Sept 22nd 2000
The Beat Kitchen
As usual, I was on time, the city was alive, and I was ready to see a band I have loved for years. My bus let me off right at the establishment, and I gather my gear and go in. A nice place that has plenty of wood, and reflective low light ambiance. The owner/barkeep is a distinguished man, and very busy in his environment. Batty, also very distinguished, is already there, and she is working out the details for the show. She had a few moments to chat, and tell me some of the details of the night. A band who came in from Ohio, Thou Shalt Not, was going to open the set. Attrition themselves being the only other act, this seemed like it was to be a nice evening. Going from the main area to the back where the bands play, is a bit of a scenery change. The back of 'The Beat Kitchen' is more sparse, and basic. With a good concrete floor , the kind that sound guys love because of the potential for natural reverb. I wind up near the front with some fans of 'Thou Shalt Not' , and so their set seemed very energetic, and personal. The lead persona of 'Thou Shalt Not' , Alexx , really wanted people to be into the set. It is a shame, because even with imported groupies, Chicago can still be as cold and windy inside, as it is outside. That's OK, these guys were there to warm them up for the true stars, they were there to set the stage for 'Attrition'. I feel they did the job well enough.
I am a little more favored of the recorded performance of 'Thou Shalt Not', yet don't ever let that stop you from seeing them. These guys have some potential, and if anything for now their CD's are hard to find, yet when seeing a band live, you can usually get some things direct from them.
With all the set up and introduction out of the way, lets move on to the Chicago version of "The Hand That Feeds Tour." A sparse set stage with two microphones, and a keyboard stand artistically draped in plastic, and placed towards the back, right in the middle. A space in the past reserved for the drummer. The keyboardist? starts with a cascade of analogue sounds, and the tension builds, a touch of smoke in the air, and Martin comes to the stage with a stick of incense burning, and just enough attitude to charge the scene immediately. With him is Christine, decked out in a middle eastern type outfit, which truly lent an anachronistic touch to the evening. 'Acid Tongue' was the first song, and the rhythm pulsed and throbbed in a very ergonomic way. Although very familiar, the accompaniment by the keyboards was indeed being manipulated live. This was the beginning of a real intense 'Attrition' show. Although I want to soak it all in, I know I am going to dance. "Acid Tongue", "Right Hand Man", and "Atomizer (custom mother)", all rolled out in a truly tight fitting fashion.
Since "Acid Tongue" is very recognizably from the album "3 Arms and a Dead Cert", and I have heard the other songs before as well, I am curious about the 'album' they are touring for. I take a moment to visit Batty at the merch table, and realize that the current release is a remix album put out by the 'Invisible Records' label. This is better than I dreamed, as I never thought I would hear these songs live. So many bands who aren't as well known, do not play too many older songs on tour. Too bad this is two nights after the "Apoptygma Berserk/ VNV Nation" tour. Although it was nice to have room to dance.
"Dreamtime Collector", "Cosmetic Citizen", and "The Second Hand" show another power trinity of musical moments. Martin is on his knees shouting up at his microphone during 'Cosmetic Citizen'. Christine has proven to be the stage presence Goddess, that her outfit suggest. Hardly anyone can just stand. Those who don't dance, at least twitch, and those that don't twitch, must sit down, or else be caught swaying in the flow.
'The Second Hand', Martin is barking into the microphone to the familiar
dog sample. It is eerie to see this British gentleman so Bulldog
like. Reminds you of staring down an animal you meet when wandering
wrong way near a neighbors yard, or some rural junkyard. This is real transformation here, what next...
of smoke, and both the keyboard player and Martin disappear, leaving only
Christine to do a chilling accapela version of "I am (eternity)".
I am stunned , and only the return of the rhythm and the other players
can snap me out of my daze. "Mind Drop" and "Waste Not, Want...More"
,are good enough reasons to be back on Earth though, and at this point
the Earth is about to erupt, then low and behold. The epitome of
'Attrition" dance floor faves comes cranking out. "Lip Sync" , might
just be one of the most recognizable tunes by this act. It's familiarity,
combined with the extra white noise, and the vocal arrangement for Christine,
make this the live
song to hear. If you left early, you didn't really see the show kids.
