Monthly Archives: November 2010

Einsturzende Neubauten live at Estragon, Bologna, Italy

Neubauten and myself have been missing each other by days for years. They don’t play in the States that often and every time they played in a European city I was visiting it would be either the week before or the week after my visit. This time finally the stars aligned! I happened to be in Italy on tour with Zorn the same week Neubauten were coming through and their only italian concert(s) were at the Estragon in Bologna so I got tickets for the first night and went. Oh boy what a show!

Being this Neubauten’s 30 year anniversary tour they really went all out and played for a staggering 3 hours! The current line up includes 2 percussionist (N.U. Unruh being one of them), a keyboard/sampler player, a guitarist (Jochen Arbeit) and of course Hacke on bass and Blixa on vocals. The six of them played songs from their entire discography to a packed audience of about 2000 souls. Needless to say the classics made the crowd go wild and the visual impact of what was happening on stage was overwhelming. You just simply can’t find another band today that has the type of sound they do and that does it all live. Their research for weird sounds and objects is amazingly creative and unique: who else would think of using a vinyl record mounted on the screw gun and amplified with a paper cup? or the tight and extended spring that when hit sounds like an electronic kick drum? or a bucket full of nails and scrap metal that is slowly emptied from a height of more than 6 feet creating a rain of metallic objects? To think that they’ve been doing this since 1980 is just mind-boggling!

Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the second show the following night but I’ve heard from people who went that it consisted in a shorter Neubauten set followed by a few sets of side projects by some EN members. Dulcis in fundus, the band then distributed about 200 drum sticks to the crowd and rolled out moving drum stations so that all attendees could participate in a noise-making hitting fest. Pretty amazing idea and great ending. Too bad I missed that.
Einsturzende Neubauten is still touring so I highly recommend that you go see them if you can. They should be in the States right about now in fact and I know they will be playing two gigs (one already sold out) in New York City on Dec 14 and 15.

Here’s some more pictures by a local photographer Elena Sartorari.

There’s also plenty of videos of the concert on YouTube.

Sao Paulo Brazil city of parties and contraddictions

I spent four days in Sao Paulo working with Lou Reed and in the weekend I’ve been here Paul McCartney, Smashing Pumpkins, Scissor Sisters, Pavement and others were playing in different venues across this megalopolis. Next week Jeff Beck, Twisted Sister, Stone Temple Pilots and more. In my hotel a copy of Time Out Sao Paulo with tons of suggestions on things to do.
I must say I am impressed. Is there really always this much going on here? Or none of the promoters are smart enough to plan around each other and end up overlapping all the major festivals in the course of a few weeks? And how many Paulistas can afford a $400 ticket to McCartney anyway? Obviously enough to sell out two nights in an arena… But is that really a good representation of Sao Paulo?
Even downtown at night cars don’t stop at intersections for fear of being mugged while idling the engine at a red light.
And in the morning the skies are filled with helicopters of rich people going to work and dropping their children off on the roofs of their private schools…
Walking around looking for a bar to have a drink in after a concert is almost impossible in the neighborhood of our hotel where every venue has an ongoing party with a cover
charge between $50 and $100. Parties everywhere!
I feel bad I didn’t get to see live music places like O Do Borogodo in Vila Madalena/Pinheros or their East Village (Rua Augusta)…
City of contradictions, even more so than New York, which for the first time ever felt small in comparison.
Still, NYC rules above all!

Back out on the road again with Lou Reed – off to Brazil…

Got back from Zorn’s gig in Milan two nights ago and after just one day at home (which I spent working in the studio on a soundtrack for a film called “Addiction Incorporated”) I’m back on the road again heading to JFK airport to fly to Brazil with Lou Reed for two gigs in Sao Paulo.
Looking forward to the gig but less so to the 9 hour red-eye.
I just hope that this time Brazil will treat me better than last time I was there when I was robbed of everything and had to spend time and money to get emergency papers to be able to get back home.

John Zorn’s Masada Marathon in Milan was phenomenal

Milan was a total blast!
Although it ain’t easy to mix 12 bands in one evening and deal with 11 stage changes and 60 channels of continuously changing audio with dynamics that range from classical strings solos to seven piece metal bands, but such is the incredible variety of Zorn’s body of work and honestly it is right up my alley. I love his music and all the variety so much that doing a show like this goes by very quickly and I enjoy every minute of it really!
Can’t wait for the next one.
Here’s two pics of the stage at its least mic-busy and least people-crowded moment.

about to hit the road (ie the air) with John Zorn and 50 reasons to come back to NYC

In less than 5 hours I’ll be sitting in a big bird on my way to the old continent for a big John Zorn Masada Marathon festival. It’s going to be a phenomenal concert in Milan, with 12 bands in a row (Masada Quartet, Sylvie Curvosier & Mark Feldman duo, Cyro Baptista’s new band Banquet of the Spirits, the acappella quartet Mycale, Medeski Martin & Wood, Bar Kokhba, The Dreamers, Erik Friedlander solo, Bester Quartet, New Klezmer trio, Masada String Trio, Electric Masada).

Doing Front of House sound for such a gigantic concert is obviously no easy task (12 bands, 15 minutes each, 11 quick stage changes, 60 channels of audio on the board) but I am really looking forward to doing it and I have a blast every time. Except for MMW and Bester Quartet I have done sound for all of these cats before so I know it’s gonna be a killer show.

I love going on the road to do these shows but I love being in NYC as well and I love NYC with all my heart… If you love (or hate) NYC you should read this article I was just sent called “50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City”. It’s pretty hilarious, let me know what you think: