Year in Ears 2014 #2

Best Show You Did Not Expect But You Deserved

February 6, 2014
Man Forever
The Night Light, Oakland

After seeing a couple rapturous editions of John Colpitts’ creativity at All Tomorrow’s Parties (Oneida) and the Thrill Jockey celebration, and stupidly thinking I understood it all, this under-attended show surprised me with its generative sonic and visual strategies. With each pulsing iteration (three drummers, one performative projectionist) an old idea about Man Forever departed my head and a new one entered, until I felt I was little more than a contraption for the circulatory system of all that sound.

Year in Ears 2014 #1

Best Show to See After You Just Played an 8-Hour Show qith a Shamanic Korean Performance Artist

January 18, 2014
Surplus 1980 and Vacuum Tree Head
The Night Light, Oakland

It’s true. I hired (at that moment not evil, just expensive and incredibly utilitarian) Uber SUV to bring me, my electronics, a classroom phonograph, my cymbals, several flowerpots, all my mallets, a craptastic student violin bow, an accordion, a flea-market electric guitar, an amp, an ample hand truck and, I think, a 6×9 area rug from a transcendent, durational performance at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to the Night Light where I loaded it all in to another car in broad nightlight in front of the Night Light, climbed the stairs and heard the dulcet tones of these two god damn bands in the warm embrace of a hundred god damn friends, many of whom I had not seen since the last Vacuum Tree Head show which I want to say was in the former E.G.Y.P.T. Theater on Foothill Boulevard (or the first Oakland Metro within spitting distance, or the last Heinz Afterworld edition at Merchants within… hurling distance) one hundred million years ago. More than a night of nostalgia, math and fellowship, it was a moment where an eclectic group of dare I say thinking fellers startled the management again by turning out en masse to hop and sing along to the beehive of notes.

Who are these people? the door guy shouted at me.