Have I mentioned how much I fucking hate MCs? Why yes! I think I have.
Well, tonight's Photek show was as horrid as I expected. It was terrible because I happen to like Photek, but as is par for course with drum-and-bass events lately, there was an MC blathering over the music for the whole show, totally obliterating the music I came to hear.
I have two Photek discs, and as far as I can recall, neither of them feature a suburban Gap-wearing white fratboy rapping in a bad Jamaican accent for four hours.
I just don't get it. I can't even put myself in the DJ's shoes: I mean, DJs like this guy are unlike most DJs in that they aren't just standing there playing other peoples' records: they're playing their own records. And you'd think that if they thought their music needed a fake-Jamaican rapper, well, they would have included one in the recording, wouldn't they?
And it's not even like the DJ chose to go on tour with this chump: as far as I can tell, the MC is always a local, booked by the promoters, so there's a different fake-Jamaican each night of the tour. Presumably the DJs could put a stop to this if they objected, so they're clearly complicit... but why??
It's almost harder to tolerate events like this than it is to tolerate the "deep house" crap we usually do, because at least the house nights are just 100% hateful through-and-through: whereas, this is an event that could have been music I liked, if they didn't go and totally fuck it up.
The first DJ was really good, though: the MC didn't start until later.
Photos of the Halou / Laughing Stock / J Boogie show are up. Halou were fantastic, as always. Why are they not huge? They should be huge. They've now played here four times, which is more than any other band. They told me that they got a write-up somewhere that called them "the closest thing to a house band that DNA Lounge has." I said, "but we do house all the time!"
The opening band was also great: Laughing Stock are two guys, one playing drums, and one singing and playing a Chapman Stick (which means he sounded like three people.) It's a really odd instrument: basically it's half guitar and half bass, and you play it by tapping and holding the strings instead of plucking, playing one part with each hand. I hadn't seen someone use one of those up close and personal before.
The next night, Martin Atkins from Pigface DJed at Affliction. That was fun, because I got a chance to say hi and chat with him afterward, since he wasn't wrangling the 20+ person Pigface entourage like the other times he's been here. (Hmmm, you know, there might be individuals from the Pigface collective who have performed here more than four times, if you count their various bands...)
And finally: ladies and gentlemen, we have a new winner in the ongoing Classiest Flyer Ever contest: Compression on August 31. It readily displaces the previous two champions from way back in 2001: Naughty Christmas, with Santa grabbing the stripper's ass, and Stompy, with whatever-the-hell-that-is. Let's have a round of applause. Nice work.
Photos of the One of Many / Karate High School / Simon Stinger show are up. It was a good time! I especially liked Simon Stinger, they were wacky. And they had synchronized, costumed gogo dancers, which is seldom a bad idea. If we could be doing shows like this once a week, I'd be a happy camper. It wasn't a big turn-out, and we probably lost a little money on it, but not much. And it was live music, so that makes it ok.
The thing we're still missing is people with the time and connections to put the shows together. We regularly get email from small bands saying "we're going to be in SF in a few months, can we have a show?" and we have to tell them "not unless you can find someone local to promote it", because we don't have anyone to do all the rest of the work: finding opening acts, making flyers, going to the right events and handing out those flyers...
Incidentally, Jason really wants you all to see this picture of him and DJ ?uestlove from a few weeks ago. Apparently they had some kind of question-mark bonding thing going on.
Last week, some guy lost his cell phone and spent a long time demanding of the bartenders, and then of security, that they turn the house lights on so that he could look for it. "Look around you, pal: there are hundreds of people here dancing. We're not turning on the lights because you dropped your phone", they told him. "You don't understand," he explained, "you have to turn on the lights right now!" Amazing. Where do people come up with this combination of obliviousness and entitlement?
We get so many cellphones that are unclaimed -- most people apparently aren't so concerned about getting them back as this guy. Not to mention drivers licenses, passports, credit cards... The credit cards I can understand, since those are fairly easy to cancel/replace, but getting replacement licenses and especially passports is a huge hassle! A while ago I started taping the unclaimed licenses to the office wall; it covers almost three square feet now. I wish I had thought of this two years ago: it'd be huge by now.
