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Friday, September 22, 2017

Neuringer / Dulberger / Masri - Dromedaries review

Around a month ago, Already Dead Tapes and Records released an album that I was really interested in but only got to check out now. This album is Dromedaries by Neuringer / Dulberger / Masri. I've seen Shayna Dulberger play with Cellular Chaos, so I wanted to see what she would do here. I like these kinds of collaborative experimental albums.

I love the art on this album. After seeing the names involved, this is what drove me to listen to it. The beautiful blue nightshade of what looks like North Africa is a trip. The position and font of the text is well done as well. There is a mysticism and mystery to this cover art that calls to the subconscious mind.

Dromedaries starts with some semi-tropical drums beating to a quick and frantic pulse of bass and saxophone on "Passage To The Spine". The track gets more unsettled as it goes, transporting from cool rhythms to dangerous acid visions of heat. The heat clears at the end with a minimalist bassline and little else. "One Foot Lighter Than The Load" has a ping-pong sound, one instrument in and another out. I like the drums on here a lot; they have a watery deepness to them like the farthest depths of the ocean where strange prehistoric beasts still dwell, a place I have visited in my nightmares. There's an amazing mid-section with really wild horns that starts with a long drumroll tense up. "As Is Above, So Is Hello" has a rainy sound, and this would be a good rainy day record. A sweeping dusty sound and a slowly sounding horn arise from ancient texts; it suits the witchy title. This turns into a more reflective piece, Nighthawks at the Diner, a mythos detective going over what he saw in that tomb under the strange hospital as he stirs his glass furiously and awaits the open-face roast-beef sandwich he ordered. Even the waitress's beauty couldn't get his mind off those foul odors of mildew and honey and the arcane symbols written on the walls in blood. This track really takes my mind to the lonely corners of the night.

"A Horse By Committee" comes in strong with strings being roughly bowed, bells, and a steady beat. The horns float around like little ghosts, orbs and bugs and things. It's a fast-moving track and the longest on the album. There are some strange winds or bird sounds or maybe people on a roller-coaster in the middle of the track that threw me off for a second. Then there is a deep and eerie drone on the strings that stands alone for a time before splintering into wild sounds and then a sound like someone drawing with chalk arises in the West (aka the left-side). The whole track transforms into clockwork tinkling and rustling bass like some old, crumbling magick shop. This is such a great track that takes me all over. The last track, "Age of Reprisals", starts with some crickety, night sounds, and then there is a major rustling in that night with crashing cymbals, ringing metal, and harsh rattling and whirring. I think some of these are windup toys. It even sounds like there is a harmonica. The instruments here are really varied and add so much. This is a much calmer piece with little pops, cracks, distant thwomps, and bells. It's spooky, eerie, and unsettling. It made me feel a little sick, recalling yesterday's food poisoning and last weeks' toothaches. It ends on a rhymic clacking and chimes somewhere in a cavern with waterfalls and petroglyphs. It's a perfect end.

Dromedaries was a surprise; I didn't expect a free-jazz album, and this one goes into really interesting spaces. The blue tint of those scrublands matches the tales told in these songs. The production is not harsh and gives the musick space to meet the loneliness of this blue sphere, as jazz is wont to do. When it's not going into a mystic otherworld or a late-night diner on the shores of the Nile, the album also knows how to rock and skronk. This trio has not set their work into a formula. Talking about these diners and Egypt and lonely nights makes me think of the old ballad, "You Belong to Me", which matches this song in a way that I can't really explain, a song I associate, like this album, with a strange cosmic terror (though that one is buried behind a few other surfaces). If you are a fan of no-wave and free jazz, Cold Bleak Heat and various Sonic Youth solo weirdness, this is for you. Dromedaries receives a Good.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In the Water with Miami Dolphins

This show feels like it was forever ago, but Aloe and Satyr/Elfheim (that's me) went swimming with Miami Dolphins just a week ago on September 13th. I was still suffering from my severe toothache; unlike at Chrome Dreams III, this was post-surgery. I was on the way to recovery, but it would still take a while. I still feel a small pain in my mouth today.

