[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Snapped Crackling Pop
Apologies up front for those who'll get this twice because of the
crosspost, but since it's been talked about on both lists...
This weekend I caught both the Snapped Crackling Pop display of
Halifax music scene art and the associated gig at the NSCAD
cafeteria. Impressed by both, apart from the quality of the sound
equipment used in both cases.
If the "Secret Band" played, it was while I was outside. When I
entered, the DJ was playing dance music, the first of several
bizarre film loops was playing on a bedsheet haphazardly mounted on
the side wall, and Paul of Piggy fame was dishing out free cotton
candy (self serve all night long for the "dry" kids who needed a
high from something other than $2.50 beer).
The second band was Soaking Up Jagged, who have apparently been
around long enough (judging from their display at the gallery) to
have made the "Wicker Donkey" a running gag/trademark. Note to
other bands contemplating such antics: dressing your tambourinist in
a black sheet and wicker-basket donkey mask and having him perform
various minor feats of acrobatics is more distracting than it is
entertaining. I'd not seen them before, found their short and
aggressive songs likeable but the singing style (not to mention the
lyrics) a bit wierd. At least the set list was posted on Bristol
board for all to see, so it was easy to judge how much longer they
Next I was surprised to see the Chinstraps, who I thought had
skipped town. I was more surprised to see the drummer don a bizarre
wire-frame mask equipped with an unfortunately weak and poorly-
positioned mic, and a face-sized magnifying lens that made it look
like he was performing inside a fishbowl. Or maybe he was
impersonationg "The Creature from the Blue Lagoon"? :) I've seen
shows where they sounded better, but the edge was still there.
Rebecca West's soundcheck consisted of jamming, in skilled and
entertaining fashion, in sync with the dance music selections of the
DJ. When it came time to take the stage for real, Allison Outhit
rightly decided that the lead mic sucked (Her chant of "Up! Up! Up!"
which I mistook as a cue to the soundman to raise the mic volume,
was in fact directed at the tired and the few sitting in front of
the stage), and thus we were treated to a half hour instrumental jam
bracketed by only two vocal selections. Just the sort of thing that
really shows off what a great sound Lukas gets by bowing his bass
with that steak knife.
Thrush Hermit had the worst mic trouble, with Rob's vocals
completely absent on several verses. They also had trouble with Ian
breathing fire, momentarily setting the very low ceiling alight, and
with a skateboarding gorilla who stole one of Cliff's cymbals. By
this point the soundman had the mix completely off, guitars at
deafening levels and vocals hopelessly distorted, but the troops
marched on through "Patriot" and other faves. The "ROCK & ROLL"
sign was present but little used, overshadowed by a smoking mock-up
of the three stacks of the Tufts Cove power station.
I caught the gallery show on closing Saturday, and spent most of
my time watching the excellent video compilation playing on a not
very excellent TV and VCR. I caught several Superfriendz, Plumtree,
Thrush Hermit, Hip Club Groove and Jale videos, most of which I'd
not seen and none of which I'd seen any more than twice. All were
well-produced, creative, and entertaining, perfect reasons for them
not to get Much airplay. I commented on my desire to purchase the
video in the guestbook, then read through it to find that Tara
Wittchen and Heather (Harkins, presumably) were of the same opinion.
Murder staff, take note!
Other highlights were (unfortunately empty) containers of Li'l
Orton's Elixir and Popcorn, posters from such long lost clubs as
Odin's Eye (before my time) and Waldo's, and a Mike Graham photo of
a young man bearing a striking resemblance to Graham MacDougall
caught in the now-frowned-upon act of crowd surfing. I was
surprised to see the quality of the gig posters, some of which were
more creative and more carefully laid out than many examples of
album art (which one would expect to receive longer planning and
more effort). Several one of a kind examples were original
layout sheets of album art, Chris Murphy's original polaroids for
Peppermint and Smeared, and uncut CD and cassette cards (kinda like a
sheet of $2 bills from the mint, but instead of "Bank of Canada"
they say "John Boomer"). The T-shirt collection varied from the
simple to the truly inspired (though there must be a better
specimen of the Merge Irving-logo-knockoff shirt in existence).
If this show does resurface (perhaps at HOM as suggested in the
guestbook by TLW) I hope they put out a broader casting call in order
to expand the collection (like posting here, the murder site, etc.).
And they may just get one of those elusive Sonic Youth posters...