06 December 2011

Endnote to the Previous

And since I'll take any excuse to post music videos however I can get it...

About seven years ago, I happened to attend both the Best and the Worst Show I've Ever Been To within a couple of weeks of each other. Both shows were at the same venue in Baltimore, and both involved established and highly venerated acts of a certain vintage and pedigree. The Worst happened to be finally getting to see The Fall, who I'd long loved; but about the show perhaps the less said the better, because it proved to be one of the most dismal, pointless, and disappointing things I've ever witnessed. (And judging from some of the audience that night, I was far from being the only person there to think so).

But I rebounded just a few weeks later when I first had a chance to see The Ex. It was the exact opposite experience of The Fall show. The Ex played with abandon that night, with a rare degree of sharply-honed energy, passion, and ferocity. Inasmuch as I could ever say I'd seen a band that nearly "blew the roof off the place," it was that show. And I was able to see them a couple more times in Chicago in the years that followed. First was at the Empty Bottle, where the the place was the fullest I'd ever seen it, with the audience wall-to-wall, cheek-to-jowl.

Roughly some eighteen months later, they came through town again; this time bringing with them Ethiopian saxophonist Getachew Mekuria, with whom they'd just recorded an album. I'd just conducted a correspondence interview with guitarist Andy Moor for a Chicago online publication I contributed to, and he'd been most generous with his answers. The venue was larger this time, and the crowd was a little thinner than before, but it definitely more "mixed." About a quarter-to-third of those attending came from the local Ethiopian population. Most of whom danced throughout, though I don't recall seeing anything quite so ecstatic as what appears in the first clip.

And getting to see, at about the same time, Konono No. 1 perform was also pretty great.


Mr. Kasper said...

I thought Konon No. 1 were disappointing live. Kind of 'meh' like they just wanted to get the job over with - short show too. But maybe it was just the venue/stage of the tour. Although we did agree they'd probably be great at an outdoor festival.

Greyhoos said...

Yeah, maybe you caught 'em on a bad date. Time I saw 'em, they played a full set with no opening act. Only complaint I had was being constantly jostled and whacked by hippies type doing that very annoying (and very white) type of freestyle dancing that they do.

David W. Kasper said...

Funny - it was a smallish crowd of middle-aged Wire-reading types when I saw 'em here. So not much dancing at all!

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