Sunday, September 11, 2005

Lots to report, no time to waste, so I'll get to it:

First and most recent, my mind was blown last night at Luckey's when I witnessed the new-to-me band Six Eye Columbia from San Francisco. A typical Friday night, I was doing sound for locals Armored Frog and Sexton Blake and everything was going wrong. During the first song of Armored Frog, I was wondering why things were sounding strange when I realized that one of the front powered speakers was turned off. Of course, after I turned it on the whole system erupted - and I mean erupted- into deafening feedback. Yeah, you know - one of those moments that causes everyone to cover their ears and say, " WHAT THE F*CK!!!???". Nerve racking, to say the least. (later, Armored Frog said they liked the feedback...?) Sexton Blake I liked, but I wish I could hear what the soft-voiced singer was singing. Kept tryin' to get that vocal up there, loud enough to be heard.
By the time S.E.C. were up, I was frazzled and wanting the night to be over with. The band looked like a motley bunch of S.F. musicians - randomly shitty looking equipment with noise-making electronics, lap steel, vocal effect boxes and a bass amp that was held together by masking tape, effect pedals everywhere, etc... the usual sound-guy's nightmare. "Can you find another direct input for my sampler?" "could I get more sampler in the monitor...the level isn't the sampler coming through? more, please..." Oh God, another shrieking noise band of urban bohemians, right? Wrong! From chord one, this Millenium Falcon of bands hit hard with a heart-wrenchingly beautiful and well-sung pop song that pushed all of my buttons at once. Accurate beats, jangly, oddly tuned guitar riffs, even more odd low-note wrangling from the bizzarre 8-string Hagstrom bass and of course the atmospheric pedal steal, harmonica, singing and percussion from the weird-lookin' dude on stage left. The centerpiece of the whole band was this guy - mid thirties, Tom Waits hair with mutton chop sideburns, wild-eyed and impassioned - Josh Pollack (any relation to Jackson?). A left-handed guitarist with a loose, informal dimeanor, straight out of a carnival ring, singing these beautifully written songs that were high-caliber, well written mini-symphonies for this band of freaks. And they cohered! The whole band could go from noisy and wanking to utterly soft; very nice dynamics. The drummer was dead-on, yet totally loose and very versatile. Comparisons fail, but I could definitely hear the similarity to the Flaming Lips and Guided by Voices and Big Star - pop, yeah, but of the most atmospheric and disheveled kind. Shit! I feel like a geek for going on and on, but I was truly moved by a band that was a total surprise to me, and it's nice to get your mind blown once in awhile. I never could tell if the sampler was coming through.

Of other matters of importance, Tina, Cosmo and I did finally move into our West-Eugene farmhouse and it's great! More space than the last house for much cheaper. The basement is mostly sound-proofed and ready to rock. Yeah! I love change! Now, I can feel the encroaching fall and know that we have a great, solid, artsy house for us and our dog. We'll let you know when the house-warming party is. IF you're lucky.

Oh, and I've been doing sound two nights a week at Luckey's Club Cigar - duh! I've been doing that for a couple of weeks.

I saw my friend Toby Van Fleet on Friday last week, when the Pinkies played at Downtown Lounge (a great show, with Dan Jones and Touchforce; you should've been there) and then on Sunday last week she came over for breakfast with Zookie in tow. (French toast & homefries - yes, really good, actually. Thanks, Tina!) Okay must wrap this up. I just had to give Toby's new literary blog a plug.

Okay, see you around,


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