8th August, 2001 - Frying Pan Boat, Chelsea Piers, NYC
August 8th was the first date of TA's first US tour. Since signing to Matador Records, things seem good for the band. They have released the Dalek split, the Dead Man's Curse single and soon the Brotherhood of the Bomb record. They've finally got a label behind them to support them, with promo releases and even a US tour. The first of the 5 US dates stopped at Chelsea Piers, located on the west side of Manhattan, in the Frying Pan Boat.
We arrived at Chelsea Piers just before 10 and found that the show was around the back. Walking past the salsa dancing we boarded an old boat...rickety, rusted, it was a mess. It had a bunch of floors, rooms and all, a very intersesting locale. The room that they played in was small, maybe held up to 100-150 people and that is pushing it, but I'm bad w/ numbers. After walking around a bit, my gf Stacy and I met up w/ Matt, a writer for a small paper in Boston. He had the opportunity to interview Justin and Kevin prior to the show, and this article should show up in the Boston paper soon.
From the looks of it, not many people were there for TA. I spied another Godflesh shirt and it turns out it was someone who I had spoken to, and who came up from Florida for the event. Besides numbers, I'm bad w/ names too, so I've already forgotten his - sorry! In any event, there didn't look to be too many TA fans in attendance, most were there for the hip hop act Def Jux. El-P appears in that band and also on one of the tracks off of Brotherhood of the Bomb.
TA started around 10:45 - and while I won't be able to tell you a set list, I recognized every song. Many were new during the hour long set, including 3 songs w/ MCs from the new LP. I can only really comment on the instrumental tracks though. Justin was definitely into the music, and he looked like he was having fun up there w/ Kevin Martin, bouncing around constantly and wiping his head off b/c of the intense heat. It was definitely hot - and being in the innards of a boat didn't really help the situation. As the music blared I was intrigued to see the expressions on ppl's faces. There were a lot of confused folks watching. Stacy said that she saw some people into the music. All I saw was blank faces. TA live is definitely an interesting experience, and not for everyone. Some of the tracks are just plain heavy and you can hear Justin's influence throughout. Between the heavy beats and pure noise, I loved it. Almost everyone else sat staring and sweating. I recognized Hypertension from the new LP, an excellent track, among others, though I can never tell TA tracks by name.
The last song that they played was w/ Def Jux, but they didn't finish it b/c of the terrible mic sound. They wanted the strobe light turned off, which pleased virtually everyone there. I've got to say though, having it on was excellent for TA. The music is trippy enough as is, but w/ that light, it made it a very surreal experience. Some of the tracks were just awesome, and some went into the noisy segments that I expect from the band. Even with sound issues, I thought they came off great - excellent heavy beats with their knob turning chaos throughout. At this point we tried to get out of the place and found it to be a near impossible task. The room was literally packed. The fresh air outside was a relief as that room had gotten even hotter by the time TA left the stage.
Outside, Matador had a table and they were giving away copies of Dead Man's Curse on CD (City of Glass is excellent IMO). Also, they had We Will Build You, a promo 12" (limited to 1000!) including a remix not found elsewhere. The collector that I am, snatched that up immediately!!! Keep your eyes open if you plan on seeing them in the coming days, might get a chance to grab this stuff. I've put the 12" into the TA Discography already.
|We Can Build You promo|
Another tip I can offer - bring earplugs. If you don't use them, then that's fine, but as w/ any GF show - you might just want them just in case. I got through the first half without (and I *always* wear earplugs) but put them in for the latter portion and I'm glad I did. The sound itself at the show was less than stellar, and the mics had constant feedback during the non-instrumentals. Pick up a set, keep them handy if you wish...can't hurt. For a typical GF show it's a must have. Just a note of warning. The show wasn't too bad, but I saw a handful of ppl holding their ears. I recommend it now and whenever GF tours again.
In the end, it was a great show. There were certainly issues w/ sound, and there were a few hiccups in the whole set. But the music was excellent, and I'm glad I got to see them live finally. Definitely not the type of show I'd normally see, but it was awesome.