Some photos from the weekend: New Wave City and Z-Trip. I tried a new trick when taking the NWC pictures: I'd set up the shot, then stare at Harlan at the lighting board; when he looked like he was about to reach for the button that fires the strobes, I'd take a 2 or 4 second shot, resulting in some reasonably-well-lit multiple exposures. It came out a lot better than my flash pictures usually do, anyway...
The Z-Trip show was totally packed! We sold out -- it's been a while since that's happened (DJ Krush in February, I think?) And on a sunday no less. Our friends at PG&E will be glad to hear this.
As you know, the restaurant next door (Dulcinea) has closed, but just after they opened, Georgia and David (not that David, the other David -- no, the other one) were contestants on a cooking-battle show called "Food Fight". I've just learned that their episode is finally going to air on Sep 11 at 10PM ET on the Food Network, so set your Tivos...
Photos of the Gotham Road / Plan 9 / Hypercenter and Scar Tissue / Kontinuum shows are up now. Scar Tissue was great; it's been far too long since I've seen them. Live drumming, singing through toy megaphones, playing guitar by holding electronic talking toys against the pickups: this is what an industrial show should be. (It should not be, just as a hypothetical example, one guy manning the DAT and another guy doing a VNV Nation impression.)
Both the thursday and sunday shows were, if not our least-attended shows yet, pretty close. We got around 30 people each night, meaning we lost several hundred bucks on each show. I'm still glad we did them, but this place looks pretty barren with that few people in it...
Tomorrow night is the final CODE event, which is sad. Cybrid are performing, and they're a lot of fun, so come see. CODE was the first event we promoted ourselves, and we'd been planning it for almost a year before the club even opened. Though, since it changed its focus a few times, it was really three different events that shared the same name.
The first incarnation was every friday, with alternating fridays being trance-oriented, and drum+bass oriented, respectively. The connecting theme was "electronic music that is fast, dark, angry, and heavily influenced by industrial." Well, that was a flop: few people showed up, and those who did were followers of particular guest djs and didn't come back when their guy wasn't spinning. We had no regulars to speak of, and none of my friends came, because they were scared away by A) unfamiliar-though-similar music, and B) the track-suits-and-baseball-caps dress code of the ravers.
It was costing too much, so for its second incarnation, we moved it to thursday; we kept the same theme in the main room (with a lower budget), but gave the goths their own "industrial ghetto" in the lounge, hoping the two rooms would cross-pollinate. Of course they didn't, at all. At this point, the music booked drifted from "psytrance and drum+bass" to "electro and electro", with the occasional "house" slipping in when guest djs ignored the theme. We had the same 8 goths in the lounge every week, so we gave up on that.
In its third and final incarnation, we turned over the reins to Shane and Amber, letting them do their thing without me and Barry interfering. They made another go at it, doing electro and breaks. But, now they've decided to call it quits, so I guess that's the end of that!
This ending comes shortly after a couple of interesting CODE-related developments: they've been filming a TV show ("CODE TV") which is currently planned to run on public-access, but I gather they're trying to get a slot on one of the local stations. Now that the CODE event is ending, they're planning on taking the cameras around to different clubs.
Also, CODE got a mention in the 2003 Best of the Bay issue of The Guardian. It said:
Best Place to See an Electronic Duo Score 'My Dinner with Andre'
As far as SoMa spaces go, the DNA Lounge has definitely stepped to the plate in the post-1015-relevance era. Resident DJs Shane and Amber have been putting on :CODE there every other Thursday since the club's impressive renovation two years ago, spinning a consistently good mix of acid techno, ghetto breaks, glitch, and drum 'n' bass as well as showcasing live acts when they can. :CODE's a good party, and the night we saw experimental duo Idiom Creak perform was no exception. What was exceptional was watching kids get down to their bizarro breaks while the two scored epochal indie film My Dinner with Andre on the fly. Kids who didn't exist when the film came out in '82 were shakin' it beneath the projected image of Wallace Shawn waxing philosophical as Idiom Creak trickled dialogue into the mix along with their spastic beats.
So, our first award: we got a plaque that says "Best Place to See an Electronic Duo Score My Dinner with Andre", which makes every single person who sees it go, "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" or occasionally, "Who's Andre?"
My little black-and-white security monitor has mostly given up the ghost, so now I can't see who's at the front door any more. If any of you have one of these that you want to get rid of (or even a small TV with a video input) I could give it a good home...