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June 25th, 2006

June concert: Kinski at The Crocodile Cafe

Last night I went to The Crocodile Cafe to see an unusual show. The bands included Kinski, The Lights, Welcome, and Unnatural Helpers. Each of the first three bands has at least one member in Unnatural Helpers as well. That's a little unusual, perhaps, but it's how they chose to exploit this fact that made the show really unusual. A typical schedule has each band doing its own 45-minute or so set in order, with down time in between while setups are changed. Instead, the stage was set up for all of the bands at once and the bands took 10-to-15-minute turns playing, resulting in 2.5 hours of nearly continuous music. Musicians would appear as guests in each others' bands for a song or two, often as part of the transition from one band's set to the next.

The show began with all twelve musicians - three drummers, three bassists, and six guitarists - walking out on stage, picking up instruments, and starting to play a roaring squall of noise that eventually coalesced into rhythm and melody. This is very much the style of Kinski, the nominal headliners for the evening and of course my favorite of the bands. The show ended in a similar fashion, although for some reason one of the bassists (Jo, from Welcome) was missing. Both Unnatural Helpers and Welcome played punk-influenced thrashy indie rock, which was alright but didn't really interest me that much. Bassist Jo sang a few of Welcome's songs, but her voice did not cut through the mix at all; she was barely audible, much less intelligible, though in fairness most of the singing was unintelligible due to the high volume levels. The Lights were less punk, more arty, and I enjoyed their sets much more; also their singing, unlike the other two bands, was understandable. Kinski played a few new songs.

All of the bands were very loud, and of course the opening and closing with all the musicians were particularly intense. As a result, my ears were still ringing well into the afternoon today; in fact my left ear is still having some trouble with occasional ringing. I knew it'd be a loud show, just because of Kinski, but I was bad and didn't make a point of getting earplugs beforehand. From now on, I have to make that happen; I'll have to see whether the supermarket carries some, and otherwise make a point of going to a drugstore. I love music too much to let myself damage my hearing any further.

Next month Tara Jane ONeil will be playing at The Sunset Tavern on Thursday the 27th, and I will certainly be at that show. I may try to catch another one, I looked through the Three Imaginary Girls calendar listings and I know I saw a few good bands coming to town, although I can't recall offhand what ones.


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