Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Live Act(s): Hemophiliac: John Zorn, Mike Patton & Ikue Mori plus John Zorn's Electric Masada + Electric Masada with special guest vocalist Mike Patton + Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog
Event Date: 31 December 2005
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Tonic
Rated: *****
While the usual million people were getting cold at Times Square waiting for a ball drop that they won't even see, we spent new year's eve in the best way I can think of: music, then more music, then even more music and on and on and on...NYC's Tonic (one of our favorite clubs in the city) celebrated the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 with memorable performances in the name of free-form/experimental/avantgarde/noise that included a number of special guests. Music begun at 7pm, when John Zorn (alto sax), Ikue Mori (drum machine / power book) & Mike Patton (ex-Faith No More singer) took their saxophone, Max MSP software and Mike's great voice with all his altering and tweaking pedals and effects, to a whole new level of intensity and sound pressure. As Zorn was blowing the horn and Mori was working the lapton, Patton was screaming, growling, huffing and puffing like some kind of animal-possessed metropolitan tribe-man. The following set consisted of John Zorn's Electric Masada featuring Jamie Saft (Rhodes), Ikue Mori (drum machine / power book), Marc Ribot (guitar), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Joey Baron (drums), Kenny Wolleson (drums) & Trevor Dunn (bass) and special guest Patton on vocals. It's very cool to hear Zorn's material rocked out by 8 people on a small stage and Zorn actually played on it more than he usually does, but still did an amazing job at directing the combo from the stage: the hairy Saft was getting down, dirty and funky on the saturated rhodes' keys, while the calm and motionless Mori was making up for her immobility generating movement in the air with her live digital signal processings; Ribot was in his own amazing world of six strings, sixty pedals and sixhoundred sounds while Dunn was keeping everybody in line with his solid, funky and basically perfectly executed bass lines (at least when he remembered them without Zorn having to hum them out for him first, but that was a single isolated funny incident); grooving with Dunn was a great rhythm section featuring the radiant, smiling and always excited (and exciting) Baron, the creative and inspired Wolleson, and last but not least Baptista, who had as many interesting toys as he had interesting ideas (and he had a lot of ideas for Zorn to keep under control). A very engaging concert that Patton's invigorating guest appearances during both sets (and original midnight countdown screamed at the top of his lungs!) made even more exicting, excruciating and exhilarating. The night was concluded by Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog set at 1am, featuring Marc Ribot (guitar), Shahzad Ismaily (bass/keys) & Ches Smith (drums) and special guest singer Mahogony Plywood aka Mr. Fashion (cmp other Ceramic Dog review in this same section of the site).Awesome night at Tonic, which continues to supply the Lower East Side's music fans hungry for original offerings some of the best music of NYC's very alive downtown scene (along with Zorn's new spot The Stone and maybe the Knitting Factory). The only thing I feel I might wanna complain about is the price. 60 bucks per set for the first two sets, 20 bucks for the after-midnight set and 15 bucks for the champagne toast... I am very sympathetic and sensitive to Tonic's financial issues (and I am sure the Blue Condo will not make it any easier on them) and the musicians are certainly worth every penny, but I still think that 155 dollars total for one night is a little over the top, especially considering that this is usually not the rich and spoiled Wall Street kind of crowd. That's just my opinion. All in all I would say it was one of the best spent new year's eves, great music, great vibes, great musicians, great musicianship and great spirits!

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