Monday, September 22, 2008

Farflung, Numinous Eye, Beaks Plinth-Hemlock Tavern, SF, 9/20/08

I wore a Kwik Way t-shirt. Scott wore his prized Jimi Hendrix t-shirt. Jason called in sick. Again we braved the strange ways of Polk street in our quest for live Rock kicks.
Up first was Beaks Plinth. This is a one man electronic music project. He used sound from LP's, fed into a laptop and then heavily processed. The resulting sound was not quite the harsh attack of your Hair Police or Wolf Eyes. The sound was a bit more widely spaced, a bit more melodic. A lot of it seemed sourced from recordings of Asian music. Although not dramatic to watch, Beaks Plinth's music was fun to listen to with eyes closed, after a long Saturday afternoon of domestic chores. I give added props for his use of old suitcases to cover the turntable and laptop. Very Eno-esque and stylish.
Following quickly in Beak's wake was Numinous Eye. This is a duo which features Mason Jones on guitar and Mark Shoun on drums. Their set was made up of two long, seemingly improvised jams. Mason is a guitar KILLER, and I enjoyed the hell out of listening to his wide open and heavy Fender Strat playing. It's a really psychedelic sound, filtered through his incredible knowledge of and interface with the best Japanese Psych players. He's getting to be as stunning as Sharrock with his assault. Shoun is a powerhouse of a drummer. His tom tom heavy playing and lightning speed left hand snare technique took advantage of the spaces opened up within a duo setting. He filled them up with a hyper-technical approach, at times playing lead drums to Jones's steady time playing. Another band that may be better appreciated with the eyes closed. Mason sure kept his shut throughout the proceedings.
Lastly, and after a break of ten fucking years Farflung took San Francisco by storm. I've loved this band for a long time. Their Space Rock, so simple and rhythmically driving, has always appealed to me. Yes, they're a lot like Hawkwind, but much as in St. Vitus's case vis a vis Sabbath, I feel that they do it so incredibly well that they get a pass. Farflung did not dissappoint. Pushed along by a powerful new drummer and tight bassist, they blasted out their stoney jams, all three guitars weaving simple riffs, the Moog synth coloring on top. Two thirds of the way through their set, the room started to feel like one big echo chamber, bass tones bouncing off of the walls in a physically bracing way. Tasty! The dudes ended the night by giving every single person who wanted one a cool new T-shirt. I wore mine yesterday. With pride.

6 comments:

Michael said...

Haven't thought about FARFLUNG in years, though I dug seeing em play a decade or so a ago in LA. Does Brandon LaBelle still play drums for them? I went to junior high with that guy, though he was a year or two older. Brandon's become quite the established abstract visual/sound artist now, but back then . . . well he was stoner personified. He was totally out of time - indeed he looked like like one of the ST. VITUS dudes. Waist length hair, AEROSMITH T-shirt, plus he'd wear a fringe buckskin jacket - it was impressive.

Disaster Amnesiac said...

Wow! He sound like a KING stoner! I'm pretty sure they have a new dude on drums. He looks like one of John Garcia's crew: Latino/Indian. I totally missed seeing Farflung. They're a great, fun live band, and despite being somewhat derivative, they have a sense of humor about it all, unlike so many Stoner bands I've seen. A lot of those cats seem pretty image conscious. Farflung have always struck me as dorky in the best sense of the word. I guess that's not cool, but once they get going....damn, I love it. They really do Space Rock right, IMO.

Michael said...

Oh yes I do know that John Garcia crew look well. I'm listening to clips of their new "Wound in Eternity" CD right now, it sounds totally great and a big step up from what I remember their early records sounded like. I think I gotta go buy this one on-line someplace.

Thinking back: I seem to remember Brandon once wearing a HAWKWIND beltbuckle to school back then. Ad this woulda been in like '83/'84 - how fucked up is that? If he'd been here England, it would have made sense - but in the South Bay? Shit HAWKWIND didn't even exist on my radar until like '90 or so. The man was ahead of his time, fr sure.

Disaster Amnesiac said...

Cool! Some folks are just with it. I first had a Hawkwind tape in the late 1980's. I believe it was a live one with a lot of Quark stuff on it. I was stoned a lot. I used to live in an apartment that featured an exorbitant amount of Wiccans. One afternoon, I found a box with about twenty live Hawkwind tapes that someone had left after Beltane. I spent a summer wandering around SF (in the fog), blaring Hawkwind on my walkman. Good times!

Michael said...

Haha! Wiccans are cool that way.

Michael said...

Been listening to their new "Wound of Eternity" CD for weeks now. It's totally brilliant. Thanks for getting me to crack an ear.