Calliope @ Sit & Spin - 6/08/2000
DJ Krush @ Bowery Ballroom - 6/17/2000
GoodVibe Tour: Cali Agents, Slum Village, Bahamadia @ ARO.space - 6/22/2000
Hellride East @ Brownie's - 5/30/2000
Nocturne/Noxious Emotion/Murder of Crows @ Vogue - 5/25/2000
Peter Brötzmann Tentet + 2 @ McGuire Auditorium 6/21/2000
Roger Waters @ Verizon Wireless Ampitheater - 6/24/2000
Woggles/Girl Trouble/H.E.A.D. @ Sit & Spin - 5/26/2000
The Ziggens/Repose/Discohesive @ Paradox Theater - 5/27/2000



[ calliope  - photo by hope lopez ]
photo by hope lopez

Calliope
@
Sit & Spin
May 20, 2000
Seattle, WA

What intrigues me about some in our local music scene is how much more of a community it is than merely a scene. Local chanteuse Nikol Kollars is responsible for creating Calliope, a unique evening geared specifically to fete and showcase the local women artists in town. A seasonal showcase intended to occur every four months, Kollars, with the help of her fellow musician friend Dawnya Wittenborn and local artist Cassandria Blackmore, created Calliope two years ago, with its first event that December.

This evening was the fourth Calliope showcase. Walking into the Sit & Spin on this particular night felt like you were stepping into a plush living room, cozy and intimate. With a collective of women artists in town ranging in crafts from a painter, bellydancer, massage therapist, solo performer, musician to a spoken word artist, the evening felt more unifying and supportive than more of the generic gatherings in town. What makes this evening unique is the woman's innate sense of creating and with art, the capability of producing it. No cold competition here, the vibe was supportive.

The stage was additionally illuminated with the warm amber glow of flickering candles, a leopard-spotted carpet lay on the stage floor with throw pillows strewn about not so strategically and incense wafted in the air. There were flowers everywhere. Kollars emceed the evening and alternating among each other were local singer-songwriter Tiger Zane, hip-hop poetress Kylea from Beyond Reality, singer-songwriter-actress Felicia Loud, Ubiquitous (Nikol Kollars, Dawnya Wittenborn and Christa Wells), and Piece from Piece of Soul, just to name a few. In the background, a painting by Cassandria Blackmore developed as she continued to paint broad colorful strokes against a canvas while Libitz (Elizabeth Pupo-Walker) conjured up the rhythmic energy of the evening on her congas.

Ubiquitous, the gorgeous and glamorous trio of Kollars, Wittenborn and Wells, presented divadom with brains and wit. With much humor, the girls presented their soulful stylings. The power behind the words of Kylea of Beyond Reality rocked the mic with "Infinite Potential." Singer Felicia Loud reminded the audience to be thankful for our blessings as her rich, soulful vocals floated over Libitz beats. Wittenborn belted out a smoky rendition of "Me and Bobby McGee" much in the spirit of Janis. Piece brought up her journal and read a poignant entry about the last time she spent with her son before his father took him away. An audience member was immediately put in check when his rude commentary about the spoken word piece disrespected the space. One of the treats of the evening was Habib, who wowed the crowd with her exotic bellydancing.

Keep a lookout for the next Calliope; it's a great opportunity to check out some of our extremely talented women in Emerald City's arts community. You'll find some of our finest inspirational muses at work.

-Hope Lopez
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[ dj krush - photo by craig young ]
photo by craig young

DJ Krush
@
Bowery Ballroom
June 17, 2000
New York, NY

Links:
DJ Krush

One of the advantages of being a part of the eP Ministry of Propaganda is not necessarily all the music I get exposed to outside of our lovely little circle, but all the music I get turned on to by Earpollution's insiders themselves. It's the perfect setup, really; no one really likes buying music cold-shot, and just how much can we trust the written word of overzealous reviewers? Ha! Being part of a cadre that circles around every musical influence both here and gone, I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to raid the musical libraries of my esteemed cohorts, and how their own tastes and influences have turned me on to sounds I might otherwise have passed up sight unheard.

