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Home FEATURES Music Mission Creek Festival - Part 5

Mission Creek Festival - Part 5

Written by Jennifer Maerz   
Tuesday, 23 May 2006 05:10
Excepter, Mick Barr, & Little Claw- May 20, 2006. More Mission Creek: The Mall, Yikes, The Fucking Ocean, Vincent Gallo, The Ohsees, and more.

I had to seriously drag my ass out of the house for this one. Not because the bands sucked but because I can't remember what it's like to get a good night's sleep anymore. I think I had one once.

First thing, though, I feel like I should apologize for the fact that this isn't really a review of the Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival as a whole. I wasn't, like, running from show to show, giving the broad spectrum of various acts and venues involved. I basically lived at the Hemlock for the week (with the exception of seeing Vincent Gallo on Friday), because that's where the shows I wanted to see were, and I have reports on the cool shit that went down on their stage. So don't get mad. And second, I had to share this painting of the Rolling Stones that I saw hanging in a gallery on my way to the Owl Tree the other night. Words cannot explain….but perhaps a photo can.

When I arrived at the Hemlock on Saturday, the first thing I learned is that the A's lost.

Then I watched this guy play guitar. It's Mick Barr from Orthrelm but he went by Octis for this solo gig. His performance was a little too much like watching a dude practice guitar in his bedroom for my taste. Not that he can't shred but watching someone get all technical with instrumental guitar tracks is a little too right brained/wrong in a live setting for me.

So I hit the bar, where I listened in on this conversation. Smarty pants music critic on the right was sharing with smarty pants music critic on the left about how he wrote seven fucking pages about the mathematical theories involved in Excepter's music. Hey, I just like to get drunk and go to shows, but that's cool.

Then it was time for primal no wave stomp from Detroit's Little Claw. The trio was kohl-black in tone, with the front woman growling like Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey backed by Sonic Youth's early dirge. They're working on a split 7-inch with Michael Yonkers.

The music was all art-damaged, dissonant aggression and scratchy guitars (no bass)…and flute.

All of that was fine and good but then Excepter started and you seriously had to scrape my mortal coil off the ceiling by the end of that show. Totally blew my mind. I'm still trying to understand what I experienced that night. I've heard their discs and thought I knew what to expect from this New York act. I knew nothing.

The music involved a lot of computerized equipment and synthesizers and delays and secret gadgets. There were two singers and two knob twiddlers and enough tangled chords to feed a dozen lesser bands. Together they kinda splayed any genre I could even try to fit them under. I guess the closest I could get is dub - there were delays on everything, and the rhythms seemed to echo and repeat into infinity. But this wasn't dub music. It wasn't drone. It wasn't noise or electronica or post punk... it was a crazy sonic junkyard where shards of all that stuff kinda rested and rusted against one another. Next to having my body rattled to the marrow at a recent SunnO))) show, Excepter created one of the most physically psychedelic experiences I've had without the use of actual narcotics.

Who knows, though, maybe I was on drugs. Maybe this little smoke machine was secretly filling our lungs with an LSD fog.

Only the guy running it knows the truth.

But look what happens to the crowd when the fog hits the people... brain chemistry was temporarily altered at the Hemlock that night.

Excepter's music was this looming, intoxicating mass that sucked you deep inside its crowded headspace. It splintered your thoughts and felt dangerous and meditative all at once. Almost every shot I got of the crowd showed people with their eyes closed, just digging it.

This dude set up shop next to the speakers for maximum affect.

The ceiling, with nice little light patters dancing above the band.

Singer #1

Singer #2. No idea what either guy was saying into his mic.

Matching band jean jackets? Sweet.

Today I'm feeling the cumulative affect of hitting so many shows in a row and I can barely form complete sentences, but man it was so worth it. People are making some crazy noise out there, and while I can also appreciate a tightly knit, snuggly little indie pop song like the next gal, I really revel in the art of an old fashioned mind fucking. These Mission Creek shows brought that in every regard - don't you guys agree?
- Jennifer Maerz


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