The first show I played in 2012 was at Garfield Artworks with Chris Corsano and CAPA High School's Antithesis.  On the way there I received a phone call from Edgar Um, asking me if I could get Not the Wind Not the Flag on the bill as well.  He had thought that they would be coming tomorrow and playing at the Shop (I was supposed to play that show as well).  Oh well...

When I arrived Antithesis had already started, even though I had apparently been expected to play first.  I felt like a jerk for being late.  Antithesis was a large group with lots of brass instruments; they played a sort of experimental, avante-garde jazz.  It was dissonant and piercing, strange sliding sounds and bells filling the air.  Most of their songs were pretty eerie and one was fairly traditional sounding.  At the end they had a strange backing track of an auctioneer and a guy ran around with luggage and electronics like it was being auctioned off.  I think the person who played the note when the auction track ended got the item.  Even though the last song was kind of weird and gimmicky, it was fine and Antithesis' set was good.  The fact the they had a conductor and that the audience was composed of parents was discomforting, but everyone was enthusiastic and stayed for Corsano and myself.

I played next, trying to hurry onto the stage and feeling like I was forgetting a lot of stuff.  When everything got plugged in I played some low notes with feedback in the distance.  It sounded very symphonic and maybe even melodic.  I got loud and noisier at the end, but the whole time from the start Manny had turned me down to not disappoint the parents.  I was pretty annoyed about it at the time, but it sounds fine to listen to now so I guess that it doesn't really matter.  It was a pretty good set.

Chris Corsano was next; he set up next to a wall on the floor with a ton of weird gadgets to toy with.  He started by bowing a cymbal and then played a strange mouth organ(?).  While doing so he started to play his drumkit with focus, power, and speed.  He played a triangle with his mouth and later a huge flute.  At the end there were gongs and a small amp that made lots of noise from a contact microphone.  Corsano was as good, if not better, than the past two times I had seen him at No Fun Fest in 2009 and at Garfield Artworks with psych-rockers Rang-Da.

Everybody left, but Not the Wind Not the Flag was still setting up.  They also had a lot of stuff, mostly weird percussion instruments that one guy played as he also blew into a recorder while the other played drums.  They built up a lot of the non-drum sounds as loops into a mysterious, aboriginal soundscape full of chanting, ringing, and clanging along with a continually building drone in the background.  In the middle of their set Not the Wind Not the Flag slowed down their huge momentum with echoing gongs as the drummer set up a guitar.  He played dissonant notes while the percussionist took to the drums and they went on for a while before slowing down and manually fading out.  It was really great, but by the end there were maybe three people left.

I booked and am playing a few shows that are coming up as Satyr/Elfheim.  Come check these out if yr in the Pittsburgh area:

July 2nd at Caliente Pizza Bar with Opponents, Celebrator, Buoyhood, RJ Myato, and Wasp Nest Head Dress

July 7th at Caliente Pizza Bar with Griefhound, South Seas Sneak, and Manson Girls

July 12th at the Mr. Roboto Project with Limbs Bin, Lizards & Frogs, and RJ Myato

I am also playing a secret, mystery house tour at the end of July that will also feature visual art and videos.  Stay tuned for more info, more shows, more reviews.

I had been invited to the Weird Paul Rock Band 99¢ Variety Show many times in the past and had intended to go most of those times.  For the sixteenth one I would have to go: I was going to be performing in it!  Since I don't do 21+ shows this was not a Satyr/Elfheim performance.

I got there late, but didn't miss my own timeslot.  When I got there two guys that I see a lot were doing some really slow, basic, and minimalist punk/metal as a two piece.  The guitarist has a cool mustache.  For their last song they played an awesome cover of "I Am the Walrus" which sounded way better than the version by the Beatles.  It was really heavy and dry.  Cool stuff.

In between acts the Weird Paul Rock Band tells jokes and does very strange skits that seem to be about hats most of the time.  Here Jon Dowling is making a strange sex joke about pope hats and adultery.

When they were done with the penis jokes I reviewed some records on stage.  The idea was to make weird comments about the art on the sleeves and not really talk about the music.  I was sort of unprepared and some of the jokes weren't very funny, but everybody seemed to think I was really great.  I explained my dislike for Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited (it's not actually that bad), explained that Big Dipper's Craps must be really cool because Bill Goffrier is doing a silly dance on the inside, and read the back of Nancy Sinatra's Boots album (which tells you about how good she smells, talks, eats, etc.).  I had fun doing it and Weird Paul seemed to think it was a good idea and he had me guess which records he owned (The Cars' Heartbeat City and Big Black's Songs About Fucking).  Jon Dowling wanted to buy the Big Dipper album.

Someone that I don't know played some cool bluegrass music after I was done.  He went on for a really long time, but it sounded good.  There isn't much else to say on this one.