Point in reference: Japanese turntablist DJ Krush. Having been exposed to his sounds at the outset of Earpollution, I've waited anxiously over the past two years to hear him perform his legendary live set. What made this event all the more ironic was that the Noise Control party member who turned me on to Krush would not be able to see any of his Stateside shows. I felt like a kazoo player that had somehow inadvertently been allowed the privilege of playing a Stradivarius.

Accompanied by eP's Edgar Ortega, I ventured into the inviting and spacious confines of the Bowery Ballroom to await for the appointed hour to arrive. Missed most of the first DJ, which was probably for the best. The better part of the sounds he was kicking out were Kmart-inflected hip-hop which, funny enough, always seems to get the crowd moving. Go figure. Next up was Sinista (featuring DJ Sinista): two MCs and one DJ Sinista manning the decks. It's too bad Sinista had to stand in the shadow of his two frontmen, as he was the man whose skills really shone during their set. The MCs played catch with one another, tossing various lackluster rhymes back and forth about who's the baddest dog on the block--yawn--but watching DJ Sinista was something else. His scratching skills were over the top, and when he hit a groove his hands were flying from deck to deck, underneath his legs, spinning 'round backwards, even pulling a Hendrix by using his teeth--all without a scratch falling out of place or a beat being dropped at the wrong time. Fuck yeah! Watching him reminded me of Satriani or Vai: hands flailing over the fretboard in a dizzying display of agility; wondering how each note and each spot could be hit so precisely and with such meaning in the midst of such a sonic melee. Hopefully DJ Sinista will find better company with which to challenge his skills.

Then the moment the crowded ballroom was waiting for. As DJ Sinista ripped through his routine, seated over amongst his posse was DJ Krush, head bobbing to the beats. As Sinista wound down, Krush humbly made his way to his decks and set down an ambient drone of meditative noise; traditional Japanese sounds wed to the warm hum of vinyl in the hands of a master.

To say Krush is a minimalist can be deceptive. The sounds he set free were lush and textured--layered colors against a drop of sparse backbeats. It's minimalist in the sense that each sound is quietly introduced, and each has its place among its peers, but as Krush's hands slide over the outside edge of the vinyl--stopping, starting, bending each curve of vinyl--you try to stand back and hear it as whole only to realize you're several fathoms below the surface of his immaculately crafted sounds. A true professional--an even better musician.

At one point Krush, stopping momentarily to flex an album, motions up to the lightboard to dim the overheads, worried that the heat generated from them are too much for his vinyl. Krush then slighly drops in the trumpet sounds of collaborator and fellow Japanese musician Toshinori Kondo. His recognizable signature recalls Miles Davis post-Bitches Brew, and as Krush deftly bends Kondo's heavily chorused horn sounds he looks out over the crowd and watches a sea of heads bobbing to a persuasive tide of his unhurried beats, and then warps Kondo's trumpet until its sound is completely out of context, mixing against other, more pressing cuts. On the periphery we hear fragments of what we thought were Kondo's trumpet blasts, distorted echoes growing increasingly louder, now more like the sound of what appears to be an air raid siren. As soon as its blare is recognized, Krush releases his hands from the turntable and lets loose with Public Enemy's "Public Enemy No. 1." The movement on the dance floor swells and he steps back for a minute to let the song play on.

As the night wears on, Krush eases the beat back down and ends his set with the same sparse, moody ambience it began with. Cheered back onstage for an encore, his lights off again on his turntables, only to discover one isn't working properly. Obviously annoyed, he stops to fix the problem and then restarts it all from scratch. A perfectionist to the last, when his closing scratch doesn't pull off the way he intended, he frowns to himself in frustration, looks up at the crowd and then smiles--appearing both awed and grateful for such a loud response to a great set--and then leaves the stage as quietly and unassuming as he entered.

