In the world of humorous punk… one band is often overlooked

Schlong!

Their Punk Side Story album and Tumours 7″ are absolutely worth tracking down.

Punk Side Story is, of course, West Side Story done punk-style.
Tumours is the entire Fleetwood Mac Rumours album done in a 7″.

Remember when bands used to do fun things like that? What the hell happened to that?

The Northwest Chamber Orchestra Opening Gala!

a review

I just returned from seeing the Northwest Chamber Orchestra’s performance of William Bolcom’s Concerto Serenade for Violin and Strings, John Adams’ Shaker Loops and Philip Glass’ Piano Concerto No. 2.

First of all, this was a wonderful performance. While the NCO isn’t a premiere ensemble, they interpreted the pieces quite well.

The Bolcom piece was a bit disappointing to me, this was the first time I heard it and it didn’t seem up to the level of some of his other work. The ensemble did a good job with it and the soloist Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi did her able best to enhance the piece with her performance and stage presence.

To say that I have not been a fan of John Adams is an understatement. My first exposure to his work was at the World Premiere of Death of Klinghoffer at the San Francisco Opera. To say that I disliked it would also be an understatement. I hated it. Everything about it. It sucked and I’ve avoided anything with his name on it since. I’m willing to admit now that I’ve misjudged him, at least his non-operatic work. Shaker Loops is an excellent piece. Stunning. It was just a bit beyond the NCO’s comfort level which was unfortunate. Given the right ensemble, I think this piece could be transcendent. I’m going to seek out some of Adams’ non-operatic work now and re-evaluate him.

When it comes to Philip Glass, I am a devote. A fan. I really like his stuff and have for at least the last 20 years when I first found a copy of Einstein on the Beach at my local library. I have been a bit disappointed with his recent work because it seems that he has been adapting existing pieces for new ensembles and giving the pieces new names. This seems the height of laziness and is a bit of a disappointment. When the concerto began, I feared that this was going to be the case again. As the piece progressed, however, it strayed more and more from Glass’ old territory and into some new themes and ideas. Once the second movement (featuring R. Carlos Nakai) began, it really moved into new areas. Unfortunately, Mr. Nakai’s flute sounded way out of tune with the rest of the orchestra and was somewhat jarring. At the end of the movement, the flute and piano (performed excellently by Paul Barnes) performed a duet which was beautiful. The third movement was great and really saved the piece as a whole.

The rest of the season finds the NCO re-hashing the well-worn composers which guarantee ticket sales, but do little to move classical music forward. They are taking some interesting chances on their programs using the Garfied High School orchestra for their next concert and world premiering a new piece by C. Curtis Smith in April, but I’d hope to see them take more risks like today’s program in future seasons.

Dear Bumbershoot…

I don’t like you anymore

I haven’t been to a Bumbershoot in the last 6 years, mostly because we’re usually out of town on labor day weekend, but this year we were in town and so we decided to check it out. We had a couple things that we were interested in seeing and we had a short walk to get there. Perfect! We arrive and then we notice the prices $28/adult! That might be ok if Bumbershoot is your only source of culture ’cause you are under 21 or live in the stix or Idaho or something, but 70% of the bands playing at Bumbershoot play a couple times a month in more intimate venues for $5 and the other 30% are pretty much in the washed-up-has-beens or the I’d-like-to-see-but-not-in-a-stadium kind of acts. Or even if there were more acts I really wanted to see, I’m not sure how excited I’d be to wait an hour in the sun surrounded by 16 years olds from Enumclaw in order to see them.

Sorry Bumbershoot, its not you, it’s me. We’ve grown apart and I just don’t like hanging around you anymore.

The Seattle Mid 90s Goth-Industrial Renaissance

In the last week, I’ve seen show posters for both Black Atmosphere and Skies Cries Mary. Both of these groups were the leaders of the Seattle goth/industrial scene when I first moved here in the mid 90s and both of them broke up a few years later.

It seems a bit early for a revival of this stuff. Maybe these guys are tired of the amazingly lame local band, Kuma ripping them off…

Posted: Mon – July 18, 2005 at 12:18 AM

Major Seattle show!

The Degenerate Art Ensemble plays their biggest show ever on March 19th in Seattle

DEGENERATE ART ORCHESTRA – a special 45 piece orchestral event!!!!!!
Saturday March 19, 2005 8pm ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!!!
THE MOORE THEATER
Tix: $10-$15
ONLINE: www.degenerateartensemble.com
BY PHONE: (206)292-2787

In the first concert of its kind, Degenerate Art Ensemble has assembled a
powerful roster of some of Seattle’s most creative and innovative musical
minds to create new works for a 45 piece orchestra made up of Seattle’s
finest adventurous classical and improvising musicians. The concert will
feature 10 new orchestral works including four multi-media works; Eyvind
Kang’s new work for solo vocalist and orchestra (Jessika Kenney – trained in
the musics of Indonesia and India), Ben McAllister’s suite for orchestra and
new silent film by William Weiss, Joshua Kohl’s score to accompany a solo
dance by DAE’s own butoh visionary Haruko Nishimura (“a master” -San
Francisco Weekly) and a new interactive work that breaks down the walls
between audience, composer and orchestra by Seattle School (the makers of
Iron Composer).

