Courant in their "Cal" section and I know I posted about it here. I wish they had played more locally, New London is a trek on a school night. Did anyone see this? I'd love to know what the set list was. I'm sure some stuff from "Valedictory Songs" was played and maybe some "Vavonna Burr" tunes, but I'd like to hear that he did some rare things from the late 80s/early 90s. Let me know--there were probably ten people at the gig, if you're one of them, post a comment. Gotta see these guys if they ever make it back here!

5) Yes Symphonic Tour--Mohegan Sun Casino, Montville, CT./August 2001--You can laugh, but it would be nice to see these dinosaurs one last time before they vanish. I was on the way to the show and had to bail at the last minute, so I missed it. Their recorded output of late has been laughable (though I hear the latest one isn't too bad--but you'll find someone who has said that about the last eight or nine they released--even "Talk" ~shudder~) Still, Steve Howe has his guitar-skills intact and Jon Anderson can still hit most of the high notes. With the symphony, all those orchestral-type classics would sound pretty cool...And You And I, Starship Trooper, Close To The Edge. Probably was cool..as long as they didn't try Leave It or Big Generator--that would be the nadir for them.

6) Indian Music/Food Festival--Weslyan Univ., Middletown, CT./Sept. 2001--A friend attended this and couldn't stop going on about how I missed such a great show. Two sitar players, two tamboura and two tabla players--much like the Ravi Shankar shows I saw. Maybe that's a standard set-up for Indian music. Weslyan has an impeccable Indian music staff and they do this sort of thing a few times a year. The music end sounded amazing and also they were serving Indian food..yum yum. Well, I'll be at the next one, don't you worry.

Oh yeah, the best mini-gig I saw also was the very end of Emmylou Harris' set at the Podunk Bluegrass Festival in East Hartford, CT. in July 2001. She's currently on that "O Brother, Where Art Thou" tour, but I'd like to catch one of her own shows, as she's still got a killer voice. That about wraps up my "gigs-I'm-sorry-I-missed" list. I'm sure there were a thousand more in NYC and Boston, and don't even get me started on London--I'm mainly saying in my location, these are the ones.

And for a wrap-up...a list of "bands who should not be in existence, but for some inexplicable reason, are":
1) U2
2) R.E.M.
3) Aerosmith
4) Pearl Jam
5) The Moody Blues