Edgar turns to me and says in appreciation, "Either he's well-practiced or he's really good." Obviously both. DJ Krush's set ranks as one of the best shows I've seen...ever. It's those little gifts that give life color, and it's being fortunate enough to let others influence you with their musical tastes that make nights like this possible. Haven't heard of DJ Krush? Maybe it's time.

-Craig Young
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[ slum village - photo by josh lackey ]
photo by josh lackey

GoodVibe Tour: Cali Agents, Slum Village, Bahamadia
@
ARO.space
June 22, 2000
Seattle, WA

Links:
Atomic Pop
GoodVibe Music

If you're wondering where all the energy of live shows went, you gotta check out the all-ages hip-hop shows in town. This one was Atomic Pop's GoodVibe Tour with Cali Agents, Slum Village and a queen in the world of underground hip-hop, Bahamadia. Reminiscent of the same enthusiasm and participation of old punk shows back in the day, the hip-hop scene produces that same vibe. Cali Agents came out and proved to have what it took to get the crowd pumped for Slum Village and Bahamadia. Aptly titled the GoodVibe tour, this show presented a double entendre of the artists from this particular label and the positive vibrations that was induced. Plus a sense of community was evident among these artists as each performer showed much respect for each other's stage time and their skills.

Slum Village from Detroit had an intense energy level and displayed the showmanship to be a big name in the world of hip-hop. Their humor and their flow over strong beats. Their theme: "With Slum Village, you won't know what to expect" was proven with members T3 and Baatin by spontaneously hustling side-to-side onstage in a choreographed shuffle and by asking the audience: "What time is it?" Answering it with "Cowboy Time" and dosi-do-ing with cowboy hats on. Much of the set was tunes off the album Fantastic, Vol. 2 (GoodVibe Recordings). Much crowd response came with "Conant Gardens," "I Don't Know (Why I'm Fuckin' Fuckin' with You)," and "Ladies." Prompting the bruthas to get onstage, "Where They At?" caused over a dozen dudes to end Slum Village's set with "Raise It Up" which undoubtedly caused them to tear the roof off ARO.space.

Without any vain posturing, Bahamadia, a queen in the underground world of hip-hop, came out bold and ready to rock the mic. Unpretentious and in classic b-girl from down the way style of understated denim and cornrows, she had a lot more to say than spouting out designer labels and advocating freakdom: Bahamadia speaks to girls who use their heads as opposed to their booties. Starting off with "Total Wreck" from her first album Kollage (EMI Records) definitely got the crowd hyped. "True Honey Buns (Dat Freak Sh*t)" was received warmly by the audience with its anti-freak behavior message: "To all the girls, do what you gotta do, but it's not what you do but how you do it." Although most of the set was tracks off her first album, she did plug her new upcoming Atomic Pop release with a few songs. "Beautiful Things" was the dedication to the future seeds and how to raise the level of positive spirit in kids in a day when the media promotes such unhealthy, negative images.

What's honorable about this artist and others like her is her ability to remain humble and to continuously give props to her peers in "Innovation" (to Mos Def, Kool Keith, etc.) and her fans. Bahamadia, you rock--rock on.

-Hope Lopez
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[ hellride east - photo by craig young ]
photo by craig young

Hellride East
@
Brownie's
May 30, 2000
New York, NY

Can't keep a good man down! Imagine playing bass every day for the better part of your life and suddenly--kerpow!--find yourself laid up due to medical problems, unable to play your bass (which is your livelihood), much less garner the strength to lift the damn thing, for two months. If you're Mike Watt--member of the seminal '80s punk group Minutemen and alternative groundbreakers fIREHOSE--a stroll through Hell trying to juggle snowballs would seem like a walk in the park. Here's a man who's been doing it from the heart, econo-style, for the past twenty years, bustin' musical tires and blazing a trail on his own two feet, and suddenly he's stopped dead in his tracks and told to twiddle his thumbs and ponder life for a few long--and I mean long--weeks. To say that this shore duty was anything but the most difficult gig of his life would be an understatement, if not downright insulting.

