15-Apr-2003 (Tue)
Wherein are presented more scary clown pictures.

Photos of more scary clowns are up now. Pigface photos will be up in a few days.

The Pigface show was excellent, as predicted. Shows like this are the reason I bought this club, not to make the world safe for house music! I really liked all four bands, though I think TKK was a bit better last time. Oddly, their bass player played with Pigface and not with TKK, and a little more of their act was canned as a result, which is not, in my opinion, a good thing. Pigface was awesome as always, though Meg Lee Chin has recently left the band and label, and her influence was sorely missed...

The webcast worked ok; we lost the first ten minutes or so of Bile's set while working out some Soundweb glitches, but after that, it worked fine: the levels were consistent throughout the evening, even when switching between DJ and live. I think the audio quality on the first three acts was pretty good, because live drums played a relatively small role in the mix (Bile didn't have drums at all, and the others had a lot of electronic percussion going on.) Once Pigface started, we got the usual vocal-heavy mix, with the whole low end of the set totally disappearing: the webcast didn't sound anything like it did in the room.

We've really got to hang some microphones. Soon.

Also, when you hear someone yelling into the mic some rockstar thing like "Make some noise! Yeah!" and there's only the barest hint of crowd noise underneath that... it doesn't really capture the moment.

Monday night we had a live "noise" show (which, incidentally, these days seems to mean "dance music that contains a modicum of white noise in the mix", rather than what it used to mean, "band saws and sheet metal"). The sixty or so folks who came seemed to enjoy it, and I liked the music, but each of the three acts was just some guy standing behind a laptop bobbing his head and "rocking out." After about five minutes of watching this, I realized, "hey, I could be having this exact same experience while sitting in the office and surfing the web." So that's what I did.

This whole "DJs pretending they're bands" thing continues to baffle me. What posesses someone to stand there and watch some guy (essentially) typing? Nothing to see here, move along! On "dance" nights people don't stand and stare at the DJ unless he's actually doing turntablist tricks (which is extremely rare.) But I guess when laptop boy claims he's a "band" instead of a "dj" it puts people in the mindset of "I've been told there's a performance happening here, despite all evidence to the contrary."

15 Responses:

  1. here here on the hanging mics. hope it happens before the next pigface show :)

    i'm pretty much with you re: tkk's and pigface's performance (see my last post). i suspects bile's drums were 100% fake, but i was hoping against hope that they were at least layers on top of something prerecorded.

    know what gets me about that? is what the hell the other guys in the band are thinking about this guy. "hi, we're three musicians... and a guy pretending to be a musician." how do you keep from throwing that guy out of the tour bus at the first whiney comment?

    agree with you pretty much on last night too. good music for the most part, same boring powernoise performance. iszoloscope was working a kaoss pad, which to me is vaguely equivalent to somebody scratching on stage. acceptable performance, but it really should be presented as DJing.

    maybe we need some sort of new term for this. it's not a band, it's not a dj... it's a laptop tweaking performance. or something.

    • baconmonkey says:

      Typically that's been called a "live P.A." for "Public Appearance".

      There's only one of those sorts of shows that I really likes, and that was Hallucinogen @ DNA. but then he had a laptop, some gear, and a ginormous 32 channel mixing board on stage. and unlike last night, people were actually dancing to the music that was being played, as opposed to whatever random oscillation their brain felt like twitching at.

      I can't handle noise shows. when the sound system starts shooting nothing but white noise and square waves, it triggers my "sprint to the sound booth, beat the DJ, and turn the levels down" instinct. I am so not into sound system BDSM.

    • crotchgoblin says:

      heh. i know there were at least 2 kaoss pads in effect last night. and fwiw iszoloscope wasn't using a laptop. having seen him live on multiple occasions, as well as making the damn music when he was my roommate, i have to disagree on that point. he *is* up there performing, not dj'ing. yeah, it doesn't have the same visual appeal. and i totally grok how some people get bored shitless by 'laptop bands'. but, while tarmvred was using a laptop, i still maintain that both he and iszoloscope (god i should just use real names, buh) were putting on a *show*, and not just dj'ing. it's a little -- a lot -- more than 'press play like NEVER BEFORE'. just, unfortunately, it can be hard to tell.

      that said, totally amazed at how they got the crowd moving. that's how noise shows should be! just wish the head count had been higher.

