Date: Monday, May 29th, 2000 City: Stirling, Scotland Venue: LMC Festival
The trio arrived on stage with a blast from the smoke machine. The absence of a microphone for Lee Ranaldo indicated that this was not going to be his normal spoken word and atmos music offering. William Hooker started the show with tight rolls on his tom drums interspersed with long pauses. When he added bass drum thunder it was clear that his percusion was to be driving force for the 45 minute no encore performance. Often he worked with eyes shut and head back. His occasional ecstatic shouts were the only vocal contribution to the trio's sound.
Ranaldo joined in by playing the bare jack plug of a guitar lead with his right hand- amplifying the noise through his effects pedals. Soon he had temple bells jangling on a string from his left hand. His performance was a delight to witness in such an intimate venue as he worked with a kind of ti-chi economy of movement. His noise making seemed deliberate and considered as he switched from playing his one guitar to a mini-speaker-feedback-device, a 1970s plastic tape recorder and sometimes merely his effects pedals, letting only the briefest of loops/drones build up.
Trash electronics maestro Gert Jan Prins coloured the mid tones and high end with buzzes, clicks and glitch noise. At times the only noise that was clearly his was a sick air conditioner hum in the final band of audible sound. His kit table was refreshingly Powerbook free having chosen to work with clearly home made effects boxes. His sound sources were a handful of CDRs and a little radio. He got his solo spot by standing up and tuning the little radio once only through a series of stations.
Halfway through the set Lee looped a slide guitar noise that Hooker and GJP immediately acknowledged by playing along in sympathy as it decayed for about 30 seconds.At one point Lee held his guitar by the body and drew arcs on the floor with the head. Later he held the guitar by the neck and let it swing against a bow. His only display of anything close to conventional playing was some reverb heavy scales sounding like Mazzacane Connors doing Ennio Morricone.
William Hooker signalled the wind down by leaving the stage still banging his sticks together to activate the smoke machine- completely enveloping the whole band and audience. The effect as it cleared was like being in a plane descending through clouds.
By the finale Lee was kneeling inside the arc of his guitar pedals. He restated his no repetition pledge by creating a beautiful drone noise that only played for 2 cycles before he snuffed it out by banging his fist on another pedal. Finally Hooker wound things to a conclusion with a series of drum rolls.
There was the normal experimental music event akward moment of silence before the audience applauded. This trio worked so well togther it would be unthinkable for them not to release something. Still, not as good as having seen it live.
Return to the Sonic Youth Concert Chronology.