So this being one of the first shows the King of the Low-End Swing has played since regaining his health from this misfortunate medical emergency (like there are fortunate ones?), the crowd at Brownie's in New York's East Village was packed and brimming with impatience; anxious to see for themselves that our four-string workingman's hero was indeed alive and well--and full of piss and vinegar to boot!

Watt took the stage accompanied by J. Mascis on guitar (yes, that J. Mascis) and Murph on drums (yes, that Murph). As the crowd volleyed questions of, "How ya feelin', Watt?" up to the stage, Watt smiled demurely and just shook his head, opting instead to let his bass do the talking. And that's the way it's always been.

The premise: Stooges covers via the channeling of Coltrane juju.

The result: Loud, noisy, sweaty bliss! I had to chuckle watching Watt belt out the lyrics to "I Wanna Be Your Dog," trying earnestly to pull off his sexy-best Iggy Pop. Took a lot of imagination for that, but fortunately the musical end of the get-together held just fine--damn fine, as it were. Watt and Co. roared through the Stooges' catalog: Watt riding his bass, bobbing from side-to-side like he was walking a line on a ship in the throes of a storm; Mascis throwing out dyslexic fits of distortion (nice to see he still hasn't lost that sonic death touch!); Murph pounding furiously at his skins like the gorilla in the old Samsonite commercials. Absolutely sensational!

Watt would tell me some days later during an interview (hey, stick around and read it in August's issue!) that it was the first time Mascis and Murph had played since Dinosaur, Jr.; that his knees were shaking the whole time; that no one could hear a damn thing; that he had no idea who the sax player was who sat in on the first song (we conveniently decided to leave him out of this review); and that Mascis was completely scared shitless. Couldn't tell, couldn't care less. The energy was there, and seeing Watt back in the saddle with his boomstick alongside Murph and Mascis... Hell, they could've stood there tuning their instruments for the entire set and we all would've gone home happy and content. Glad to see you workin' the voodoo again, Watt! Can't keep a good man down...

-Craig Young
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[ noxious emotion - photo by steve weatherholt ]
photo by steve weatherholt

Nocturne/Noxious Emotion/Murder of Crows
@
Vogue
May 25, 2000
Seattle, WA

Tonight's bill was scheduled at Seattle's infamous Vogue, king of the evil dance palace. They have moved to their new digs up by the cop shop on Capitol Hill. The new place has a much better setup with the bar in the back in which you walk by the raised stage and can see all instruments from this view. Considering that this is mainly a dance club, you do get a few raised platforms and poles for those to grind upon. We arrived in the middle of the Murder of Crows set and found out that Nocturne did not put in a guest list, so back outside we contemplated what to do. After Murder of Crows were over we paid the cover charge and proceeded to get some beer and toasted the start of the night. Noxious Emotion got set up and launched into their set with two stand-up drummers, one multi-level keyboard player and a singer. One of the drummers has that old school drumming down with the sheet-metal symbols and 55-gallon drums, la Babyland (without the burning kerosene) and others. Nothing wrong with this, though. Noxious Emotion has gruff vocals laden with effects, backed by driving angry industrial floor-stomping mayhem with a twist of '80s techno-pop. Definitely a local favorite with the goth/industrial scene, they pulled out quite a few people for a Thursday night show. The performance that Noxious Emotion put on was very entertaining and crowd friendly: One of the drummers tossed a 55-gallon drum and several drumsticks into the audience for all to participate.

During the break between Noxious Emotion and Nocturne, the crowd was delighted with the variety show that the Vogue had set up. This consisted of several transvestite and transgender males individually performing their dance moves to old '80s chart hits. One poor lad had to choose another hit, because the disc he brought had way too many skips in it. Hmm, maybe they are from him performing one too many times at home in front of the mirrors. Nocturne was very patient with this side-note, waiting up on stage for them to finish.

