This is the closing night of the Sonic Circuits Festival (and my second night of coverage)
Alexei Bokisov with Anton Nikkila - We have one noise manipulator with a guitarist/noise manipulator. A bit of distorted harmonica was a nice touch. It was loud, on the harsh side without being too overbearing. If you like noise...
Pekka Airaksinen - Apparently this gentleman is from Finland. He sat at his Mac notebook and played some music on it. Some decent ivory tickling amongst the other sounds. Transitions seemed disjointed, but if you don't pause between songs, I guess there is nothing wrong there. As I watched this, I realized that I may as well read my book while listening, rather than watch a guy at his computer while listening, so that is what I did.
Health - From Los Angeles, we have a full band composed of two guitars a bass and drums. One guy sang, so this was certainly had a normal look to it. Of course this band was much more daring than normal to be part of this festival, but they had a nice musical foundation to better showcase their daring moves. They showed great energy, dropped their axes and went to electronics and percussion from time to time, but kept the sound moving. Real songs, strong playing, all in all a great set--maybe a tad long, but if it's good, it works. It did.
Rat Bastard/Chris Grier/Ulrich Krueger Trio - Two guitars and a saxophone. I cannot quote the exact source, but I am sure I have read a classical music critic talking of some chamber musician strangling their instrument on some Mahler piece or whatever. That critic should see something like this where three musicians strangled their instruments for their entire set. Not necessarily a criticism on my part, although it did not show enough variety to hold my interest.
Faust - The legendary German band makes a rare appearance on these shores. They have two original members, two other full timers and a guest saxophonist that played on a few songs. They played a few recognizable songs from their back catalogue (says I relying on hopefully good memory without running to my CDs). They also did freak-out improvisations and just had fun. There was enough structure for some magical sounds to emanate as well as some outrageous things you will not see too often. My two favorites were the woman who played guitar and keyboards spending her time on the improvisation, painting a large board set up in the rear of the stage. It was quite good by song's end. The drummer had a large hunk of sheet metal he was banging on, but the best part was when he took an arc welder to it with all the resultant cascading sparks flying around on stage. I have dreadful memories of industrial education (shop) so this was exciting as long as I wasn't the one touching the tools. Kind of a small audience, but a good connection with the band made for an enjoyable set.
Quote of the Night: While in line I overheard this discussion of an act I had wanted to see, but went to see Mono instead... "Jandek had some Russian guy reading poetry in Russian. He didn't sing." "Yeah, someone said it made no sense."