July 21, 2008
Mincemeat or Tenspeed:
Mincemeat or Tenspeed, the Philadelphia-based project of Davey Harms, was as awesome as usual. Luckily I got a spot directly in front of him and was able to see what exactly what he was manipulating on his table of guitar pedals and other gadgets. The performance started out with a rhythmic shower of raw square waves and slowly morphed into a more subdued sound. After a long session of knob twisting and pedal pressing he simply placed two hands on two different pedals. Finally, after building some suspense in the audience (enough to make someone scream “DO IT!”) he pressed the pedals. Unlike the crowd’s expectations the sound didn’t start blasting, it only took another shape; only to be shaped again, and again, until, shortly after two pedals fell on the floor, the sound sucked back into silence. And that’s the beauty of Mincemeat or Tenspeed.
War on Drugs:
Somehow, War on drugs was able to fit two electric organs, two drum sets, two guitars, and their five members all onto the small stage. Despite the tight fit they put on a great show. I’ve never listened to them before, and although they didn’t seem right opening for Black Dice I really enjoyed them. I couldn’t get over the fact of how Wilco-ish they were; the singer looked exactly like Jeff Tweedy and sounded a lot like them too. Their songs were nice and poppy but sometimes slipped into a big swirling sessions of blown out guitars, droning organs, and waves of cymbles; a nice touch. I’d highly recommend checking them out; I will soon. Expect these guys to get huge.
Finally, Eric, Bjorn, and Aaron came on stage and began to set up. Eric taped a drum pad to a box with duct tape while Bjorn opened up his suitcase of psychedelic sounds. Suspense was building up, and I was contemplating whether or not I should put in my earplugs in order to prepare for the loudest band in New York when a blasting bass tone not only entered my ears, but entered my entire body. At that point I realized there was only one way to listen to Black Dice music in order to get the full experience: really really loudly. I immediately forgot about my earplugs and let the sounds embrace me.
The first song, aptly titled “Chicken Shit” (is this new or a creative title for “improv” on the set list?) jumped around from sound to sound and beat to beat until morphing into something more recognizable. Out of the burning sounds came pieces of the song “Scavenger” off of their latest album Load Blown. Maybe it was just the decibel level of the music, but after fully enjoying myself through the entire set I was catapulted into some sort of nirvana during “Roll Up”, a song which I had lost interest a long time ago after listening to it a countless number of times. As the warmth of the blasting sounds surrounded me I felt compelled to close my eyes and do the dance that I always knew would go along with that song; why was this happening?!? Never have I felt such a powerful experience at a concert. When the loopy synths of “Drool” came peeking through I became lifted into another world. Noises punched me and blanketed me until, suddenly, the music stopped. I had landed. Extremely satisfied, I just stood there for a few more minutes, left the venue, and drove home. Absolutely incredible, thank you Black Dice.