Between jams Mouthus discuss the merits of the new Young Jeezy album
Ateleia + Kites + Mouthus
Tonic, July 28
There are certain restaurants, comedians, and East Village prostitutes I feel the same way about, but for whatever reason: I insist on frequenting noisy laptop shows, knowing exactly the “this blows my mind” then “this blows” trajectory most take, then inevitably spend the next 24 hours barking bout how boring and blowy and un-noisy they were. This isn’t sadomasochism, nor is it optimism or even federalism. Really I’m just anxious to put an end to all the lazy “he’s checking his email!” riffs out the peanut gallery, and replace them with the infinitely lazier “he’s playing Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing!” raffs out cashew corner.
Ateleia and Kites were no different, unfortunately, except that Kites’s laptop isn’t so much a laptop as a box with buttons on it (a Dell? ya burnt), and actually: Kites’s birth-the-machine, kill-the-machine, bury-the-machine shtick–metal screams alternately primal, tribal, and funeral–had a nice arc to it. He even managed to swing a microphone into a light fixture at one point, the set’s unintended climax and that rare chance to scream BROKEN GLASS, EVERYWHERE and not have the barstool dude in the big t-shirt and flip-flops grimace. And know what, Ateleia’s endless summer routine worked fine too. He knows the old grade school memorization mantra: You remember the first third of a list best, the last third second-best, and the middle third you’re just gonna have to find some way to cheat. Ateleia cheats with beats; Kites does chinese water torture.
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Is there anything more boring than a laptop show? Boring in the same “wait, this isn’t as awesome as I thought it was going to be” way? Here are some things I’ve thought of:
-50 Cent rapping to John Cage
-A roundtable discussion with the guys from Smashmouth
–Clap Your Hands Say Yeah clapping hands, saying yeah, but never doing both at the same time
-A Carrottop DJ set that’s just Carrottop playing MP3 clips of himself performing prop comedy
-Keith Fullerton Whitman shitting
-The Killers writing a song about labor laws
-Sufjan Stevens rapping
-John Vanderslice bleaching his hair to the music of John Vanderslice
-Aphex Twin Unplugged
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After that siamese mindfuck-not-mindfuck (which took forever to get started but whatever–“art”) came Mouthus, who are essentially a heavy metal band that’s all metal, no riffs. Last night they didn’t have vocals either, which sent the guitarist/guitar-wearer into an undeserved high profile tantrum. Alarming, because his mic worked, but not through his maze of effects pedals. Now let’s be nice, but I’d be pretty bummed about myself if my entire act depended on a fucking echo box.
After tooling around for thirty minutes Mouthus remembered they didn’t actually give a shit, and slushed through muddy no-wave rants that took way too much energy and concentration to play given their relatively prick sobriety. At their best though, Mouthus stumble into pulsing raga-like grooves, more transfixing with every repetition, and I mean that in the most hackneyed, under seven-minute way possible. The last song, for which they brought up I think her name was Ali? (the guitarist yelled “Ali, get your ass up here” into the mic, and it echoed until she arrived on-stage), was a bit scene-y (hey Brooklyn, enough with the echo box already) but pretty undeniable.