OK the rest of the night was good, "The Mercy Machine" was a surpriser, and it was great to catch a dance with Batty for the classic "A Girl Called Harmony". I'm wanting to here another version of "Lip Sync" at the end, but I am happy with "His Latest Flame". After all, this is the first night of the tour, and my travel plans take me back to Kansas City, for the last night of the tour. I plan on doing an interview with them there, so we can get an idea of how the rest of the cities fare. It seems that Chicago is a favorite, and talk of hitting the fair city again before the end of the tour, is being tossed about.
The first few in the door got a copy of DEAD EYES MAGAZINE, a zine from a few years back, it included a single of Attrition. Sister Teresa (swallow my pride). On blue vinyl too.
Oct 25th. 2000
Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club, Kansas City. Mo. I arrive early. The first live act is still setting up with the sound. A full version of an act called 'Dust', that sports 7 or 8 members, depending on the availability of certain local musicians. I arranged a time for the interview, and got to say hi to Batty. I am nervous though, they want to interview after the show. I have found many bands not really in the mood for this type of thing after a show. I am ready to jot notes down about the evening, as to at least give this nights performance a really good review. (I get the interview, go here for that. Sorry to not let the suspense build, but you can go to the front page and see that!) A creative DJ by the name of Federal Bureau of Mind Control, opens up. His selections are good openers, some classics, but mostly harder rhythmed anthems the like of Meat Beat Manifesto, Skinny Puppy, and Front Line Assembly. "Dust" goes on fairly on time. This is a good sign. They are a new KC act, and possible the only one you could truly throw in with the "Gothic" genre. The air is charged, as there are many who have not yet caught this act. A local web designer may have pinpointed the overall sound the best. A movement of 'Black Tape for a Blue Girl', played while thinking of 'Type O' Negative'. It depends on the song that is playing what reaction is given. Once I got , "oh wow, it's the 80's man" out of a onlooker. Other times though I could see that
the emotions, especially of the female singers, were getting to the core of the audience. The male vocalist of the evening, seemed a bit off, yet his presence is one of the counterpoints of this surreal band/orchestra ensemble. If you aren't nervous by a crowd with these expectations, well, your not alive. Since it is the two year mark of this clubs "Gothic" beginnings, 'Dust' plays a fairly long set. I was worried that it might have people leaving early due to the time. Yet DJ Batty is in the house, and swinging hard with favorites like 'Stalker' by Covenant, and many other industrialite approve tracks. This is not for the faint dance floor, and we even kicked some stand and talk types outta the way to get down!!!
OK, OK. On with the finale of Attrition. (actually they end by playing before Damage Manual in Chicago. Yet this is their last night in the main spot, Alpha and Omega, all right here.) Many times I think that I am going to be spoiled by having seen a bands show already. As if I have everything memorized, and therefore I won't get sucked into the vortex again. A really good act is worth seeing twice on tour. I think we should have groups of people who share crash space, just so this can happen easier! I was even more amazed by the energy of this show. They didn't have any road wear and tear. I was surprised they were stopping here. Martin was all over the stage, at one point the incense was flicked just right, and the spark landed perfectly on my chest. It went out harmlessly, yet it all happened to the immense rhythmic accolades that were pulsing from the Davey's subs under the stage. Our 'Goddess' Christine was decked out more for the 'Bitch-Goddess role. This time in a cyber-punk type outfit. How can one not be in awe of such presence. The second take on many of my faves provided me with some 'lyric' insight I did not have before. Martin was just as jaunty onstage, but with a few more to bemoan at, and to wander offstage towards, than back in Chicago. I can really see the empathic link between this act and it's audience. Even with the amount of pre-recorded material, the extra textures of voice and analogue synths, made this a fair departure from the original show I saw. Once again I danced, and others danced. Occasional you get lost, and look up right as others do. The expression of "oh, yeah, I'm here again," comes across your faces in unison. The dream broken, but only momentarily.