Next Jason Baldinger formerly of Paul's CDs did a crazy performance as dying Las Vegas lounge act Jimmy Braun.  He swaggered drunkenly around and made lots of chauvinistic comments before he sang "the hits of the Beatles" throwing in some Wings and John Lennon songs as well.  "The hits" ended up being a capella noise because all of the backing tracks were opera songs.  He should join Wild Raft Records and become the next Brian Disanto.

 Before Weird Paul and his band got to come up and play for us Greg Cislon and Jordan Weeks did a skit about "the Big Sky".  They walked around dressed up like Native Americans with a strange cut out landscape of the southwest.  Jordan Weeks sat down and began to tell us all about preserving nature and why he loves the Grand Canyon as Greg Cislon made noises in the background that resembled rattlesnakes, water, and wind with lots of different objects.  Weeks' character told us about his first trip to the canyon with his parents and how he couldn't get it on with a girl that was with them and also about his belief in the Sasquatch.  It was a really funny piece of work.

The Weird Paul Rock Band started off with "Hot Water Heater", a sort of "hit" and followed it up with the lesser known "Murder Garage" (my introduction to Weird Paul and featured on the PPP Halloween comp in 2009).  They played the fun "Pot of Macaroni" and some covers too.  You can check out the surprisingly short setlist here.

My first Weird Paul Variety Show was a lot of fun and I've gone to more since.  I'm not sure if I'll perform at another one, but I might if I had more practice with what I was trying to do.  It is hard to know what to expect at the Variety Show, but it always turns out pretty well (especially for the price!).  Come check it out the third Sunday of each month.

Screaming Females is the best band in the world maybe.  They played at the Mr. Roboto Project on April 9th with some other cool bands.

First was Sports Metaphors featuring my friend Dane on guitar and vocals.  They are a noisy pop band like Guided by Voices or Miracle Legion and at times Dane's guitar can resemble Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine.  I miss their shows a lot and got to this one kind of late.  I got to hear some weird stories about tuning instruments and being neurotic.  It was really cool; they seemed a lot better since I saw them at Garfield Artworks for a show that I played there in 2011.  I will try to see them more often now.

Second up was a band that I had heard of before, but never seen: Crooked Teeth.  I liked the sound of their instruments, but really didn't like the vocals.  They are similar to Sports Metaphors but too far towards the pop-punk side of noisy pop music for me.  They played a bunch of songs with lyrics about high school and forgetting past relationships.  The songs sounded good, but I can't stand those kind of vocals at all.  Crooked Teeth was very enthusiastic and they definitely put a lot of energy into their performance.  I think that they did a good job, but it's not the kind of stuff that I like.

Finally Screaming Females played and I was completely blown away from the start.  I had only heard a few of their songs before from other people listening through laptop speakers so this was quite a surprise.  Marissa Paternoster has the best guitar sound; the soaring leads of 19 J Mascises along with bits of Guitar Wolf's Seiji and the showmanship of Pete Townshend.  So fucking awesome!  Her vocals have a resemblance to the previously mentioned Seiji combined with Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna, but smoother than both and still as expressive.  The other members of Screaming Females lay down a solid rhythm to her leads with the bassist sounding sort of like Lou Barlow (Screaming Females is basically a much, much, much better version of the later-era Dinosaur Jr).  Buy all of their stuff here.

On April 7th I saw my friends' band the Fuckies at Frankie and Georgie's in Squirrel Hill with another band called Killroom.  It was kind of a weird show.

The place was like a bar where everybody gathers in a town along the Allegheny River.  This is the kind of place that people talk about when the say "Hey I'm going to the bar."  Anyway first was the Fuckies.  They sounded tremendously better than the last time I saw them at the Mr. Roboto Project with Fuck Telecorps and Valerie Kuehne.  There they had severe trouble with feedback and were seemingly unprepared and disorganized as a whole.  Now they had replaced Ben Blanchard of the Weird Paul Rock Band with Vince Rizzo as their drummer, improving their sound overall by toughening it up.  The Fuckies played cool early 90's-ish rock stuff; they were not at all grunge, but sort of riot grrl or like alt-pop or something.  Zoe has a great sound to her vocals and her guitar playing is good.  Their record, if it ever comes out, will be great too!

Second/last was Killroom.  They played two sets(!) and are sort of like hometown heroes to everybody at the bar.  Their songs combined metal, grunge, and pop/rock with themes of missed relationships and lower class, left-wing values.  Killroom's vocalist was kind of like a female singer-songwriter mixed with some twangy country stuff, and sometimes she would play bass or acoustic guitar.  The guitar player on the right was pretty cool; he had a looser/noisier feel and a semi-punk attitude.  Near the end an audience member got up and sang a rap to Killroom's music.  She was very young and it wasn't great, but at the same time it was actually pretty cool.  At the end the bass player did a cool rap like Public Enemy filled with political fury at right-wing lamers.  I remember describing Killroom as Metallica + R.E.M. which seems pretty accurate; they were okay and cool in their own way.

