Boredoms 9/9/9


Here's a pic of the Bonnie Prince Billy Band, with Will's dome as shiny and majestic as ever. That's Cheyenne Mize in the middle: no words can describe the clarity of her voice, the sensuousness of her skin, the angelic eyes worthy of old-timey portraiture. The band was just fantastic, that is really what I think, and by the way, Jim White of Dirty Three is on drums, obscured in this pic by Ms. Mize's bum. The set ranged from earliest Palace (the opener was a long and loud, churning, qawwali-like rendition of "I was Drunk at the Pulpit") to the latest off Bonnie Prince's "Beware." Will and Cheyenne sang together like Johnny Cash and June Carter, eyeing each other just enough to suggest real tensions beyond the songs. Will's voice sometimes couldn't get over the band when the band got loud. When the band got loud and Will gestured and bugged his eyes and shook his head, it'd've been great to have heard more of a voice than my own singing along. Anyway, always awesome to see Mr. Oldham, always a memory lane of the last 15 years or so. 
What we have here is Sir Richard Bishop of The Sun City Girls, performing pretty much the entirety of his latest album. Sufi surf guitar. An absolute virtuoso. Controlled and precise and liable to free jazz at the drop of a fez. Not sure about the woman on the left with the two-tone hair. She and the rest of the backing band opened up and played evil-hippie drone rock. This was the fourth time I'd seen SRB or SCG in Philly. Always different: first time was SCG, the intact electric trio, at the Khyber in 2004 at a particularly trying time in my life -- they provided more than enough catharsis, opening with Radar 1941, the first song of theirs I'd heard (at a party at 3 am in 1995 in Austin, all lights off, it played over and over). Then SRB solo acoustic in the 50 person max side room of The Church. Then The Bishop Brothers, acoustic, playing all the greatest SCG hits. And this time SRB on electric.
Polvo! Back again after years in limbo. Better than ever. Opened with Fast Canoe! I once stood in line with Ash Bowie (guitarist on right) at CVS in Jamaica Plain, a Boston neighborhood, in 1997. There was some problem at the register. He was in front of me. I was buying toilet paper. I said, "You're Ash from Polvo, right?" We talked for ten minutes or so. After the show in Philadelphia this summer, we talked again and I asked if he remembered talking in line at CVS. He said he definitely remembered that CVS. I doubt he'll remember our conversation years from now. He asked what I thought about the new arrangements of some of the songs and some of the new lyrics. I said everything sounded awesome and I didn't notice the new arrangements or lyrics, that I never really came to Polvo for the lyrics, more for good ol' GTR action.

Ash's gtrs.

This is the stage before The Boredoms' show on September 9, 2009 in NYC. Nine drummers on 9/9/09. In the middle is a seven-necked guitar on a stand, next to another five-necked guitar, also on a stand. If you haven't heard about the first Boadrum show on July 7, 2007 by the Brooklyn Bridge, featuring 77 drummers, we highly recommend you watch this and get this
The show started and after a few incantations, the lead guy, Eye, sat at the empty ninth drum set as one of the two official Boredoms drummers was carried through the crowd. I'm not going to try to track down his name -- it's almost better for me that everyone remains nameless, it being such an ecstatic drum major-led marching band tribal purification ritual sort of event.
Here you can see Eye in the middle there addressing his drummer friend. Eye reminded me at times of a Japanese Bob Marley, shrieking, chanting, leaping, directing the drummers like James Brown, sometimes smiling and cupping their volume in his hand and turning it up and down. He also played the multi-necked guitars behind him, banging them with colored rods, especially on Super Going.
This is a particularly crappy iphone photo. Much better pics are here. This was one of one of the most intense, original, inventive, energetic, ecstatic, driving shows I've ever seen. Like the sound of serotonin. Solar-powered. Reminded me at times of Can, Terry Riley, Sun Ra, on and on. See them if you can.
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