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    Stereolab at The Belly Up

    September 29th, 2008

    Stereolab at The Belly Up, 1999.
    Laetitia Sadier handles the vocals.

    Solana Beach, California
    November 19, 1999

    Stereolab: They came, they saw, they played, and everything was just fine and dandy…until the end of their set, that is. As the band retired backstage and the Belly Up began to defecate most of its patrons, I leaned over the front of the stage and peeled one of Stereolab’s set lists off of a monitor. As I gazed nonchalantly down upon it, I noticed in my peripheral vision a hirsute ogre, who had been tearing down sound equipment up on the stage, lurch forward in my direction. Not exactly a respectable ogre of ancient myth or fairy tales, this specimen was of your ’70s burnout garden variety: 40 or 50 years old, complete with a shaggy mop, a full beard, and enough wrinkles, meth-pocked skin and bad breath to fill a million Camaros.

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    Jim O’Rourke + Oval + The Electric Company + Creedle at The Casbah

    September 20th, 2008

    Oval, live at Spaceland, 1998.
    Markus Popp of Oval and Jim O’Rourke at Spaceland, Los Angeles, California, 1998. Photos by Rich Jacobs.

    San Diego, California
    Friday, May 29, 1998

    It was odd enough that a rock band, Creedle, appeared on a bill with three electronic artists; and even stranger that they played at a rock club like the Casbah. The Electric Company is Brad Laner from Medicine. His stack of rack mounts and mini-disc player was topped off by a little mixing deck, which he tweaked and twiddled for some pretty messed-up results. Disjointed beats, loops, rhythms and samples appeared and disappeared like a dance club invaded by a swarm of floods and Earthquakes. Brad seemed pretty into it for a guy standing solo behind a miniature skyscraper of technology.

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    Tony Conrad at Spaceland

    September 20th, 2008

    Tony Conrad at Spaceland, 1998.
    Tony Conrad at Spaceland, 1998. Photo by Rich Jacobs.

    Los Angeles, California
    March 11, 1998

    In between a week’s worth of matinee performances at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s Temporary Contemporary, Tony Conrad performed one night at Spaceland. With friend Alexandria Gelencser on bodyless cello, Tony tried to saw his violin in half and swayed around the stage with 35 years worth of cloudy, clear, cloud flotation experience behind him. Slow, slower, slowest. Continuous ebb and flow. Egg on. Loud, louder, loudest. With Alex’s steady drone supplying the foundation, Tony was really free to soar on this night, and that he did, despite the fact that the sound system occasionally cut out, which reduced the volume level somewhat for a few moments at a time. Silhouettes of the pair were thrown by a lamp onto a large, translucent sheet that completely hid the stage. Alex’s silhouette remained motionless, save for her right arm, which steadily sawed away as Tony slowly swirled in time to this timeless comforter of sound. After 45 minutes, Alex finally had to give up when her cello began to cut out really bad, and Tony followed suit a moment later. Thanks must go out to these two troopers for sticking it out as long as they did, and for flowing out some original, important and lively music.

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    Ghost at Spaceland

    September 14th, 2008

    Los Angeles, California
    Saturday, August 23, 1997

    Louder and friendlier than Casper, Tokyo’s Ghost delivered over an hour of awesome psychedelic folk rock on this night. Opening with a long, ambient, atmospheric piece, the hunger to rock was strong. The thirst was finally quenched as they exploded into the blistering “Rabirabi.” With a drummer, a bongo drummer who handled a full set of metal and wooden percussion, a vina and tambourine player, a bass player and two electric guitarists, Ghost blasted out way loud, rocked-out versions of the mostly acoustic-led beauty off their first three studio efforts. Of special note was the lead guitarist, whose ghostly slide abstractions and handfuls of shredding psych noodles elevated this apparition into high Earth orbit. Most excellent.

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in August 1997.

    Nels Cline at The Alligator Lounge

    September 14th, 2008

    Nels Cline at the Smell, circa early 2000s.
    Nels Cline at the Smell, circa early 2000s.

    Los Angeles, California
    Monday, July 28, 1997

    Nels Cline is a very tall, strangely talented man that hosts New Music Monday every week at The Alligator Lounge in Santa Monica. Treat Night, as I’ve never thought of calling it, features out-jazz, improv, and occasional all-out fests of what-the-hellness. After a few jazz combos plied their trade, the final lineup tonight contained Nels on guitar, Crib on droning electric bass, Mario Rubalcaba on drums, another guy also on drums, plus a DJ. One hour-long belch of deep space whine coalesced into a big mess of tribe-bum-electric-dark-curtain steam that finally let up a tad after midnight. Too bad the DJ was turned up way too loud in the mix, which practically nullified any hope of actually hearing noodleman Nels blast off from Cape Canaveral. Oh well, maybe next time some rockers in the audience will stone the DJ. Wait a minute. Stone him in what way?