Hey we're back!  Oh wait April Fools!  Err, this show was actually on April Fools' Day.

First Gangwish played there killer new album.  This time a female vocalist was added to their revolving membership.  She sounded good and had a cool look, but seemed really shy or maybe just didn't have vocals on each song.  There were African drum sounds and airy vocals; things were sort of tropical or maybe just more melodic and fun.  In the middle of their set things did get pretty noisy though.  The new stuff sounds great guys!

Balaclavas, from Houston, were next; they were sort of like a garage post-punk trio.  They had buried vocals and dark synths and fast guitars; everything was drenched in cavernous echos.  Balaclavas were wild and furious and pretty cool, but apparently not up to their usual level of coolness.  I thought they sounded fine, though the vocals were maybe out of tune sometimes (something was definitely a little bit off).

Finally Kim Phuc finished up the show, the frontman returning from a vicious head injury after being dropped while crowd surfing during a recent show.  Combining the charisma of Mick Jagger and the fury of the Melvins, Kim Phuc ruled.  Lots of moshing and throwing beer cans and cool pfoto opportunities for me.  It can be hard to hear the vocals sometimes with such loud guitars, but all of the energy keeps everything together.  Great stuff!

On March 28th The Curious Mystery, from K Records territory, played Garfield Artworks with some friends of mine.  Everybody was really great.

First up was the post-punk television weirdo band South Seas Sneak featuring the same two guy team of Jordan Weeks and Greg Cislon as featured in Thin Sketch, OC Feef, and any more.  For most of their set South Seas Sneak was accompanied by a drum machine with Greg Cislon playing guitar, but occasionally he switched to drums while Jordan Weeks continued to hammer his bass.  Guitars wavered thru the pounding rhythms with little vocals other than the repeated "hey" during a song in the middle of the set.  South Seas Sneak was pretty melodic for the most part and at times the watery sound resembled Mission of Burma or Big Black, but more funky.  Always (but rarely seen) cool stuff.

Next up was the Curious Mystery with a look like the High Desert and a strange inclusion of instruments (dulcimer[?] and double-necked guitar).  They sounded like a less-gothic Doors or a messier Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  There was the openness of the desert night over top of which floated voices of wind and ice as guitars guided the road.  A lot of Spanish sounding songs and dramatic endings and slow beginnings; things went from melancholy to hope to calm in miles per minute.  I really really liked their set and the guy on the left sort of looks like he could be in Crazy Horse.  You can listen to there stuff here.

Continuing the theme of truck driving to Roswell was finally Ivory Weeds with a cool truck drivery look.  Ivory Weeds set was like wandering through a darkened woods, fitting the mood of the rest of the show.  He played a lot of new songs filled with spooky loops and even descended into wild feedback for a minute.  Ivory Weeds brought more watery effects and made them haunted and cold.  I usually think that he tends to play things too safely, but here he didn't and it really made things a lot better because of it.  Cool stuff.

This show is a milestone or something.  It was the first show I saw after being in the hospital for a day, the last show RJ booked (I think, maybe?), and the return of Peter J Woods who played at the Shop in 2011.

I missed Wasp Nest Head Dress, but I saw about half of Ken Kaminski's cool set with a drummer.  It was not like his previous set with a drummer: more psychedelic and less no-wave.  The slow drums fused with pulsing beams from a phaser that grew and grew and growled.  The two worked well together, creating what was basically no guitar sludge rock.  Super cool (there were even solos)!

Triangle & Rhino played next, opening with a slow synth piece that featured the cries of dying monsters, but built up into a somewhat faster beat of steady drums and carnival organs.  I remember thinking it was really boring, but the recording sounds awesome.  The next song featured distorted vocals, sirens, and electronic beats.  This continued into the next song before Jake took up his guitar.  Triangle & Rhino played some fast sludge stuff that got mathy towards the end.  The last song returned to synths again.  It was a good set!

Finally there was Phoned Nil Trio which is kind of like a noise Village People; each member wore a crazy costume and used weird instruments.  Peter J Woods used a sword and a coffee pot provided some cool rumblings.  There were screeching tapes, machinery drones, and things that sounded like backwards warping children.  Things got loud at times with dying keyboards and alarms, distorted watery noises and fuzz.  At the end Phoned Nil Trio yelled about the coffee as it finished brewing as their noise climaxed.  Apparently it was very good tasting according to everybody I talked to.

MARI themes

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