One night of innovation for full orchestra by 10 of Seattle’s hottest
musical minds- 40 piece orchestra, 11 Seattle Composers, 1 Dancer, 1 silent
film, 3 guest vocalists, 1 trumpet soloist, 1 theatrical work for orchestra

FEATURING NEW ORCHESTRAL AND MULTI MEDIA WORKS BY:
Eyvind Kang (Tzadik Records) – with guest vocalist Jessika Kenny Lori
Goldston (Black Cat Orchestra, David Byrne,
Nirvana)
Seattle School (the makers of Iron Composer) Timothy Young and Paul Moore
(Psychodelic Rock Orchestra, Very Special Forces) Joshua Kohl (Degenerate
Art Ensemble) – featuring a solo dance by Haruko Nishimura Jherek Bischoff
(Degenerate Art Ensemble/Dead Science)
– w/ guest vocalist Dawn McCarthy
Sam Mickens (Degenerate Art Ensemble/Dead Science) Ben McAllister
(Degenerate Art Ensemble/Baby) – featuring a new silent film Ian Rashkin
(Degenerate Art Ensemble/Baby) Tom Swafford (Meisce, Sound of the
Underbrush)

‘They entranced the audience… the secret of their show is perfect drama,
gradation and splendid visuals, and a punk-symphonic-garage-big-band style.
Dynamic upheavals were turning into relaxing passages and everything was
falling into place like wheels in a postmodernist clock machine.”
-Svet Jine Huby Magazine (Prague, Czech Republic)

new works for 45 piece orchestra by:
Jherek Bischoff
Lori Goldston
Eyvind Kang
Joshua Kohl
Ben McAllister
Sam Mickens
Ian Rashkin
Seattle School
Tom Swafford
Timothy Young & Paul Moore

Saturday March 19th, 2005 8pm
Tickets $10-$15

This exciting project is being presented by Seattle Theater Group and funded
in part by the Aaron Copland Fund, 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts
and Cultural Affairs.

A FEW NOTES ON DEGENERATE ART ENSEMBLE:

“…their art is a violently beautiful, passionate world where things
don’t have a ‘nice day’, but are either dying or coming to life, screaming
or absolutely silent.”
-The Stranger (Seattle)

“”This music & movement ensemble create work outside of all music and
dance conventions…telling a surreal story filled with sweetness, power and
humor.
The unexpected is accomplished and a mysterious mythology emerges.”
— Berliner Morgenpost, (Berlin, Germany)

“(DAE choreographer Haruko Nishimura) is able to create breathtakingly
powerful images using the sparest movement style.”
-Seattle Post Intelligencer

“(DAE) works to create and perform a living form of music… one derived
from jazz, punk, blues, post modern influences… (to) reflect what
music is in today’s society – a new, and developing thing.”
-Swing Magazine (New York)

“Lines between classical, jazz, world music, and hard rock aesthetics are
obliterated in (DAE’s) eloquently executed, high energy repertoire.”
-SF Weekly (San Francisco)

=====
Go to www.degenerateartensemble.com /music, photos, more!

The Invisible

Portland’s next big thing?

My band, transPacific, played a gig with Invisible from Portland, OR last week and I was pretty impressed. They have an excellent self produced set of videos that their songs are synchronized to. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill sync either, this is beat-break-beat kind of sync. They have a cute trick to making that work that I won’t give away, but lets just say that it is very effective. Of course, that wouldn’t be enough to woo me to any band if it wasn’t for the fact that their music is very good as well. They’ll be touring next year and I would highly recommend anyone go check them out who is into the whole post-rock/shoegazer kind of thing.

Milwaukee’s finest!

A leetle bit about Couch Flambeau

So, I was home for thanksgiving talking to my sister and something she said reminded me of this great band I used to listen to called Couch Flambeau. They were a great punk band in the funny punk vein like The Dead Milkmen. She had two of their albums. I spent a long time trying to convince her to loan me the albums so I could make CDs of them since I didn’t have my own copies. She didn’t want to let their rare gems out her mitts and finally I gave up. I knew that if I had to wait for her to make CDs of them, it would be another 15 years before I heard them again. When I got back to the hotel, on a whim, I went to CouchFlambeau.com, fully expecting a dead link. What did I find? Not only are they still together and doing shows, but they just re-mastered their Vinyl for CD! As a bonus, their CDs were available through CDBaby which is my favorite independent music outlet on the net. I immediately ordered the discs and I’m happy to report that even after many, many years they are still awesome. The collection, “I Did a Power Slide in the Taco Stand” is worth the $13 for the song “We’ll go through the windshield together” alone!

Posted: Fri – December 10, 2004 at 06:45 PM