Concerts Reviews


Live Act(s): Kenny Wollesen's Wollesonic Laboratories
Event Date: 15 September 2009
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Gallery 151
Promoter/Organizer: Miz Metro
Rated: *****
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very once in a while someone comes along and does something so extraordinarily out of the order that it blows your mind away and shatters whatever preconceived notions you might have. Kenny Wollesen was that person for me tonight. I knew how talented he is from having seen him play drums and vibes with John Zorn many times and I knew he had manu other side projects as well (some of which I’ve seen and some I have not yet). When he told me about this event, it sounded so interesting that I couldn’t pass it up, so even though I was at a rooftop dinner party, I just left for an hour to go check out Wollesonic Laboratories’ "Touchless Kaleidophonic Sonic Massages". It was sooooo worth it!
Held at the new Gallery 151 on the Bowery (co-curated by the talented urban/pop singer Miz Metro), the free donation-supported event basically consisted in two opposite rows if yoga mats where you would lay down, close your eyes if you wanted to (if you didn’t there was a psychedelic light show being projected on the ceiling) and absorb all the sounds created by Kenny’s populous crew (dressed in official looking white lab coats with woven names). For about 30-45 minutes I laid there relaxing and breathing in and out silently while the crazy professor and his assistants shuffled from one end of the gallery to the opposite making some kind of sound. Rain carousels, hellophones, sleep grinders, wind wands, rotorifics, magic cat boxes, rubber band contraptions, spinning baloons and other crazy looking things... If you can imagine it in your wildest dreams, Kenny probably built it! The sounds were pretty subtle, but every now and the there would be a subsonic rumble that you could feel in your spine through the wooden floor. I was terribly torn between wanting to keep my eyes closed to focus on the sounds and wanting to take a peak to satisfy my curiosity about what object on earth would produce such cool sounds. For those on the receiving end, if you let yourself be transported by this sonic massage you could pretty much enter an outlandish Tim Burton-esque parallel fantasy world where huge bugs hover over your head, mysterious creatures surround you and other amorphous sounds contribute to the creation of this dreamy sonic realm (which I bet might sound pretty scary if you didn’t have the comfort of knowing that they were created by friendly humans from planet earth). The spatiality and movement of the sounds makes it so much more special... Here’s an example: while you are feeling the air and focusing on the sounds of a giant butterfly flapping its wings above your head, suddenly a cricket-type sound punctures the silence from behind you on the left and when you least expect it dog comes up really close to your right ear and breaths... the Wollesonic touchless crew is pretty tactful and quiet while they run up and down the gallery and if they were even more silent it would be scary!
It was a blast. I highly recommend anyone interested in experimentation with found sounds and new sonic experiences in general not to miss this event if/when it comes around again. I know I won’t.
May 20 2009
Live Act(s): Jojo Mayer's Nerve
Event Date: 19 May 2009
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: APT
Promoter/Organizer: $mall ¢hang
Rated: *****
I'm not a drummer but I know good musicians and Jojo Mayer is one of the few drummers I get really excited about, still. I probably looked like a drummer-geek standing in first row and watching in awe (a facial expression shared by many surrounding me) as Jojo delivered his ultra precision handwork with the swing of a jazz drummer and the soul of a funk drummer. After the legendary Prohibited Beatz parties at Shine (now called Canal Room) in the late nineties we all had to wait a long time before we got to experience this again, but it was worth the wait and it was an amazing gathering with new faces and all the peeps from then (down to the organizer Alex Dj Small Change who made it all happen for us again!).
The musicians where the same as well, with John Davis building the pulse with his ultra-low saw-y and sweepy gut-felt room-filling bass lines and Takuya Nakamura sprinkling the throbbing madness with embellishments and melody lines on keyboards and trumpet, accents, pads and other assorted angel dust.
The last time I went to a concert and ended up watching the drummer 90% of the duration of the show was when I saw Julio Barreto doing his cuban thing, but Jojo is probably the fastest player I can think of. His left hand does snare rolls that other drummers need two hands for and his right hand is so beyond eyesight-range that while you blink it'll hit something several times and can create momentum with a ride pattern while doing a three tom drum fill in the space of a bar. The sheer speed and relentless energy are jaw-dropping (another popular facial expression while he played) but what is more amazing is that he can build and drive his shows home with changes in dynamics and and with what I think are some of the most creative fills I've seen in a while from drummers. The two snares, multiple hats, weird looking cymbals and addition of some creative delays that he triggers, all do contribute to the variety of sounds produced by his prototypes-enhanced instrument. Jojo pretty much invented live drum'n'bass and keeps reinventing and putting his spin on modern drumming while some other drummers out there are too busy improving their pocket and don't even contemplate contributing to the evolution of the art. In the end Jojo plays two sets of live drum'n'bass/dub step/more without ever playing a solo and still manages to leave any drummer wanting to retire and any non-drummer (like me) wanting more!

