Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Black Dice at YU Contemporary

I received a few strange text messages at 2 AM Wednesday morning from my sister-in-law, Kate, suggesting that, for some reason, her and my brother, Trent, were up in Minneapolis hanging out with my other brother, Trevor, and his wife, Amber. This struck me as odd for a number of reasons.

1. Trent and Kate live in Iowa
2. Trevor and Amber live in Minnesota
3. All 4 of these people are adults with real jobs
4. The text messages were received on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning
5. 2 AM??

As the sloppy text messages continued, I pieced together that Trevor had had a few drinks and was calling me Gregg. The 5 of them (Thurston included) were hanging out at Trevor and Amber's place up in Minnesota, and it had something to do with "Load Blown!!" and "Black Dice."

A quick google search of the Black Dice tour schedule brought me to the realization that Trent and Kate had taken Thurston with them up to Minneapolis to see Black Dice play and were likely staying at Trevor and Amber's place that night, after a little bit of drinking.

My jealousy was quickly squelched by scanning down the tour schedule and noticing a Portland, OR date on Saturday at a place I had never heard of simply called "YU", though my sense of family comradery was left unfulfilled.

Turns out, the YU was another one of those converted warehouse-type buildings holding strong in inner southeast Portland, and I'd actually ridden by it a number of times. The show took place upstairs in a large, empty loft area with huge windows looking out toward downtown Portland. The floor creaked and I noticed cracks of light from the room below shining up between the boards, making me ponder safety concerns in the event that this show gets out of hand.

Black Dice took the stage an hour later than I expected, led by no openers besides the crackling video footage projected behind the stage and a few scattered drone tracks falling softly out of the PA.

Most of the tracks reached some pretty upbeat highs, sending pockets of the all ages crowd into all out head-banging frenzies, and I kind of assumed most of what they played was from the new album, Mr. Impossible based on the 1 or 2 listens I managed to fit in before the show and the few reviews of the album I had browsed earlier in the week.

I had never seen Black Dice play before and, needless to say, they did not disappoint. The waves of distortion and reverse-fucked noise blaring from the 10 speakers set up on stage hit like the end of the eye of the storm. The best part is watching each of the 3 members of this band standing up in front of their table of electronics, turning knobs and pressing pedals, and being completely lost as to where the individual sounds you manage to discern from all the mess are actually coming from. I'll never get over loving that feeling.

Noise noise noise noise noise noise noise noise. MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tiny Mix Tapes

My old College Radio DJ name, Top Heavy, has been brought out of retirement to be used as my pseudonym to push new music that I find scattered across the internet on people via the Chocolate Grinder section on Tiny Mix Tapes.

Expect a few posts a week, and, ya know, listen to the songs, too... if you want.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

I made it a goal of mine last year to finish all of Stephen King's Dark Tower series -- a 7 book (soon to be 8) series that sets the entire framework for every piece of fiction King has ever written. I was told that all I needed to do was read "The Gunslinger" and I would be hooked, so I read it one day after finding it for $1.99 at the Goodwill store near my house, which has a surprisingly well stocked selection of literature.

Upon finishing the book, I wasn't hooked.

In fact, it took until the fourth book, The Wizard and Glass before I was even sure I wanted to finish the series, something I did end up doing, somewhat reluctantly I must admit, in the early months of 2012, just missing my initial goal.

Something I can say though is that I love it when writers, artists, directors, etc. create worlds, and with The Dark Tower series, King invented his entire world.

Finding similarities between various works of art is something I really started to enjoy when I began taking English classes in college, and when one artist just hands you the similarities, it just invites one to look into everything they have ever done, and finding out more information about some one-liner character in this story, or some lyric in this song that refers back to that song is something I can't get enough of.

I think I love origins (not so much Origin though, oddly enough).

I remember seeing Alien vs. Predator: Requiem with a friend of mine when it came out 5 years ago on Christmas day. Most people agreed the film was awful, myself included, but when I asked my friend what he thought, he just kind of shrugged and admitted that, "anything that expands the canon of something as cool as Alien or Predator, and therefore, Alien vs. Predator is always going to be pretty cool to me." And that statement has always stuck with me, specifically with regard to all these remakes and sequels to horror films which weren't terribly good to begin with.

In The Dark Tower series, the center of King's entire universe is the Dark tower -- a black tower in the middle of a field of roses where everything in all of existence is tied together. In The Cabin in the Woods, the center of the entire universe of horror films is established as a shabby-looking cabin in the middle of a forest, and miles below sleeps something which could destroy everything. The scenario in this film suggests an origin story for each and every death in every single horror film ever created, as if every villain was sent to serve some higher, horror power.

It's like the New Testament to the Old Testament-like dogma of H.P. Lovecraft's Ancient Ones.

Murder in horror movies may never be truly mindless again.