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Earlier | Later

It had been two years since I'd last seen Kinski at their CD release party for Down Below It's Chaos, so I was very much looking forward to seeing them again at Chop Suey on September 11, 2009. Although this show was billed as their tenth-anniversary show, they were not actually headlining it, but rather a band called Lesbian, with Arbitron opening and Kinski in the middle. Arbitron played experimental post-punk noise rock that was very loud, raucous, and unmelodic, with guitar howls and feedback loops matched by the spoken, growled, screeched, but never sung lead vocals. Much of the set was just the lead screecher on guitar and a drummer, but later the drummer switched to playing bass and providing additional vocals, using a drum machine for the rhythm. I immediately liked the band better with the bass, as it gave them a firmer ground for the noise-art, but I also felt they'd be better as a trio with live drums.

Kinski played a solid set as always, though nothing special for the anniversary like a retrospective. They played several songs with vocals that I didn't recognize, and wasn't sure whether they were new or old. The first half of their set seemed to be straight heavy rock songs, and I did start to feel a bit bored until they suddenly finally went into a freeform drone/noise segment that they often use to transition between songs. That made me realize what I like most about Kinski is the contrast of control and chaos, the repeated rhythms that break down and then coalesce again; the straight rock tunes often just aren't as interesting by themselves. Still, it was great to see them again and they left me looking forward to their next ten years.

Finally, Lesbian, despite the name, was an all-male quartet. They started off sounding rather promisingly progressive-rock to me, with a long simple melodic introduction, but that eventually built up to heavy guitar rock that was so stereotypically testosterone-laden, their band name was seriously ironic whether intentional or not. I'd read a description of them as "stoner metal", but I didn't feel it was metal without croaked and screamed vocals; sure enough those came up in the second song, and that's when they lost me. Amidst the interminable indeterminate rambles of rock, they also fit in the obligatory metal guitar solo, and much later came back to playing the melody of the opening song (my notes say, sarcastically, "Ooh look, a motif!"). I wouldn't say they were bad—after all, I didn't walk out—but they definitely weren't my kind of music, not even when Kinski joined them at the end for a jam.

I have some photos from this show in a set here on Flickr.

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