Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Caldera Lakes and Sonic Youth @ The Ogden Theatre 10/4/10

Someone told me that you only have a couple of life changing experiences. I gone though a lot, seen a bunch of concerts, done some crazy stuff, but I have never in my life seen something as morally satisfying as this. It is hard to scrape all the words off of the floor of my brain and try to make an accurate description of all of the noise that went on. Despite this, I will write a review that will do the bands that I seen on Monday justice and to give you a taste of what I felt on that evening In order to tell you how great everything is, I had to write a lot. If you thought my last concert review was long, call this one a novel.

So my Monday started with a E-mail from my friend "reminding me that there is this uber important gig later today. " I was still asleep kind of, so I just replied with a "Yeah, I'm covered, I can get there, I don't need a ride" sort of thing. After I got myself settled around how important (but not yet life-changing) concert would be, I got kind of excited for what was to come later in the day.

I was going to invite some of my wonderful friends that would have a "mild" interest in what was about to be thrown at the world, but as always, they declined. So, having an extra ticket with me, I brought my Mom with me. Why would I let a ticket with this much potential go to waste? Plus my Mom wanted to go ever since I bought the tickets as a late birthday gift to myself. My friend brought some friends of theirs, but I'll get into that later.

When I got home and did some of my homework, I left around 7'oclock and arrived at 7:30 ish so I could get some "prime seats" (or in my case, "prime standing area") Some nice older (well not that old, like 40 ish)  flagged me and my Mom down and said "Come up here, its kind of  elevated so you can see everything when they start to pack in  here". He was right. I'm glad  that I moved. After some mindless chatter with my Mom, the lights dimmed and the opening act came on.

Caldera Lakes
Crater lakes (or Caldera Lakes, whatever floats your boat) are pretty awesome (If you don't know what one is then here is some info). Crater lakes sound pretty awesome in an experimental kind of way. They were in fact so loud yesterday that I couldn't even find two similar bands in the band lexicon index in my brain. That my friend, is epic. So while I was thinking about this today, I made this analogy in my brain: "Caldera Lakes sound like what would happen if the Cocteau Twins had a run in with Bjork in Icelandic tundra with that annoying volcano doing what volcano do in the background."  Caldera lakes has two members whose names that I don't remember right now, despite that, they picked their instrument weapons wisely; a "homemade" mixing board kinda thing, and a microphone.  It is fresh, it is new, and I think that I see a trend starting to take place in Denver which is not quite the traditional experimental sound (if there is such a thing) that we are all used to. Caldera Lakes is half local (one member is from Denver, one from Portland) making them even more awesome.

When they unleashed their madness after the introduction "Hi, we are Caldera Lakes" then the Pandora's box of noise opened for all of us to enjoy. I was right in front of the speaker, and I can tell you that there was a wind, yes a wind blowing from the speaker. With every loud speaker vibration came a loud gust of wind. I have never felt music in that way. Ever.  Congratulations Caldera Lakes, you are the loudest band that I have ever heard. You beat out Sonic Youth, and I'm sure that you might have beat My Bloody Valentine if I have not would have been sick whilst they were here. I enjoyed the opening act, and I'm sure with a little more practice, Caldera Lakes can be even that much better. I want to see more of this band, and I hope that they will play some more around town. I'll be sure to go.

After this, then there was a break between things and I  tried so hard to talk to those people that I were about to invite, but some of them weren't answering there phone. In despair, I then broke out my camera on my android powered device (my phone for all you non techies out there) and started to take some test shots of the stage and everything. They didn't look too swell at the beginning, but I got used to the hitting the camera button on my phone (FYI, I'm like a vampire, I hate getting my picture taken. No, I don't sparkle...). By this time, the guitar and stage techs were getting everything set up and ready. I thought it would be a good time to take a tester picture.