On Wednesday the 20th, I did not want to go to Roboto at all. I had stayed home for several days with this pain, just playing The Sims 3 and other video games. I was living through my sim mostly; I didn't want to do anything but see my digital person become more of a rockstar and have a cute romance. But alas, I had my own not-rock-not-star stuff to deal with and no cute romances to go on or to come home to. "That's the way of the world".

I pared down my gear (not as much as last time) in anticipation of walking, but I got a ride to Roboto anyway. Nobody was there except the person running sound. I took a walk around the neighborhood, and came back to see some kind of a crowd actually.

After a small discussion, it was decided that Aloe would play first. They had some important stuff to do soon after, and I was in no hurry. Their set was good, spindly guitars recalling Sonic Youth. It was similar to the last time at Gooski's or the time before at the Lawrenceville VFW for RANT, but I actually felt like the sound in Roboto made Aloe's drums sound great. The heavy thuds hit the walls flat and came back as the sonic solids of Television's Billy Ficca. The guitars sounded good, but the vocals got drowned out. On the last song, Aloe turned some stuff down, and everything sounded awesome (even though it didn't sound bad before that).

Miami Dolphins was next. I didn't know what to expect from this band, named after a sport team. It was so cool! One of their songs recalled the legendary Pittsburgh band, the Cardboards, and they had an overall post-punk sound. That's not all though. Dance beats fused with military marches and spidery leads turned to rough chugging rock chords. Amidst all of this, the singer alternated between frenetic yelps and more conventional singing with quite an impressive range. "Nobody wants to go to war" - "it doesn't mean we shouldn't do it"; their songs made me think about violence, the environment, and our place in the world as individuals and as collectives. Also, they coincedentally reminded me of something I just learned at Chrome Dreams III: there are bits of plastic in much of our water across the globe. It's something to think about. I assume it is very important to Dolphins.

photo credit - Dan Spagnolo

I played last. Originally, Sorry I'm Dead was supposed to play, but our drummer had a schedule conflict that she only realized later. I figured I would just play solo instead, and then forgot the exact date (just like the scheduling conflict with the band), realizing it at the last minute. I brought my guitar and the sequencer. I intended to play a modified version of "Giants of Earth", and my set began that way, but it quickly turned into a pastiche of industrial noise and distant beeps. The noise was there to begin with as a background to the guitaring; I wanted to add layers, and it worked, becoming the main attraction. A rust-cloaked train derailed somewhere on a dust-covered world of burned red and this was the soundtrack to the internal computer failure that caused the disaster. It must have been a ghastly scene. I am happy with the set I played, though I despair at the fates of those passengers on those twisted rails.

Though it was a bit of a pain, literally, I'm glad I played the set and saw the other bands. Miami Dolphins were so cool; I got a CD that I'll be reviewing soon. It's always nice to play with Aloe, and I am really happy with the set I played. I'm inspired to do more Satyr/Elfheim shows this year; I want to consolidate all the live sets I end up doing into a new album. We'll see how many that ends up being (there's just one more set for the future - December).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Chinchees - The Chinchees review

The Chinchees are a garage rock/pop-punk/power-pop band from Minneapolis. They came through Pittsburgh on August 30th, just like Marbled Eye, and just like Marbled Eye, I missed the show, though it seemed cool. Here's a review of their self-titled debut album, so as to get a feel for the band.

The cover of The Chinchees is fun and colorful, perhaps a bit oversaturated with fruity sweetness. It displays the band, dressed in a uniform white, fleeing from a smiling giant called "The Almighty Grape". It's a surreal image that fits the musick. I like the white border with the band's name. It helps create a palette of green, purple, and white, with a touch of orange in the fallen leaves. It's a color scheme you might have seen in the 1990's, Goosebumps or Nickelodeon, not unlike what is heard on the album.

