This is another one of the most anticipated
shows of the year (for me). I think the new Fog record on Ninjatune
is the path that indie rock and experimental electronica are
This show also scared the pants off me, because it it's not
performed correctly it can completely ruin the effect the record
had on me. We have all had this happen, right? A great album
that you love, and you go to see it live and the show is so
horrid that you are left feeling sick to your stomach, and you
wind up selling the record back after a couple weeks of staring
at it in disgust.
I care about the Fog record that much. So this show was either
make or break for me.
Showing up at my favourite venue in Los Angeles, Spaceland,
I realized how incredibly early and excited I must be. The first
group, Mummers had just taken the stage, and Spaceland, unfortunately,
tends to run anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half
late on a regular basis. L.A. scenesters know this, so they
all also run late.
The end result is that Walking into the club was like walking
into an eerie lounge with about twenty people milling around.
It was so empty that it was creepy. No wonder people are usually
ummers are two guys, one hooded with what looked like a huge
mic-cover and the other in the neuvo-Frankenstien look, who
create sound-scapes using random beats, guitars, and samplers.
The music never stopped in their set and was indeed quite interesting
at times, yet incomplete. Typically, knob-turners do not put
on the best shows, but I'd say this was better than most because
there was actual communication between the two members of the
group. Plus, the dramatics were much more tangible because of
the addition of the electric guitar.
By the time Univac graced the stage Spaceland had nearly tripled
in attendance and it was starting to look like a solid show.
Univac is an odd mix of alt.country and medieval indie rock.
At times they are incredibly cheesy and quite boring in their
attempt to mix as many genres as possible. Their first song
reminded me of the Dave Matthews Band (not in a good way [umm,
yeah.]) and then the styles gradually began changing. Along
the path a couple genuinely good songs were performed, but each
eventually became a bad up-tempo version of the Black Heart
Procession. The style seemed to sway between some medieval festival
and a hippy commune, hitting all the highs and lows in-between.
Time for the final test: audience response. One or two people
really jammed out and the rest kinda stood around, reserving
their places for Fog. So, if you are throwing a Octoberfest,
I have the band for you!
Fog was recorded by Andrew Broder after he became ill. He spent
the illness locked in his basement, learning as many instruments
as he could. He created a kind of hip hop based on the indie
music scene with which he was familiar. He was soon signed by
Ninjatune in the UK, and eventually his native US. To tour,
he put together a band of friends to try and create a live version
of Fog. The most current record and his live sound naturally
varies a great deal, with the focus more on rocking out while
touring the country.
We've all seen enough IDM and beat-maker shows where there's
no movement at all, but this was not like that. Indeed, I thought
this was a great mix of solo musician electronic-hiphop and
live band rocking out, much like the record. In fact, I thought
he was going to knock over the turntables in a Pete Townsend-esque
explosion for a while. However, the rock was matched by his
turntablism technique and the soundscapes he created. Many of
the songs, however, were brand new or considerably older. The
set seemed tailor made to sell copies of his previous release,
skimping on the familiar Ninjatune material. Hey, we all gotta
make our own, right? And he did play many of the more enjoyable
tracks off the Ninjatune release. I was pleased with the show
at the end of the night despite it all.
Although nothing really turned out how i would have liked it
this night, it was a good show. Pleanty of variance between
the bands and some quality mixed in with mediocre attempts at
genre-mixing. A decent night out though, and nothing so awful
as to chase me away to the smoking section.