Right Hand Man
Atomizer (custom mother)
The Second Hand
I am (eternity)
Waste not, want...more
Lip Sync (yes, still one of my fav's)
The Mercy Machine
A Girl Called Harmony
His latest Flame
I never actually saw them divide the end songs into a encore. I think they get to caught up into things to do it like that. After the show, Batty went back into DJ mode (they all take turns selling merchandise, when not performing.) Although a detour through the land of cheese was mandatory. Somehow her Rivethed set did not compare to the later set of Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, and other equally famed 80's acts. In the afterglow of the 'Attrition' show, the floor was packed, and the even Mr. Roboto can't squelch the mood.
song downloads www.mp3.com/attrition
discussion group http://www.thebelfry.net/attrition/
Nomenclature Museum - sorta
December 19, 2000
~introduction by Blu, letter from Nathan
(photos by Blu)
So this isn’t going to be your typical concert review because basically, the person writing the body of this, didn’t get to go. You see, Nathan is at the dreaded state in his life where he’s <gasp> underage and it just so happened that two of his most favorite bands – Bella Morte and The Cruxshadows were playing in Atlanta at Nomenclature Museum (a 21+ venue). Poor Nathan. Nathan had first seen the Cruxshadows perform earlier in the year at The Masquerade (all ages) and had shyly asked me to introduce him to the band. I did and he was thrilled. Later during the show, Rogue pulled some people up on stage to dance with him and Nathan was one of the lucky on-lookers. He danced his butt off that night – totally forgetting his fears about dancing in public (which has long since been remedied btw – he’s a dancing maniac now). Anyway, the next time the Cruxshadows came to town was for GothCon. I was talking to Rogue at some point and Nathan, excited but timid, appeared beside me just listening to t he conversation. Rogue noticed him, smiled and said, “ I cant remember your name, but I pulled you on stage last time we were here…” I think that sealed it – Nathan was a die-hard fan for life at that point because Rogue remembered him. So it’s easy to understand why Nathan would be bummed this go around about not being able to see them. That night, he was talking to me on the computer via AIM when he suddenly disappeared. A few minutes later he came back and exclaimed, “Oh my god! Rogue just called me!” So here, in his own words, is what happened. Its not exactly a concert review, but it’s a reaffirmation about what I’ve been telling everyone about the Cruxshadows – that they’re one of the most down to earth, nicest bands around – that just happen to put on an utterly amazing show.
(posted by Nathan to the Cruxshadows email listed, printed here with his permission)
Subj: =) WOW!!!
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 11:45:23
Oh My Goth!!!!
::STILL freaking out::
Rogue is SUCH an awesome guy! I have to tell this story...
My name is Nathan, I’m a 17 year old goth boi from Atlanta, Georgia... Blah. (Sorry. I feel the need for introductions since I rarely post..) ANYWAY!!!
Last night the Crüxshadows played with Bella Morte here in Atlanta at a small club called Nomenclature. WELL, Nomenclature is a 21+ club, so I could not get in. This literally broke my heart because I had spent months and months e-mailing both of those bands' people trying to get them on the same bill, trying to arrange SOMETHING... When it finally happens? The promoters in charge put it at a 21+ club.. I literally felt like dying.. I would never willingly let myself miss a Crüxshadows show (they're SO good! they were my first concert!), and I’m a huge Bella Morte fan but have yet to get to see them live!
Here I was, moping at my computer, at about 10:30PM.. I was listening to the Crüxshadows' "Deception", when the telephone knocked me offline! Damn whoever was on the phone calling me so late! Damn them! They knocked me offline! Grr! Who was on the phone calling me?!?!
"Is Nathan there?"
"This is Nathan..."
"Hey Nathan, this is Rogue, from the Crüxshadows..."....
