Friday, May 30, 2008

Cluster / Tussle @ GAMH, San Francisco, May 25, 2008

I saw support band Tussle. They play synths, bass + synths, drums, drums. It made me optimistic to see two drummers after seeing the Boredoms with three. They play a bit of synth noodling then the two drummers and bassist lock into a motorik groove. Pretty simple but it works for me. During the whole gig there were images projected on the bands and stage. There were fractals and hexagons, and vintage video games, and more and more semi-psychedelic images. There were no vocals and the band didn't say a word. They had a bit of a post punk feel (that's a good thing). I thought of Delta 5 and Shriekback - both bands who featured a lot of bass. I liked Tussle.

You can see in the poster above that Cluster used to have lots of nice piles of analog equipment. Now all that they need is easily laid out on two tables. In the interval I wander to the front and watch the setup. It takes me a while to realize that neither guy has a laptop, which is strange, even guitar bands have laptops nowadays.

Eventually the duo wanders on. They don't look at each other, but each sits at his table. Hans-Joachim Roedelius has a keyboard, some CD players, and a glass of wine. He sits on a bar stool. Dieter Moebius has some boxes with knobs on. He perches on a flight case. The sounds are ambient and gentle. Things change slowly. It is nice, but I wish for the motorik groove. I'm glad I'm right at the front so I know I'm not missing anything. I can see when they tap their feet. The sound cuts out for a second and Moebius glances across sheepishly; Roedelius is looking away. After 25 minutes there's a pause. Roedelius has a drink and raises his glass. There's quite a murmur behind me, I think there are quite a few conversations going on. Many people are intent on videoing or photographing the performance. Sometimes I wonder what is the point of live performances. Cluster are very serious and they are definitely making decisions that affect the music all the time. After a while I go home. I'm glad I went.

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