Zeromancer: 2 April 2009

 Posted by Andre Wiegand  Germany  Edit (5025)
Apr 05 2009
Live Act(s): Zeromancer
Event Date: 2 April 2009
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Nachtleben, Frankfurt
Rated: *****
That was the first time Zeromancer ever played in Frankfurt, which is fairly surprising, considering that the band toured Germany quite a number of times and Frankfurt being one of the largest German cities. My first impression of the venue was "oh, my gosh. It’s so small! I gonna have to stand on the ceiling". It was rather unexpected to see that a band of Zeromancer’s caliber gets to perform in a venue where 300 people could not comfortably fit in. The reason was that Batschkapp, the larger club usually hosting Gothic & Metal concerts in Frankfurt was booked by The Rasmus on the very same day. A very unfortunate co-incidence, not only because Zeromancer got to play in an undersized, for their standards, club, but also for a reason that the bands may very likely share some fan base.
Another disadvantage on the club’s behalf was the lack of air conditioning (at least on that night). One would grow sweaty before the first song was over, if he/she were to rock there in a manner appropriate for a rock concert. I did not envy the bands; those were just soaked before anybody else in the club.
A further shortcoming was that due to the small size of the stage Zeromancer had to give up their own lighting. But the sound was good and this is what counts first and foremost! Besides, with so little audience it was no prob to see the band, it's just pity that the photos did not turn out very well.
The choice of the supporting act may have caused some brow rising among the fans of the Norwegians. The Berliner gothic rockers Scream Silence are well known domestically and even abroad, however looking for industrial elements in their compositions will prove fruitless. What the two bands do have in common is that they both broke their years-long abstinence from playing live by this common tour.
Zeromancer never grow tired to mention in their interviews that their music appeals to rather diverse people and the Frankfurt audience was a living proof for these statements. The vast majority were gothics of ages ranging from the early twenties up to chaps in their fifties. But quite a number of people really did not fit into a gothic "type". Some appeared to be yuppies, some looked like common working class people you really would not expect to meet in a gothic club. This is great when music can do something to unite people from various social circles and ages.
After the intro the Norwegians hit the stage opening with Sinners International. The response was lively and warm. Zeromancer played nine out of ten titles of the latest album with their older "greatest hits", if you may call them so which included Cupola, Need You Like a Drug, Geisha etc. Clone Your Lover surely belongs to an obligatory Zeromancer set and it rocked the venue.
After the band left the stage the fans shouted "Zugabe!", the German equivalent of "we want more!" insistently and the boys did not make them wait too long launching three additional songs. For the second encore an old killer Dr Online was played.
The band proved their ability to play small clubs and not only huge venues like the New Opera in Oslo, where Seigman wrote history last year and made the audience move, which is not to be taken for granted in this part of Germany. Though the venue was far from sold out the vibe was truly great.

Moldover: 5 March 2009

 Posted by Marc Urselli  United States  Edit (4977)
Mar 05 2009
Live Act(s): Moldover (@)
Event Date: 5 March 2009
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: The Delancey
Promoter/Organizer: Warper
Rated: *****
My favorite recurrent NY electronic music party Warper (check out their new site and amazing monthly line ups) has been going on for years and continues to serve up fresh as well as established talent. Now back at The Delancey (which I vastly prefer to the Williamsburg location) I decided to make stint to see Moldover, the founder of Warped party, the founder of the art of controllerism and the founder of the art of playing the electric guitar with a sock (his own for that matter) over his hand.
Moldover has evolved and is walking new grounds and reaching new hights. He abandoned the concept of live remashing popular rock/pop tunes in favor of remashing his own electro/rock/pop mixture of influences and sounds. I've heard an advance copy of his upcoming record and it sounds very interesting (a blend of electronica, some industrial, rock, pop and metal that at times reminded me of the latest Skinny Puppy or KMFDM and other times of Tool or some progressive rock bands). His music is now as original as the music's treatment itself and the live processing is taken to a new level through the use of his latest self-built usb/midi controller (a light weight horizontal MPC-sized metal box crowded with multiple ribbon controllers, old arcade videogames fire-type round buttons, MPC-type velocity-sensitive pads, DJ-type sliders, big vintage-analog-type knobs, small infinite-type knobs, good old faders and a big trackball). The once shy Moldover who would barely even look up to the crowd from his bent-over-the-controls position is now making more eye contact and not afraid of letting the light shine on his noteworthy guitar playing chops (can you imagine how many chicks he must get now?) and even on his vocal abilities!
The genius of Moldover always resided in his skills as a real-time sonic manipulator of beats, sounds and music but just as noticeable and remarkable is his willingness and ability to reinvent himself and evolve, effectively moving on to a new chapter and corageously showcasing his own songwriting/production. Great show!
Live Act(s): EchoStream, GPKISM, Blood, DJ SiSen (@)
Event Date: 2 February 2009
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Santos' Party House
Promoter/Organizer: Tainted Reality
Rated: *****
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NJ-based Echstream put up a great show yesterday night at Andrew W.K.-owned Santos' Party House (basically a big Soho dance club with a good sized stage, two bars, big pillars, great sound system and impressive array of hanging speakers - not used for the live performance).

I had heard and reviewed their latest record (now available in a remastered version) but I am happy to report that the album translated well on the stage (unlike some other similar bands who without the studio production inevitably lack live). This is probably in part due to the fact that Echostream gainfully employ, not one, but two drummers (female on acoustic drums and male on electronic). The female fronted five-piece is also backed by a skilled and glamorous Japanese guitarrist and by the main songwriter of the band Tony Grund who plays bass lines and synth lines on a small midi controller that he juggles around on a duck-taped stand as if it was the joystick of a sick action game. Last but not least the female Japanese lead singer also does a great job at keeping the crowd excited and paying attention to her melodies and words.

Speaking of crowd, the young NY goth and loli-goth scene was all there to represent, dressed in either rigorously all black or in sparkling, super colorful short and tight outfits. Given the headliners (the Japanese electro-rock band Blood) the audience was also made up of a substantial Japanese envoy. The event was organized by Tainted Reality, who did a great job at putting it together.

I didn't stay for the other bands (the Australian Japanese duo GPKISM, the Japanese goth-electro-rockers Blood and DJ SiSen) but I have a feeling Echostream could have easily turned out to be the best band of the night and that's who I was there to see anyway.
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