The album starts full-in with the Weezer-ish (think "Buddy Holly") "Hey Boy". I like the doo-wop vocals and the guitar solos. The bass really pushes this song hard. "Grocery Bag" continues the sugary, singalong quality of the first track, though it's a little darker, soundwise. The lead parts are dissonant and sound like something I would play with their rapid attack; I like it. There's also a really cool part in the middle that I don't know how to explain; the song stops for a second or two and rushes back like rapidly descending a staircase. "You're Gonna Get Stung" is overly snotty, but it's not bad. "Everyone's cooler than me!" the singer wails, "Everyone's cool, they rule!" That's so good! I love that line! It's a little mopey but also funny like the Ramones. There are some more cool leads on this, both in the parts played and the strange sounds. "Spoons" is almost a ballad I guess. It has another good bassline, but I am not a huge fan of this song. It's too long, and it has that Midwest emo-revival sound. "Gosling Day" starts really poppy, more than I like, but it gets much better. There are some cool drums, weird synth sounds, and another mini-stop. "Pocano" is the end of the first side, and it has that ending song feel, the end of a school year as students wearing jean jackets and flannel walk across a campus, the camera panning, and a kiss before the female lead gets on the bus, leaving the male lead to ponder, "what is this new relationship?" What will happen next season?

Side two surges in by "Melting Foam" quickly and harder than what we've heard before. Towards the end, the song gets really jangle-y, setting it apart from a straightforward rocker. "GORP" is the shortest song on the album. There are some goofy Beach Boys "Kokomo" vocals that make me chuckle a bit. "Everyone Knows" has a great dissonant guitar solo and a good bassline, but it mostly follows what we've already seen on the album. I wonder how much Minneapolis is like Pittsburgh? "Everyone knows everyone", the singer says. Seems fine. "Animal Genes" is really interesting. The lyrics have cool wordplay, maze-like. The title of "Your Life Is A Waiting Room" reminds me of Fugazi's famous track, but this sounds nothing like that. "They say that I am out of my mind". The tambourine adds a lot to this one, and it sets this apart from the earlier songs. Sometimes I worry that my life is a waiting room.

The Chinchees are almost nothing new, at first glance, but that's not true after taking everything in. There's enough to differentiate this from other things here, little bits in each song, that this album is worth a listen. The album gets a little played out by the end, but I enjoyed all the tracks. The production is solid too. I'll look out for The Chinchees next show in Pittsburgh, and you might want to check them out if you like The Ramones, Free Pizza, Polaris, or Shameover. The Chinchees gets a Good.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Chrome Dreams III

Last week, I got a tooth infection. I had previously had an infection in the same lower wisdom tooth back in August. It was really bad, and I had to get some antibiotics to take care of it, or I would be on the floor all day in tremendous pain. This was all after I got a filling for it last year too. Anyway, the day after the infection started, September 8th, I was scheduled to play a show at Brillobox.

The show was called Chrome Dreams III; it was a tribute night to Neil Young, who had been gravely ill when it was put together much earlier in the year. I had been set to play for a while, but the show did not get booked right away. Even when it did get booked, I wasn't sure what to do. I had asked my bandmates if they wanted to play the show but had not gotten a response. It might have just got lost in our giant morass of Facebook messages. I figured I would just do it myself then. Eventually, when the show was definitely happening, I asked my bandmates again. Dan didn't want to commit to doing the show, but Laura was into it. Then we didn't practice the songs for a while because we had all of these other shows to practice for. We practiced once, just the two of us, and then again after we added my friend Mark on bass to fill in the sound with all the soloing going on. We did that one more practice, and that's it. It seemed like something Young would do himself, so I was okay with this outcome.

The problem was that I only had a few ibuprofens left and no antibiotics for the night of the show. I had to see my dentist, but they aren't open on Fridays. Too bad for me. We were doing it anyway, and it would fine, right?

Well Laura, Mark, and I got to Brillobox early. We were on time, but when we arrived, only the promotor was there and maybe a few other people. We got everything set up and waited. My mouth felt terrible.