Nocturne, consisting of two guys and a gal from Dallas, Texas, are hot off the heels of winning local awards for best band in Dallas. The people who left missed out on, as Jenn says, "a really cute bass player," who if he had tattoos would look like Jerry Only from the Misfits. And Jeff really liked the provocatively dressed singer with the very short skirt, stockings and garters. She had to keep pulling the front of her skirt down throughout the show. The guitarist had these 7" platform boots on to make him look huge on stage. Anyway on to the music at hand, Nocturne came on and revved up the engine of their sonic gothic/metal darkwave/industrial chaos for the fans that stayed for them. The singer came across as a combination of Siouxsie and Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex) whose vocals seemed to clash with the music churning out of the amps. Jeff says she's better than the woman in Garbage, though. Musically, Nocturne were good at combining elements of Skrew, Marilyn Manson and Ministry, which demonstrated their musical potential. However, they should not be afraid to put in their own elements to create a more original sound. Maybe it was this night, but I got the feeling that Nocturne were not into playing, as they were not very attached to the audience. Perhaps this was due to playing after Noxious Emotion, who were very engaging.

-Steve Weatherholt
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[ peter brötzmann - photo by mark teppo ]
photo by mark teppo

Peter Brötzmann Tentet + 2
@
McGuire Auditorium, Warner Pacific College
June 21, 2000
Portland, OR

On their way to the du Maurier International Jazz Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, Peter Brötzmann and eleven other power jazz monsters stopped off for a little tête-à-tête with an eager Portland audience and plowed through three hours of thunderous free jazz noise that was graceful and beautiful and totally terrifying.

My buddy Greg leans over halfway through the third number (a full hour after the show has started) and sums it up: "It's like a stampeding elephant. They're all running away from it, blowing their horns in alarm, and Brötzmann is riding that elephant, flaying its sides to make it go faster. And he's got the damn beast's trunk in his hands and he's playing that thing as well." The songs--each written and led by a member of the group--register distantly beyond tumultuous on the scale of sonic projections. Beginning simply, as if they were elegies for broken cities or lost friends, or in a wild squeal of abused reeds and forced air, these pieces were experiences of cathartic expression that blew over the audience like Class 4 tornadoes. All the weird noises you could ever make on an instrument as a kid were heard tonight, vamped and smacked around by a professional sixteen times louder and fiercer than you could have ever hoped to muster at any age.

(The thing about free jazz, you know, is that it is "free." Free to kick your teeth in because you never could keep track of a running eighth note for a hundred and fifty measures. Free to laugh maniacally as you try to tap your foot in time to the music and snap a bone in your ankle. Free to put a boot in your testicles for pretending to know something about dichromatic scales and minor chord progressions.)

On the back wall of the Auditorium were a number of quotes lifted from the Good Book, summarized for our benefit into easily digestible platitudes. One stuck out: "Nothing worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime..." And yet, as Peter Brötzmann shrieked and wailed and grew red in the face, you couldn't turn away from the indelible fact that this man, in this space and time, was accomplishing something. He wasn't just moving himself, he was moving us. His assault--the pure onslaught of his music--was meant to instill a desire to reach out and embrace him even as we flinched away from the savagery of his sound. To be amazed as we simultaneously recoiled at the volume and intensity. To confront the dichotomy of human existence--black and white, good and evil, life and death. Sure, maybe I'm reading too much into it, maybe it was just twelve guys jamming so hard and fast that smoke was rising from their fingers; but maybe it is wild jazz--undomesticated and untamed--and maybe the appeal lies in the echo we can still hear in ourselves--in those tiny places that can never be tamed as well.

-Mark Teppo
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[ roger waters - photo by jimmy ienner, jr. ]
photo by jimmy ienner, jr

Roger Waters
@
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
June 24th, 2000
Irvine, CA

Links:
Roger Waters

If there was ever any doubt in my mind about who put the ferocious bite into the music of Pink Floyd, that doubt was obliterated tonight by the performance of Roger Waters. Playing a two-hour set dominated by moving renditions of classic Floyd material, Waters looked amazingly vibrant and capable onstage. His body twisted and leaned into moment after moment of legendary thundertones. His voice wailed the sweetest disillusionment of songs I had long assumed to be in the can as far as being performed and enjoyed live. I'm so glad I was wrong.