OH MY GOTH!!!!! LOL! hahahaa... Apparently some of my close friends (whom I love dearly, only now ADORE. hahaha) explained to him about how their best fan in Atlanta couldn't even make it to their show that night.. So they handed him a cell phone and asked him to call me! LOL ahha. Oh my goth. I probably sounded like SUCH a nerd, but man! I felt so happy and SO special at that moment. =) I heard they put on a killer concert (no doubt), and can't WAIT to see them again.. =) I'll have to resist running up to him and hugging him. hahaha... I wonder if he realized that the person he was calling has like 5 posters of theirs on his wall, many copies of their 'special edition' Cd, a few of their normal releases, tape copies for his car, etc etc etc. hehehe. =) Man... Major thanks to Rogue (though I doubt he'll ever hear about it...). =) He made a fan very very happy that night with just a few words....
And that's my silly little sappy story. =) I think I’m gonna cry. hehehehe...
~Absentia / Nathan
with American Dream
~by J High
I’m a slacker. I went to the Salome’s Wish show. By the time I chatted to some of the staff, got a beer, and wandered to a good vantage point, the band said, “Thanks for coming. Good night!” Alas.
The next night I was set for a repeat. Sitting in a midtown bar with some friends, I looked down at my watch to see it was 11:38. Hmmm. I’d been told that the show started at 10 or 11, but even if that meant 11 o’clock musician time, I needed to hit the road post haste.
The Eyedrum is a tad hard to find if you’ve never been before. There is no sign, and it’s almost on its own in a run-down part of downtown Atlanta. As I was walking in, I heard the faint sound of dance music from somewhere nearby, as I always almost do outside Eyedrum. Apparently, it’s not the only underground club in the area.
Walking through the upstairs gallery, I heard strains of cello and the voice of Dave Railey. That meant American Dream was playing. I caught the last two songs. They do beautiful, bittersweet pop. The songwriting is along the lines of the Velvet Underground (complete with a Robert Mitchum reference) but the singing is angelic.
The instrumentation is ever-expanding. Railey started playing out as American Dream with just him on guitar and singing, with a drum track or the odd noise coming from his four track. He added a drummer, then a bassist (Kat Gass from the bizarre Atlanta band BOB, who also plays sax on a song here and there.) After CMJ, Rene Nelson of Aphelion was added on keys and harp, followed by Deisha Oliver (who Rene knows from their time together in Osaka) on cello.
I only got to see two songs of the set since I was so late, but both were beautiful. The music is lovely and melancholic -- the perfect thing to go with a drink and a Sunday afternoon hangover. The recent additions of harp and cello make the music even prettier and more haunting.
After the American Dream set, I spoke to Oliver. She had really enjoyed her first show with the band and will hopefully become a permanent fixture in it. She reported that she’s working on a film about her inability to have normal relationships with men. Likely, Aphelion will be doing some soundtrack work for it, which is good, since they’ve been so slow to record.
As Aphelion was setting up to play, I went to get another beer. However, the bartender had decided to go home, so I was out of luck. (Not like I really needed another, but, hey, I sure did want one.) I looked around at the art instead. It seemed someone had tried to re-create an urban exterior wall, but was too lazy to do a halfway decent job, or perhaps had only heard travellers’ accounts of what it looks like in an urban core. A little graffiti that was hopefully just practice for a public debut in a few years, a few posters for baggy jeans and butt cracks, and a good bit of white space. Insipid and limp. I could see my breath, too. How did this place get voted the best underground performance space in town?
Since the bands were sharing bass rigs, drum kits, and Rene, it didn’t take too long to get Aphelion set up. Aphelion launched into their first song, which sounded like some sort of minor-key Celtic murder ballad. Powerful, but not one of my favorites. However, by the driving bass intro third song (which is one of my favorites), they were in full stride. Chandler (of the Changelings), sitting in on drums as usual, gives the band the extra kick they need for the more aggressive songs. Diana is a riveting frontwoman, with a penetrating, menacing gaze to go with her throaty voice. The end of the song had the reserved crowd whistling and stomping instead of just politely clapping.
The fourth songs started with a sloppily-played guitar riff, which was puzzling, as there was no guitar on stage. No one’s hands were moving and I was thoroughly befuddled. It seems the mystery guitarist was not a planned part of the evening, and was perhaps through a wall somewhere in an adjacent building. The band ignored it and played on, giving the crowd a good mix of the hard, vocally-driven numbers and the slower, more intricate songs that showcase the talents of Carol on viola and Rene on harp instead of bass.