Once people arrived, Jim Storch played first. He played his three songs on a ukulele, as he has been doing for a while now. I hope to see his improv Burnout Warcry again sometime. I don't like ukuleles, but he plays with such an open heart that it works. Jim played "Wrecking Ball", which was beautiful in its scarce sparseness laid open. Next, he played "Round and Round (It Won't Be Long)", which I don't think I've ever heard before. He had some trouble getting through everything here, but it sounded fine. Last was "Mr. Soul". This was a strange one since it's more of a rocker. The ukulele was interesting to hear with distortion. The crowd got really loud and didn't seem to pay attention which upset me.

Sorry I'm a Vampire, the name for the band that was 2/3rds Sorry I'm Dead and 1/3rd Lil Vampires set up and started with "Mansion on the Hill" from Ragged Glory. It sounded pretty good; it was definitely very ragged. My guitar sounded kind of strange; something happened to the action the night before or something? I don't use this guitar often, and it is 50 years old. Second, we played a rockin' version of "The Needle and the Damage Done". I totally screwed up the words on this and the intro was shaky. Last was "Western Hero", or it would have been if we had gotten it off the ground. I think I screwed up the vocals mostly, but the rhythm might have been off too. I can't pinpoint what was wrong. That last one was a disaster though. We definitely should have practiced more, obviously.

My mouth was feeling a little worse than when the night started when Glowworms began their set with "Out on the Weekend", which sounded pretty good. They have a different bass player than when I last saw them. His playing seemed really subdued, but he was also playing through a Fender Bassman set up for guitar. I had to look up the next one; it was called "Revolution Blues". I'm totally unfamiliar with it, but it reminded me of a "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream". The guitar parts were up to par with Neil's himself, bursts of noise like shattered trumpets. Glowworms' final song was the one that I had wanted, the only one that I really wanted, "Like a Hurricane". They did a great job, though I wish the guitar had been less piercing at some points. Also, there was a weird problem with the amp; it kept cutting out. I tried pushing the cable in for a bit, but they got it figured out. The drums were maybe too technical. Overall, it was a great set.

My mouth was killing me, but I had to stay for the next set. The next performer was Zane, who I had gotten into a fight with years ago. I think both of us feel really stupid about it now, and I felt like I owed it to him to see him play. I didn't know he even played any instruments. He seemed a little shy and told us a little of his own self-growth. Zane sounded almost exactly like Neil Young; he just played acoustically and it was awesome, a voice from a misty dream singing "Bad Fog of Loneliness". Like Jim's set, this was everything laid bare. Next was "Old Man" and finally "Peace of Mind". My favorite part was when he stopped for a second, remembered a word, and immediately started again. That's some real rock 'n' roll stuff. The last song kept going on for a while too long, but the crowd really needed to shut up a bit too. It's hard to make out Zane's voice or guitar on my recording, but it was a great set. It made me feel okay to leave the show on that note; the pain in my mouth was too much.

I felt terrible, but my friend Ron helped me get home with his car. It would have been pretty bad if I had had to walk. I was disappointed to miss the rest of the show, but I did get to see a cool video of Big Splash playing "Powderfinger". It was good. The next day I rushed to a different dentist and was able to get some medicine. I had my tooth taken out this week on Tuesday. It's just healing up now. It seems like Chrome Dreams III went over pretty well too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Deriding Blue Honey From Aloe

The title of this post sounds like it makes no sense, but it kind of does. I was actually thinking of the word "deriving", playing off the way that two of the four band that played Gooski's on September 3rd had names connected to some kind of food or medicine. That would not have worked with all of the band names though. However, as you will see, it all makes sense.

I got to the show early. Aloe had not set up yet, but they soon did. I liked their set, but there's not much to say about it. It was the same set, as far as I can tell, from the day before at RANT. That's fine; this is the price of seeing the same band many times. This one was a little more rocking than the set for RANT. They played the new songs from the other day, and the old songs sounded great too!