It's often in the details, is it not? After starting the veritable flood of smoke and madness with "In the Flesh" and "Another Brick in the Wall Part II," Waters cleansed me of years of feeling left out of the entirety of the Floyd live convergence by closing the cab door, starting the diesel engine hum, upstrumming the haunting four-chord riff, and greeting me home: "Welcome my son, welcome to the machine." His voice was sweet and ominous. Delicate and abrasive. He shined fair and brilliant in harmony with his three beautiful female backups on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond;" he sang "Wish You Were Here" and "Mother" with wonderful emotion and subtlety; he grievously rendered "Southampton Dock." For 15 or so minutes, aided by his dueling lead guitarists (a righty and a lefty, no less), he played the epic "Dogs."

I'm not very objective, am I? I must admit, it's been much too long since I was this exhilarated by a show. Tonight I was singing along, pumping my fists, hollering spastically, shutting my eyes to the world and universe, and generally letting go in close proximity (about 200 yards) to a rock legend. What really set me off was "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," a '60s favorite I never expected to hear due to its relative obscurity in comparison to Floyd's glorious '70s material. My money's worth met in that single song, I stood numb and wide-eyed like a 12-year-old outside his burning grade school. What could possibly come next?

Waters answered all inquisition with "Breathe," "Time," and "Money." This is the point where I seriously started to miss Gilmour's guitar work. Especially on "Time" where Waters' hired guns danced around the impact notes of Gilmour's original solos, and finished flat. But despite the absence, it was gratifying to see Waters performing his 30-year old vision. He later commented, "The past few years, I've felt a bit distanced from the magic that was a part of playing the music of Pink Floyd. Tonight you've helped me feel a little bit of that magic again. Thank you." A beautiful moment.

Late in the set a handful of portions from his most recent solo effort, Amused to Death were played. Though not really familiar with the songs, I was impressed by their scale and recognizable Waters signature, especially on "Perfect Sense" and the album's title track. He closed with "Brain Damage/Eclipse" and "Comfortably Numb," and then played a new song for the encore, "Every Small Candle"--a beautiful acoustic song Waters wrote after reading about a Bosnian soldier's assistance to an Albanian refugee...or something. He related the story before he played it, but unfortunately I was unable to hear it all due to the whining of several drunk Mexican gentlemen unhappy with the omission of "Run Like Hell."

But little could spoil the evening. I was thoroughly electrified by the aging musical visionary. His perceptions and concepts defy the stains of over-play and over-examination, and his performance punctuates that notion.

-Al Cordray
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[ woggles - photo by steve weatherholt ]
photo by steve weatherholt

The Woggles/Girl Trouble/H.E.A.D.
@
Sit & Spin
May 26, 2000
Seattle, WA

Links:
Woggles
Girl Trouble

I pity the souls who would pass up the best chance in the world to see The Sonics and The Wailers on the same bill! Well, tonight's show consisted of the closest you would get to seeing them. I don't get the chance to visit the Sit & Spin club that much, but it is a great place. It is kinda like the Fred Meyer of clubs, one stop clubbing. You have a place to do your dirty tour laundry, have some fine food, play a few board games, and then when you go into the band room you are treated to all kinds of crazy shit nailed to the ceiling. One part has a whole table and chairs plus everything on the table placed just right on the ceiling.

First on tonight's bill is H.E.A.D., impersonating Head, who are of course really themselves. Head--for me--are one of my favorite bands to go see. The singer is such a card, telling all these funny jokes and shenanigans. The beauty of Head comes in their three-chord wonderment. How can a band go wrong by combining two of the best bands of all time in a cross of The Angry Samoans and The Ramones. They have total tongue-in-cheek lyrics and chord strumming aplenty, songs short and to the point, no radio mixes here. This type of excitement makes you want to pogo the night away.

