Weingarten Provides Noise, Dalmations in Glasses

Topher Weingarten runs a blog that features young puppies dressed up as hipsters.  So that’s fine.  He decided to put out a book of his best dawgs and subsequently threw a release party at Public Assembly last Wednesday.  He seems like a really cool, nice guy, but I’m not into exploited animals.  I figure if we cause creatures to lose their dignity, it should be for hamburgers.  What baited me for the party, however,  was his selection of performers: Burning Star Core, Mountains, and Zs!  So I succumbed to the hipster puppies trend, put black face on my miniature schnauzer, and headed over to the show.

Good news was that I was early, and the first 50 attendees received a free compilation tape, arranged by Weingarten himself.  Not bad, this guy obviously knew how to throw a party.

After the first (and most peculiar to the roster) band, Dinowalrus, finished their thesis on all the bad things rock music can do, C. Spencer Yeh took the stage as Burning Star Core.  As always, Yeh didn’t fail to astonish the room juxtaposing organic circular loops of violin and voice against more abstract layers of noisy circuitry.  The set brilliantly encompassed all the major signature elements of Burning Star Core, from the beautifully dissonant violin builds to the clattery free-jazz drum-glitch-and-squeal ramparts of noise jam to the always impressive vocal manipulations of Yeh’s renowned, multifaceted throat.

Following Burning Star Core was a performance by dreamy drone duo and Thrill Jockey labelmates, Mountains, who sat dutifully at their table of boards, pedals, and plugs, moving cables and knobs like telephone operators, except this incoming call was from another world!  God, I’m funny.  Mountains grew their layered sonic sustainments to massive volumes, rising over the chatty bar crowd and washing out all other distractions.  The trance-inducing set left the audience hypnotized, transcended, and thus vulnerable to the attack Zs had in store for us.

Zs is not necessarily a band of continuity as much as a band that just simply continues (a constant maturation with no looking back).  Putting aside the concepts and sound of their former stint with the New Slaves material, Zs has prepared themselves with an evolved identity for their upcoming Holy Trinity trilogy consisting of a double 7-inch, play-button, and a cassette titled Sky Burial that shared a debut with the costumed dogs book last night (it’s amazing).  The performance initiated a sparse and hyper-minimal improvisation that slowly escalated (and I do mean slowly) until a sudden and unexpected climax rang out for the finale, with Sam Hillmer’s sax ringing under the immense, thunderous percussion of Ian Antonio and the 5-handed finger tapped arpeggios of Ben Greenberg.  The set ended with the entire room in awe, having learned that sometimes trendy blogs can do a lot of good for this world.

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