The second band was Derider, who I had somehow never seen before. I watched a video they made some time ago and was dulled by the high production values. This was the opposite of that. It was sheer excitement and cool rock moves. Derider is awesome! They should make an awesome video with them playing live! Cormac thrashed around especially, looking like Thurston Moore to semi-Sonic Youth sounds they were making. You could also hear the Replacements and Hüsker Dü in the feedback-drenched rocking. This was such a great set that surprised my zero expectations.

The third band was Blue Smiley from Philadelphia. It's such a strange name, but I kind of like it. I was not that impressed with the band, unfortunately. They sort of sounded like The Beets or a similar Velvets-inspired garage band, but there were no standout songs. I was talking to a friend, and they pointed that out to me. They said that it was important to them to remember some of the songs that were played, something that they would definitely recall with Aloe and Derider and not so much with the other two bands. I have to agree. Blue Smiley sounded pretty cool, but their set was just a long haul through goopy songs with somewhat indistinguishable parts. All of the instruments combined together and the vocals were buried. I was not impressed.

Honey was the last band, and I was excited to see them based on the record of theirs I had heard. Their live set was disappointing though. They were loud, they had the chorus/modulation tones of Nevermind, but the songs were indistinguishable again. It was a big lump of semi-solid sugar, the kind you buy at an Asian grocery store thinking it will be pretty cool but have no idea what to do with as a white American. Just like Blue Smiley, Honey had some nice tones to the guitars and whatnot, but every song had the same kind of sounds and structures. That watery chorus can't be used for everything or you lose the dramatic effect.

I went home in a strange mental state, thinking about lumps of sugar plum fairies and the sickly sweet haze of nightly longing that hadn't been fulfilled by this show. I would definitely give Honey and Blue Smiley a second chance; perhaps it was Gooski's questionable sound system or perhaps they were just kind of off that night. More importantly, this show has me thinking about my own songwriting. Am I writing the same song over and over again too?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bat Zuppel - Dylar review

Bat Zuppel is a band from Pittsburgh that I never seem to catch and have tried to book a few times. I did actually catch them recently at RANT 2017. You could make a comparison to an eel or something, but, after listening to their new album, Dylar, it seems that they must dwell someplace that is not exactly of this Earth.

The album cover is way out there to start. It's colorless with a white, many-eyed creature being carried away in a wheel-barrow by a hooded figure in black. The cluttered cityscape behind sort of looks like Pittsburgh, hills and a trolley track and radio towers and smoke. The font on the cover looks nice, and the overall design recalls Peter Max's psychedelic worlds drained of their color.
Dylar starts strong with "Dylar VII". The production is muddy, but it works. The song has a heavy-psych vibe, heavy drums and sludgy guitars. It's an epic. Next is "Something Else", which is just as it says. This one is way faster and lighter, sort of; it has some angry vocals and then a spacey guitar part takes over, sending everything to some kind of orbit. It sounds like Nervosas mixed with Thee Oh Sees. I really like the guitar part at the end. "Dylar", the title track, has some scary vocals. I didn't know what Dylar was, so I looked it up and read a bit about it. It turns out to be a drug that is intended to inhibit the fear of death in the novel White Noise. These screams on here make a lot of sense. "Her Favorite Song" sounds like Dinosaur Jr. mixed with Pink Floyd. The band makes another space trip at the end, accompanied with really interesting drums and a good solo. "I swear she put a spell on me", begins "The Witch". The vocals are mighty and dramatic, and there should be more vocals and less instrumentals. This track really makes me wish the vocals were more prominent on the other tracks. "Away to Drown" opens with a guy talking about skating. It made me think of playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater with friends, and I laughed a little. It might have been a real story though. "Away to Drown" is again lighter and faster and angrier. Bat Zuppel moves like a machine in overdrive here, the lyrics are dark, at least the ones I can make out. At a little after the halfway mark, there is another space trip type like in the last few songs. "Living Without Blues" is something I never thought of; it's actually a really interesting idea, though I don't think I would like that world. It's about missing someone and feeling like you've lost it all, though again the lyrics are so reverb'd out at times. There are some really bluesy guitar solos here, mixed with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" chorus vocals, and it's great. "Sneaky Tack" is total garage rock, sped up and cleaned up. "See my girl, see my baby". The vocals make it sound a bit like Bowie on Pinups. I wish this track did not have the space-solo during the second half; the strong would have been stronger as something more compact. "Love" has a tough vocal to start things off, a descendant of Lou Reed or a version of Jet that isn't terrible. I like the cleaner production on this one and the simple imagery. The song ends on a space voyage, as you might expect.