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in July 1997.

    Thai Kevin at Palms Thai

    September 12th, 2008

    Thai Kevin at Palms Thai, 1996.
    Thai Kevin, a Thai Elvis impersonator, circa 1996. Photo by Rich Jacobs.

    Hollywood, California
    Circa 1996

    Thai Kevin was a very suave man. He wore the color purple better than most. The restaurant in which he did his Elvis impersonation was inside a mini-mall full of different Thai eateries in Hollywood. I even seem to remember there being more than one of these characters. I would guess the year was probably 1996? I definitely saw him on purpose. I was told by friends of his existence. I think I went with either my old roommate, Leslie Ishino (drummer of the Red Aunts), or it could have been with her then boyfriend and my good friend, Sam Velde (singer for Bluebird), but that is unclear in my memory. I had trouble looking at my food, because I wanted to see this guy belt out his Elvis impersonator skills and show off his styles beyond, which he had in spades. My reactions to this were mostly impressed, satisfied, enthused, excited and confused, but there was absolutely no doubt involved. The food was a lot more average than Thai Kevin was. I don’t even remember what I ate, except that it was almost definitely either pad thai or spicy noodles, which I almost always get. It is one of my favorite dishes ever. I can’t remember which issue of Move Zine this photo was in, maybe number six or seven? It was one of the pocket-sized ones. If pressed, I would say seven, and that is all I can say. I am not allowed any other words regarding this photo.–Rich Jacobs

    Note: The photo above originally appeared in Move Zine circa 1996.

    Table of the Elements Festival No. 2: Yttrium

    September 7th, 2008

    Tony Conrad at Table of the Elements Yttrium Festival, 1996.
    Tony Conrad et all, 1996. Photo by Rich Jacobs.

    The Empty Bottle
    Chicago, Illinois
    November 7, 8, 9, 1996

    Since the early 1990s, the Atlanta independent label Table of the Elements has been very busy issuing many important minimal, drone, noise, improv and other experimental recordings from the past, present and future. They hosted their second gathering for like-minded individuals at The Empty Bottle, a small club right across the street from an ultra-sketchy area of Chicago.

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    Bardo Pond at The Casbah

    September 2nd, 2008

    Bardo Pond, All Tomorrow's Parties, 2003.
    Bardo Pond, All Tomorrow’s Parties, 2003.

    San Diego, California
    Thursday, September 19, 1996

    The effects pedal industry won’t slump as long as Bardo Pond is around. Each member laid out at least eight or nine of the things, which, at the command of their feet, transformed the room into a languid aquarium of electric guitar, bass, drums and flute delirium. For visuals, there was vocalist Isobel, who, even in long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, was more than pleasant to gaze upon as her hair hung in her face, swaying in the heavenly maelstrom.

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in September 1996.

    William Hooker + DJ Olive + Z’ev + Somebody + Crib at Spaceland

    September 2nd, 2008

    Los Angeles, California
    Saturday, August 17, 1996

    Crib consisted of one man on solo electric bass who let another haze of dark, pulsing minimal drone slowly spray out in all directions. Very nice. Somebody (sorry, the band’s real name escapes me) was a guitar, bass and drums trio in which each member also played keyboards. Their take on noisy, quirky “rock” was fairly interesting. As an aside, this stopping between songs stuff has to, itself, stop. For 20 years now, Z’ev has been pounding scraps of metal into submission. Tubes, pipes, homemade gongs, sheet metal, etc. were all activated into a long, continuous trance tone played with soul and good percussion sense. William Hooker went off on his free drum / soundfield / poetry rants as DJ Olive backed him up with some nice, scratch / spin / smear noise ’n’ chaos efforts, which all formed another mesmerizing whole that went on a little bit longer than the last American history lecture you snored through.

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in August 1996.

    Sonic Boom + Further + Kitten Sparkles at Spaceland

    September 2nd, 2008

    Los Angeles, California
    Friday, August 16, 1996

    Kitten Sparkles is the new solo noise project of Don Bolles (Germs, 45 Grave, Celebrity Skin, Three Day Stubble). Employing shortwave radios and electronics, he maintained a really loud, quivering field of pain for at least 15 or 20 minutes. A single strobe light flickered on the faces of a small crowd who sat with heads bowed and eyes closed, observing a moment of noise in a wake for the 20th Century, the loudest century ever—a time period characterized by walls of electronic sound blanketing the globe. Further doled out an hour’s worth of light, ’60s-inspired rock. Twenty minutes of their peak moments without stops between songs would’ve suited me just fine. Sonic Boom (ex-Spacemen 3, Spectrum, E.A.R.) flooded Spaceland with a nice, big bed of ebbing dream drone. Using electric guitar, keyboards, modern Theremin and electronics, some definite body-swaying lows and platueaus were realized, with occasional peaks of bursting ecstacy.

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in August 1996.