However, the sound of the mystery guitarist (who really needs to practice a bit more) kept creeping through the wall. Combined with the low temperature and sub-par sound system, that was enough to make Aphelion decide to throw in the towel after seven or eight songs. But other than its brevity, an excellent show.
Dream CD on Moodswing:
Dec 9th , 2000
~by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz
from La Gurdia airport. Dec 6th 05:15
Check in time, and time to go home.
Mystery and power seem to be the items that run my life. I love mystery, and I try to be open to the power of our mysterious Universe. For years I have had the belief that a techno tribal rebirth of everything that has ever been will be eventual. Old rituals will return, but to new arenas. To new stages. They shall develop with current rituals. The ritual of e-mail, the ritual of guest list, the ritual of coat check, and the ritual of bar-keeps (a sacred and varying ritual, that I believe is older than we give credit.) Seriously though. We have rituals we fallow to our own fulfillment, some we choose, and some are forced on us, and those are usually not so fulfilling. What I shall try to explain was a mixture of old and new, I will try not to get into the aspect of ritual though, but the aspect of how fulfilled I became from the combination.
New York. It has been calling. I have had a way to get there for many months. It beckons, and yet I have been hesitant. Metropolis managed to land two concurrent tours here at the same time. Velvet Acid Christ, and Juno Reactor. Both new albums are inspirational. Funny that newer V.A.C. reminds me of older Juno Reactor, with different samples, or a different 'vibe'. Somehow I got the days off from all my projects. This is mystery. So I use my power to see if I should go to New York.
V.A.C. is at the Limelight, a bit of a jaunt from La Guardia airport, but we can do it.
Wait! Juno Reactor is at the mysterious 'Voodoo Lounge' and even though I had to comb through google.com to find it. It is in Bayside (Queens) and only 17 min. driving time from the airport. I am sold! The answering message at the lounge states, " doors at 7pm this is an early show. Grrrreat. I can go to both shows then, right? Well, no! I don't know what you call an early show, but Dr. Alex Patterson (of the Orb go to http://www.theorb.com/index.html ) did not start his DJ set until 10:30 p.m. I don't know what time 'Juno Reactor' started, but we wandered around too long afterwards, and missed our 1:43 train, to give you an idea. So, was I duped... Not exactly. Let me explain why.
Power is mystery. Try to solve everything, and to put it into a completely logical and understandable order, and you will lose yourself to egotistic mania! New York is one of those places where it cost to breath . I will not divulge how much I spent on this show, but it was worth every penny!!! You can not bottle and sell the power I gained from following my instincts, and making it to this 'show' (ritual disguised as a show.)
The 'Voodoo Lounge' is smaller than imagined, yet this to me is a good thing. I want to really be a part of this performance. There is a little table towards the back of the main room. It is right in front of the DJ booth. You can hear the mix monitors the DJ's use to cue the next mix. It is a nice effect, hearing the next piece before it comes through the speakers in front of you. The place is thumpin'. The DJ sees me grooving along at my table. His self described mix of 'Progressive Trance' has the kind of tribal feel that is very appropriate for a 'Juno Reactor' show. Just when I thought I knew what to expect, he drops the track down into an ambient escape, a wispy female voice fallows into the song. Although the lyrics were inaudible, you could still sense the mix of joy and pain. An emotional mix best brought forth by a feminine vocalist. Return to the rhythm. The stage now set, many drums on stage. All had drums! Bongos, congos, jimbeys, timbales. bells, and maybe even whistles. A tribal back-drop, and a largely mirrored side wall, make the place seem expansive. Yeah, this is going to be magikal.
I try to imagine what the band looks like. I have known of 'Juno Reactor' for years, yet I am not certain of the line-up, and my 'homework' , well I did not find a website on them until after the show!
The DJ is Samsson, and he lays a CD of his mixes on me. This is really cool. I let him know it will get some play, and maybe a review, even if it is a bit out of genre. I can't wait to dig into it. His set had very few flaws.