Dylar was an interesting listen. The songs are decent, and the instruments are well played. The production is really muddy though, so it can be hard to make out what's going on. It kind of works with this band. I can't understand the vocals on most of these tracks, and I wish I could. They've gone into the world of reverberations. The songs are a little formulaic; Bat Zuppel's garagey guitars mix with the outer limits often. Most tracks seem to have a space rock outro or ending solo. They sound good, but this is such a dramatic effect that it becomes overdone when used this often. Even with these flaws, I do like this album; it's a solid rocker with some cool quirks. I give it a Good, though it just makes the pass. I had to think, "would I enjoy listening to this over and over?". The answer is, "yes".

Dylan launches on September 22nd on Wild Kindness Records, and there's a release show scheduled for September 15th at Spirit. Watch for it all overhead.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Marbled Eye - EP review

Marbled Eye is a band from Oakland, CA that I almost went to see when they were here in Pittsburgh on August 30th. I wasn't familiar with the band at all, but I liked the description, the quick listen I did, and the name of the band. Low on cash and feeling kinda down, I skipped out on it. I don't regret missing the show, but I figured I would review Marbled Eye's EP to get a better grasp on the band.

EP has a pretty cool cover, a monochromatic blue on white and looking like a Katsuhiro Otomo drawing. The textural image matches the sounds nicely. However, I don't like the text on the left. It looks almost good, but I have issues with the different thicknesses, angles, and the odd 'm'. It looks like there was not much of a plan to it. If they had taken some more time to give it a cohesive look, this would be a great cover image. Their previous release, the self-titled Marbled Eye, used the same style of text but made it the focus of the image, a mystery to untangle and sort out amidst puzzle pieces and dominoes.

The EP starts with "Former" with guitars like rays of light and monotone vocals. It's good, but I wish the vocals were more exciting; they seem to be going for something Gang of Four might have sang on Entertainment but not of the same caliber, the bass not as strong. I do like when the vocals are consumed by reverb at the end, and the lead guitar is great. Next is the more bass-heavy "Dirt" with rattling guitars that begin to sound like Murray Street Sonic Youth. This is a much more upbeat song in tone, and the production is much more open. When the vocals come in, things are a little more muddy, more negative. They sound like a mix of Syd Barret and Alan Vega. It continues to also sound like Sonic Youth. During this song, I began to think the production was a little off. Third is "Feast", not unlike the previous song. It still has that later-era Sonic Youth tone, but the vocals aren't as much Barrett/Vega. I actually really like the vocals on this one; they aren't too deadpan and the rhythm is cool. The guitars go into a mysterious zone, accompanied by uncertain drums, the bass driving them to their destination. This is my favorite song on the EP. This last one, "Objects" is a close second; it's also really good. It has the vocalist from the first song, who I don't find as exciting. However, the instrumentals parts are some of the most interesting on the whole release. The Morse code guitars lead the pulsing bass and the syncopated drums. It ends with a really cool drone tone that's probably just the last glimmer of one of the stringed instruments.

Marbled Eye's EP is a reasonable effort, but it is nowhere near a masterpiece. My main issue is with the production. Everything seems too tinny and thin. The bass can rumble but it lacks real power, and the drums are far too slight. It pains me a bit to listen to this, though the songs are pretty good. Despite the production, the instruments play some really interesting bits, but the vocals drag the songs down too. Finally, EP is not anything that hasn't been done before. The unwary might mistake this for an early-2000's post-punk revival record or even for one of the originals from the late 70's to 80's. I think Marbled Eye could have a lot to offer, but I cannot give their EP more than a Neutral.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

RANT 2017

RANT, an acronym for Rock All Night Tour, is a big festival in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh that is in its sixth year. I have never gone to any of the previous years, as big events make me anxious with their obligations. Since I now live in Lawrenceville, it seemed silly not to go this year, which itself is kind of an obligation.