If you were at the show and saw a guy w/ long hair, beard and glasses, it was likely me. I don't quite fit the hip hop crowd too well! :)
11th August, 2001 - Chicago, Il
Well, we got to the venue about 9pm. We were told that they weren't letting people go upstairs for the show yet, so we went and got something to eat at a taco place around the corner from the venue. As we finished eating, Jason saw Matt Jeanes, another Georgia-native fan, the man behind larvae, and regular poster on Rants. Matt had his girlfriend and Miles Tillman with him (who has agood song on the submarine records sampler (Submarinerecords.com), as does Matt). We basically all went up to the part of the club where Techno Animal was playing together. Then we waited for about 45 minutes. Then a mediocre dj spun hip hop records for about 12 hours (I put my earplugs in sometime during this). Then Justin and Kevin got on the stage and messed around for a while, (both in baseball caps... Matt's comment: "do they even HAVE baseball in england?"). Apparently, some crucial piece of equipment was broken, so they wandered off the stage, and the DJ played for another 10 hours before some guy came back with a couple of road cases, apparently a replacement for the broken hardware. So, finally, they got on the stage, and the DJ stopped playing, and everyone moved to the front, as justin opened up the powerbook and kevin got behind some piece of equipment.
That's probably when these people realized that they weren't at some normal electronica show. They kicked it all off with Bass Concussion, and it was shaking the floor. It was great. I've never seen that many people holding their ears and just sorta standing there stunned. They did some weird noise that must have been painful, cause even more people were holding their ears as the boys transitioned into Fistfunk, and that's when people really started grooving to it. After that, i can't really remember a whole lot of the songs... they played several songs from Brotherhood of the Bomb most of them were done with no rapping, but a guy came out and freestyled with them for a couple of songs. During Demonoid some drunk guy started breakdancing.... That was pretty interesting... and i heard a buddy of his exclaim, "Man, listen to that BASS!" It's nice that there were people who were getting into it that maybe wouldn't have bothered with them otherwise.
Then Def Jux came out and rapped on the last song, and then Techno Animal gotoff the stage and Def Jux played for a while. Overall, it was quite a good show. There's just something about Techno Animal live that grabs you and shakes you like a rabbit in a rottweiler's mouth. Maybe that's just the huge speakers shaking the floor, though.
15th August, 2001 - Oakland, CA
The show (as a part of the Def Jux tour) took place in a Warehouse in Oakland, which surprisingly, was in a residential area. My girlfriend and I arrived around 6pm to make a TA interview and we also watched the soundcheck. Kevin and Justin told us they weren't very happy with the sound, mostly because of a crappy PA and that they couldn't even use all their equipment (we saw during the set that it really was minimal equipment). TA played 3rd, after 1 hiphop band and 1 DJ who mainly played old school 80s hiphop.
The set was mainly the same than the previous days, except we didn't get any freestyle (I think because of the crappy sound system). Yes, even on a small PA, Techno Animal plays loud, lots of bass, lots of extreme frequencies, and yes, the hiphop crowd who was mainly there for the other bands was very surprised if not disturbed. Justin and Kevin are really into the music, very concentrated on sounds and effects (and they both wear baseball caps, I think to get some kind of isolation? or protection?). They played around 45 min and ended up with some problems with the equipment, so no freestyle and the next band started to play right away.
It was the last gig of the tour, and they were both a bit pissed that it was such in a small place with bad conditions (when they told us the gig a few days before in LA, at the knitting factory sounded great with a good crowd in a nice club). Even more sad, when you know it was Justin's birthday..."
29th September, 2001 - Elektrowerkz, London
By: Catherine Yates (Kerrang Magazine)
Rating: KKKK (4 out of 5)
"Veteran noiseniks continue to push the sonic envelope.
You have to admire someone who lives by the maxim that all music should be one big, fat, dirty f**k, as true hump-tastic passion and energy are all too often absent from today's music. But then Kevin Martin is hardly a follower of convention. This, after all, is a man who was once the lynchpin of an 11-piece outfit called God, who boasted several bass players and drummers and produced music that was akin to having your head held in a blast furnace.
Techno Animal (Martin and his partner, Godflesh mainman Justin Broadrick) have been releasing music without frontiers for the past decade. But it's only with their recent release, the hip-hop infected Brotherhood of the Bomb, that they've truly grown into their name. All the sounds generated are machine produced, yet the brooding dub rhythms, caustic beat distortion, and pulsing low-end grooves are all forced into one unholy, primal unison that will have you thinking more of sweating blood than samplers. Let this pulverising monster loose on any rock club soundsystem and watch the Crazy Town fans dribble onto their keychains.
So it's appropriately innappropriate that tonight's gig is at the Elektrowerkz, host to London's premier Goth club the Slimelight. It's an alien enough environment for them without the addition of their guest MC, who can safely count himself to be the sole person sporting an afro in the entire building. Bet as the set unfurls, the sea of plastic hair bobbing enthusiastically is an enlightening sight. The best moment comes with Hypertension - an eerie onslaught with slowed-down sludgy crawl - while the voodoo throb of Dead Man's Curse manages to be both heavier and groovier than anything else. Next time join them. They've only been waiting 10 years.