A few hours later<10:30>. Dr. Alex Patterson appears. Here is a man that knows how to really throw you off guard. He appears behind the innocent looking DJ tables, and starts playing a really loud noise. Then Blue Room a 12 to 40 minute Orb classic (depending on the version you have) starts to play. Familiar rhythm, familiar voice, yet the rhythm gets stripped, and you get to here the house song, that actually made this hit so wondrous. After this, the beat is not as easy to fallow, and he is changing records erratically. A friend and I are trying to see what he is doing. It is not easy. I am starting to think he is testing us to see if we are worthy of the Juno show. No, wait, he has an onboard sampler, and is just building some odd syncopated elements. It starts to fall together, and the familiar sample from 'little fluffy clouds' chimes In. Recognizable material always gets a crowd going, but then Fttttpppp. Alex rips the record off, and starts a new mix. This time we are all dazed, and the noise is different and loud. It takes less than 30 seconds, and he has a Jungle beat going. Over that he lays some serious DUB bass. Jungle-Dub, and everybody is dancing (differently, but dancing.) Kudos to Alex for having the balls to rip up those little fluffy clouds, so we could stomp all over them (industrial reference, on purpose.) The only thing I remember about the end of his set, was a sample 'are you ready' over and over. Fitting, very nice touch. What I didn't expect (nor did anyone else from what I could tell), was five true to life, African Tribal drummers to wander onto the stage. Later I asked a roadie who 'Juno Reactor' was, and he said one man named Ben. Everyone else, musicians he collaborated with.
Wow. the rhythm starts off heavy, and Ben is in the back behind a mixing board. I can see he has a guitar too. This reminds me of 'System 7' (sans the live drummers.) The drummer I respect the most has the design from the backdrop painted in white on his face. So he looks like the cover. They all have face paint, and are wearing very little, but in that tribal way. One drummer is very muscular, and his muscles move intensely, depending on the strength of his hits. Another has only some shakers, and other smaller percussion items. Yet he is the leader of the dances, of the mood. He occasionally takes the moments between the powerful songs to talk to the audience. He is a pleasant man, they all are. I don't want to see them in an unpleasant mood. For these are also serious men. Ben included. One of the things that can be hard about live 'electronica' is not being able to see as much communication with band members. Not here! The drumming gets so intense, so quickly, you can see them breathing, to keep the flow, the momentum. The drummer with the sigil, has sticks with rubber on them, and has so many drums to hit, in so many ways. A true master. I envy his skill. The noise from the back sometimes seems like a stranger to the tribal frontmen. Yet it always falls together. The power is becoming awake around me. A man in a Coil shirt dancing with a man in a Haujobb shirt (hey aren't they playing across the river?) Girls are going nuts within their own ecstasy. I try to keep up, but I am so sweaty, and I know I will be in the cold soon. Samples are familiar, but how close are they sticking to 'scripts'. Finally, the mood hits, the sample creeps form the mixer. The drummers get going, and God is God starts becoming more and more apparent. Yes there is a definable structure. I have been in trance for some 4 or 5 songs now, maybe more. Yet this is my personal fave. I am going to watch them up close. Ouch! What an experience. It seems that Ben is triggering many sounds and samples live. The back beat may be a sequence or tape. Yet there is too much communication, and too much variance for him to be just mimicking a play along. This is live, alive, and just the right ticket to remind me of the ethos I found in the S.F. rave scene of 1992-94. The next song is Pistolero a combination of tribal trance and salsa that has everybody in the mood to act like bandits. I am very impressed with the number of people who know this one! From the latest release, it gets all the tired out dancers, back to the floor for another round. I rested after this one. There was some talk from our delegate. Talk of mixed cultures , of friendly faces, and of good dancing. He is a great spokesman, especially with his thick accent. This is New York, and a thick accent does not mean you don't have something worth saying! I am convinced. I am at the Voodoo Lounge, and the bass is ripping like 'THUNDER' girls and guys both dance like they are shaggin' the music itself. Tribesmen, beating the war drums. In peace! For now. And invoking within our presence, the power of an Orishian God. Shango = Chango.
The mystery solved, the power experienced. Fallow those feelings, and don't forget your dancing shoes!!!
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