I decided to go to only two of the shows, both on the night of September 2nd. The first was at Spirit, and the second was at the Lawrenceville VFW, a place I had never been before. I wanted to see some of the bands at Roundabout Brewery, but the times conflicted with the bands I wanted to see at the other two shows.

I made it to Spirit a little after Swampwalk had started. Not many people were there, and no more than four were anywhere near the stage; many people were back near the bar. It was fairly empty, and that was disappointing to me. Swampwalk's set was pretty cool, though there were some little mistakes that she pointed out in a cute way that made them seem fun. I always like the song about street harassment. It's incredibly well-written and addresses a serious topic. She flipped off the crowd in a friendly sort of way during that one. I think she was also a little frustrated with the crowd's disconnect.

Next was Bat Zuppel. I actually took a short trip home, only a few blocks, due to anxiety and hunger/thirst. I saw about half of Bat Zueppel's set. They must have started late, because it seemed like they went on later than they were scheduled to. I've only seen Bat Zuppel play at the Ramones tribute show I did last year. This set was not as exciting as that one. It was good, but it lacked the intensity and fury. There were some really cool guitar leads and cool rock moves, though. I wonder if it was due to the separation of the band from the crowd; being high up on a stage is much different than playing at the same level as the audience right in front of you. The audience was still not paying attention either.

Thousandzz of Beez played an awesome set after Bat Zuppel left the stage. I was so impressed! The crowd seemed more impressed too (finally)! I have only seen Thousandzz of Beez once before, so this was almost entirely new to me. Of course I had seen Hunter play with Dani in Space Debacle recently; this was very different, though of course there were some similarities. This set reminded me of something Syd Barrett might have played had he been born to my generation instead of the acid-soaked 60's. Hunter's garb and the songs did remind me of the 60's though, accompanied with drum machine and a little harp in addition to the typical folkish guitar of Greenwich Village. Thousandzz of Beez is quiet musick, night musick, Pittsburgh's Colossal Youth. I was entranced by these songs, and I almost wanted to go home and think about what I had just seen.

I did go home for a short time. I did think about what I saw. On the way back to my house, I saw some friends outside Roundabout Brewery and got to see a little bit of The Long Hunt, a Sabbath-y instrumental group. On the way back out after my short stay at home, I also stopped there for a second and saw the shortest glimpse of Midge Cricket. I couldn't stay though.

The Lawrenceville VFW did not look like it was hosting a show. When I entered, there was a faint smell of smoke and numerous older men. However, there was a small area in the corner with some gear set up. Aloe was just getting ready when I came in. The sound person made them turn down a few times; they were awfully loud for such a small venue. It was kind of funny. Aloe played some new songs using some older poetry. These songs were really good! I liked them maybe a little more than the already existing songs.

I considered leaving after Aloe's set, but I hung out with some friends. There was one more band to play, LoFi Delphi. The name doesn't really fit the band. LoFi Delphi is a very polished band, almost like a very professional bar band, but not as boring. The audience seemed really into it; the VFW was way more packed than Spirit. I was still talking with friends, so I don't have a good recollection of their set. They did play a nice cover of "Psycho Killer" at the end. I feel like it's a played out song, but it worked well.

I stayed a bit longer and then went home. It was good to go out and finally see/hear what RANT was all about. It's not really a tour and does not go all night, but it was fun to see a few very different bands. I think it would be cool if it was like Art All Night and actually went all night at one or two venues where a person could pop in and out of at their leisure. Art All Night can't do musick all night though either. Next year, I hope that the RANT folks can get more people out to these shows, maybe reel it back a little. The performers were all fine, but it was weird to see the upstairs of Spirit so empty for such a big, advertised event. I plan on going next year again to see what they come up with.