      • hafnir says:

        Yeah, I don't think I'll ever grasp hom some people think making bad music with boring guitar and drum sounds and bad singing and lyrics is supposed to top the kind of amazing music and vibe we experienced on Monday. It may be more "live", but really they're both live, and the former just sucks. Several people whined about State of the Union's sound last week 'cause they actually played live elektro a la the former (except no guitars, of course). You just can't please people.

  2. sixty4k says:

    Those laptop kids aren't djs, they usually are making music, it's just got zilch for visual appeal. And they sure do get their panties in a bunch if you say something to them about playing Quake while their mp3 mix plays...

    A few of em (kid606, others) have tried to make the live show a little more interesting. kid606 takes it a more dj direction by using two laptops and a dj mixer, and rocking about on stage, which makes it slightly more interesting to watch.

    Personally with laptop musicians, I think they should just be set up with a wireless audio feed, and just sit somewhere innocuous, with lots of laptop users about, so you don't know quite who is doing it. But I've got lots of abberent ideas about music, musicians, djs, and idolatry. Boiled down, it's something like: Unless there's a strong visual aspect to the performance, the dj/artist/whatnot should be out of sight, out of mind to allow the music to have the audiences full attention.

    whatever...

  3. rasp_utin says:

    Why, god, why... and is that Ouchy the Clown behind the decks in that one shot, or just a body double?

    Can never be too sure these days with the Ministry of Clown Information running about, so I just thought I'd ask.

  4. that clown stripper totally rocked my world.

  5. kyronfive says:

    a couple things:

    #1: mark has put on several true 'noise' shows in the last few months. of course they are attended by only 25 people and are stuck in some shithole venue like the edinburgh castle. and obviously you wern't there or you'd know that. he could have put a true 'noise' show on at the DNA but he would have lost even more hundreds of dollars than he did last night with his ersatz quasi-noise show.

    #2: i find some laptop rockers do have great live shows. the first time i saw autechre (*not* the monstrosity that was that oakland show) they were really interesting - and all they did was sit behind two computer screens. and i thought roland of needle sharing's live show at CODE several months back was a nonstop riot. of course an overwhelming majority of the time guys pretending to play music while playing tetris on a laptop on stage is lame to watch live, but there are some exceptions.

    • jwz says:

      I agree that the Needle Sharing show was very entertaining, but that was really just because I spent the whole time watching it thinking, ``my god, how can someone Rock Out So Hard when he's not doing anything? Look at his fist pump!'' His enthusiasm was certainly contagious. Then there was the time he picked up the laptop and banged it against his forehead or something, and the cable fell out: pure comedy!

      Yeah, that's a performance, sure. But it would be exactly as much a performance if, say, the guy with the laptop sat in the back while the clown stripper got busy.

      And if you've got no stage presence, there's a lot to be said for having a good slideshow.

      But it fails to Rock.

      • kyronfive says:

        "my god, how can someone Rock Out So Hard when he's not doing anything? Look at his fist pump!''

        Ironically, i said something similar the last time Joseph (Form_Virus) played live: "How can someone bang their head so violently to a beat that ISN'T THERE." damn power electronics.

        And if you've got no stage presence, there's a lot to be said for having a good slideshow.

        Agreed.

  6. netik says:

    re: The hanging microphones.

    You'll want a good pair of omni's, with a stereo mic mount bar. One of the following should do:

    - EarthWorks TC30K's ($509 each, excellent)
    - EarthWorks SRO "Live Sound Omni" $299.97 each
    - Audix Studio Omni/Test Microphone T40 - $199 each.
    - Shure SM81 (DNA already has one of these)
    - A single r0de NT4 stereo microphone $449. Probably the cheapest way to go, but it's a condenser and will require phantom power to operate (mackie and behringer mixers provide this)

    You'll need a pre-amp if you use microphones as well. You can't just plug them into the compressor and go, so you'll have to look at something like a Mackie 1202VLZ ($500) or a low-cost (but crappy) Behringer Mixer ($29-$69.95) to amplify the audio coming off the mics.

    If you're doing this because you want to be able to professionally record (and possibly give bands the opportunity to purchase live recordings of thier show from the club, like Bottom of the Hill does), then you'll want the DPA 3532T package; but that's $8000. Heh.

    You might even be able to run the mics directly into soundweb and get around the pre-amp / mixer issue, but I'm not sure if soundweb has mic pre's in it or not -- I don't think it does.