Mar 22 2006
An evening at NYC's Tonic is always a good evening, this evening was no different. To open for the Larsen (cmp interview on these pages), the Italian four-piece invited Dream Into Dust (dreamintodust.com) and Current 93 harp (and piano) player and performer Baby Dee (babydee.org).Dream Into Dust (limited to two members) opened the show at 8.30pm with a good set made of half a dozen of their distinctive noisy and somber introspective acoustic ballads. Albeit a few technical issues, Derek busted out an adapted set list including a lot of good material that really showcases his talent as a songwriter and, if his lyrics are not deep and melancholic enough for you, his fellow stage partner on guitar will take you dark places with his beat up and ultra-processed distorted guitar and his essential volume pedal: amongst the feedbacks and the rattling noises generated by the two or three super loose strings on his instrument, the small audience enjoyed watching him play the guitar with a sword and a nine volt battery.Baby Dee (from Current 93) took the stage like a storm over a tropical town. This exuberant and eccentric NYC transvestite artist with freakish crazy hair style who looks like Robert Smith meets Bruno Kramm meets John Lithgow (even sounds like him at times!) and rode in on a super tall three-wheel bike. S/he raptured and graced the audience with (huge full concert-size) harp playing and inspired singing that was reminiscent of a mix of operatic, middle-age/folk and cabaret-like music with a pretty defined outreach towards darker moods at times, but with distinctively comical approach at other times. The harp probably made people think of celtic influences such as Enya or medieval bands like Camerata Mediolanense, The Soil Bleeds Black, Death in June etc but Baby Dee has a great solar and fun attitude that goes beyond the mere research for recreation of historical ambiances or researching of the darkest corners of the human mind and soul. S/he also played the piano and had hilarious sing-along lyrics and a bee-dress among other things and later shared the stage with Larsen for two songs (Baby Dee spends large parts of the year in Italy and will be opening most of their show as well as record with Larsen in the future).Finally, Larsen took the stage by the horns and offerend their very own brand of introspective noise-elevated electro-acoustic dark-electronics. The four piece is comprised of two guitar players (if Dream Into Dust's sword didn't do it for the audience, Larsen's Fabrizio broke out a silver vibrator to stimulate his guitar to new sonic heights made of chanting buddhist-sounding meditation-like sounds and sheer distorted pick-up exciting walls of sound) one of whom also plays electric violin and occasionally hums into the mic with a deep droning voice; a drummer who also plays xylophone (even with a string instrument bow) and some other un-identified vintage air-operated accordion-looking instrument; and a fourth member who manages the electronics (keyboard, laptop loaded with Reason and what not, infrared-modulating controllers, Theremin, drum machine, accordion and triangle).The concert was powerful and intense and, as Fabrizio himself best describes it in his interview on Chain D.L.K. back in October, focused on "making the tension grow and not letting it explode"!I had personally never seen Larsen perform live (although they have toured the US in 2003) but I am glad I did this time and I should do my homework and catch up on their increasing discography. So should you!Recommended gig!