Can anybody name me the Northwest's best band of the last 15 years? Well, you're all wrong unless you have named Tacoma's Girl Trouble, hands down the most underrated best band around these parts. These T-town favorites are the real deal when it comes to having a goddamn good time at a show, mixing Cramps and '60s-inspired rock 'n' roll all done right to get the feet moving and your body grooving. Kurt, the singer, has the best dance moves to inspire the squealing from all the girls. The backbone of the band is the precise rhythm section of Bon Von Wheelie on drums and unassuming Dale "lay down the bass line please." Then there is the tireless fret-work of the Big Kahuna to give you the overall groove. You will never have a down moment when Girl Trouble climb on stage to perform. Just like the old '60s Northwest rockers that did not go on to be famous, they will keep that flag flying.

All the way from Georgia comes The Sonics reincarnated for everyone's pleasure! The Woggles have that '60s rock 'n' roll groove down to a science that has no rivals. Peter Markham from Moshable (R.I.P.) magazine says they are the best band he has ever seen. I would have to agree with him that they are one of the top ten bands I have ever seen myself; The Woggles just don't get the recognition that they deserve! A Woggles concert is never a dull moment, these guys spend as much time dancing on stage as in the audience. Half the time they are dancing in the audience themselves, creating a total party! I truly believe that anybody who would go see them would have a great time. It doesn't matter what your favorite music is, you will have a blast! The Woggles come to rock your world!

-Steve Weatherholt
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[ the ziggens ]
The Ziggens/Repose/Discohesive
@
Paradox Theater
May 27, 2000
Seattle, WA

Links:
The Ziggens
Repose
Discohesive

I had never been to the Paradox before; formerly a small movie theater, it had only changed to an all-ages live music a few months ago. The good news is that it's one new glimmer in Seattle's dwindling list of youth-accessible venues and has a huge stage; the bad news is that the theater legacy, with the front dozen or so rows of seats removed but the rest intact, can provide some serious gluteal inertia for bands to overcome.

I entered to a slightly bizarre mid-set scene: a drummer, a guitarist, and a bassist...who was wearing a yellow football helmet. I briefly thought this was going to be some quirky performance art band but it soon became apparent the helmet served a purpose: he had taped his microphone into the facemask so that it would stay near his mouth while he was bouncing around and working his fingers all over the fretboard of his bass. This was Discohesive, a band whose name I'd seen but avoided because of the first five letters of their name--as it turns out, it should be read as "dis-cohesive," describing their song structure not their musicianship. With Jason Dashow's nomadic basslines, Jesse Bishop's excursive drumming and Rusty Keenan's inconspicuous yet indispensible guitar work, they resemble strongly--yet still unfairly--Primus fused with the energy of Rage Against the Machine. They intrigued and impressed the hell out of me--particularly when Dashow played congas with his right hand and a strong bassline with his left, while singing the lyrics--and were the evening's pleasant surprise.

Following Discohesive were Repose, a five-piece hardcore punk outfit out of Marysville, Washington. Hardcore punk has never been my thing and the yelling vocal style does less-than-nothing for me, but one thing I have learned is that I don't necessarily have to like something to recognize it as good--and Repose were good. Lots of energy, lots of attitude and very tight playing. I learned two things from watching them this night: one is that you only need a total of three people to stage dive; the other is that if you want to pull people off their seats and onto the floor, tossing in a cheesy metal cover from someone like AC/DC works wonders. If you're into loud, aggressive music, you could easily do worse than Repose.

And then...The Ziggens. While it appeared they'd rather be in a venue where they could have a beer and a smoke while playing, they didn't let that stand in the way of providing some good, solid surf punk/rock and fun, fun, fun. In their ten-year history, The Ziggens have built a rapport between themselves that instantly encompasses the audience and makes them feel at home. Even through problems Bert was having with his guitar strings, they kept huge grins on their faces and kicked ass through "Surfungus," "Dickie Built a Halfpipe," "Strange Way to Live," "Outside" and more. I was right in my review of the Ziggens' live album: it is much more enjoyable to hear them banter in person. Unfortunately, I couldn't test the assertion about going to get a beer, as I would have had to go all the way across the street--and they were far too entertaining to step away that long.


-Paul Goracke
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