Arto Lindsay Delivers the Good

On October 18th, I was supposed to go with my friend Tyler to see MDC at Belvederes. I was really excited to go because I don't go to a lot of straightforward punk shows. The day before the show, or maybe the day before that, I realized there was a major conflict for me: Arto Lindsay was playing at the Warhol Museum on the same day and around the same time. Since I've already seen MDC, a while ago with Subhumans at the Rex Theater, I knew I had to see Arto's band. His creepy-crawly, slashed guitar sound was a huge inspiration for me when I was in high school and inspired my playing in the band Belt of Venus. Also, when was he ever here on tour?

I got to the show right when it started. Beauty Pill had just begun to play. I had only heard of this band when I first saw this show was announced a few months before, so I had no existing experience with them. Beauty Pill reminds me of dance-punk bands from a decade ago or artists that morph between several genres like Beck or Björk. They sound like a band that could be on WYEP but might be a little too out there at the same time; it straddled the line between academic middle-of-the-road and weird art-punk. The songs were somewhat subdued but often pushed forth as they played longer into it. I really enjoyed the strange samples played by the frontwoman, but the bass was a little loud. Beauty Pill definitely set the mood for the main event.

The second and final act was Arto Lindsay himself, accompanied by a percussionist, bass player, drummer, and keyboardist. Arto handled the vocals and outbursts of his wild guitar, a sparse seasoning for each song that primarily relied on the other members. The bass player, the legendary Melvin Gibbs, provided heavy, pulsing rhythms and squirming electro-worm sounds via what appeared to be Moogerfooger Ring Modulator with an expression pedal. I really need to get one of those pedals for mine! The keyboard player had some trouble hearing the bass player at the beginning, but his playing never off. Constantly smiling, he provided an upbeat counterpoint to the rest. The percussionist and drummer made the coolest rhythms, not the standard 4/4 that I love; this was something unique, at least to me. Arto's guitar sounded as dangerous as ever, even with a full band behind him playing soulful songs far from the dread dead zone of DNA. It was a great show. I felt like I transcended my normal anxiety into a very aware state of bliss.

After the show, I talked with Arto for a second and thanked him for his work with DNA and the show that night. I got the setlist from Melvin Gibbs too! It's written in such a fanciful cursive, some of the songs in Portuguese. I talked with some friends for a bit, and I wondered if I could, or should have, asked Arto for a picture or autograph, but I really didn't want to bother him. It sounds kind of cliche, but really seeing his band meant a lot to me, and that was enough.