From The Sound Collection

I kept checking my phone and was just trying to kill time and get my excitement under control before the gig started.  I kind of just stood there for 10  minutes just watching the rodies or whoever they were, tune the guitars and plug them in.  I guess my Mom heard all of my Sonic Youth rambling and correctly identified  a Jaguar Guitar.

"Hey, is that a Fender Jaguar?"
"Yeah, I think so, It sure looks like one."
"So is it one?"
"It could be a Jazzmaster, I can't see the pickups."
"Is that how you tell?"
"Well, yes and no."
"Well what kind of guitar is it?"
"For your sake, its a Jaguar."
"Ok :)"

So while the sound check thing was going on, I did my routine eavesdropping on people that were around me. This one was kind of funny.
"Dude, we have the same type of hat on."
"Yeah! High 5!"
"So I listened to all of the Sonic Youth albums that I could and I sure hope they don't play all of The Eternal"
"Why man? At least they are playing it live."
"If I wanted to hear Sonic Youth play all of The Eternal, then I could have just listened to all of it at home"
"On what, your Stereo?"
"You know it."

I then looked around the crowd for a while. Like every other concert that I went to so far, the crowd make up is a good mix of Hipsters, Punks, and the "Hey, I just walked through the door, I have no idea who or what this band is" people.  It was still kind of early when I looked around at the crowd population, but it was still the same when things got a little crazy later.  Here is a picture of what things looked liked.

From The Sound Collection

At this point, I was thinking "What are those "things that look like paintings" in the back of the stage? Must be art or somethin'" I didn't feel like thinking, so I looked at the mini bar that I was standing next to. I thought of the list of the songs that I wanted them to play and it looked like this.

  •  Bubblegum
  • Doctor's Orders
  • Beecuz (with the extra feedback!!)
  • Washing Machine
  • Waist
  • Total Trash (!!!)
  •  Kissability
  • Diamond Sea. (The ultimate encore song...Its already like 19 minutes...)

After I got done looking at the prices of drinks at the mini bar, my friend and their friends showed up.  At this point I was kind of tired from staying up for 15 hours straight, so I busted out the always classy, always formal "Nice to meet you." and to top it all off, I put a pretty ganster handshake to put the icing on the cake.  They looked pretty cool, but I have a feeling that they were darkwavers in the 80's. Who would want to wear a blazer jacket to a gig other than a darkwaver? (just saying, just saying..) They got there just in time because right at 9:00 things started to get crazy.

Sonic Youth.

The lights dimmed, and there was a pause. Nothing happened. People started to clap and then a bright blue light shined down on the stage, just like we all hoped. Sonic Youth took the stage, and we all couldn't wait for things to get down. The band put on their guitars (or picked up their drumstick, or whatever) and after 4 count down clicks, Bull in the Heather started the crazy trip of noise. I had my eyes locked on the stage and the background wasn't helping me any. Sonic Youth was genius with that background let me tell you. At first, it was black, then it changed colors when something exciting happened, like when the symbols crashed at the right moment, or when Kim did a slide thing on her bass. How did those lights know? Was the light dude a genius with light transitions?  I don't know. I do know that that song was pretty sick.

From The Sound Collection

(Come on, look at the lights on the drums, look at those lights. It was prefect.)

Honestly, I was semi-jumping so much, I just kind of forgot about the set list. But I can say that they played most of The Eternal, The good stuff off of Daydream Nation, Some classic EVOL tunes, one thing from Experimental Jet Set, and one from Sister. I just thought about what they played, and I came up with the "songs I know they played for sure" list. I want to say that this is the right order, but I disregarded the noise breaks.  My friend "went to go find some place better to stand by the stage" and I was all like "Ok."

Main Set

  • Bull in the Heather
  •  Sacred Trickster
  • What We Know
  • Poison Arrow
  • Antenna
  • Anti-Orgasm (Or in Thurston's words "The Anti-Tea Party song")
  • 'Cross the Breeze (They might have played this, I was however hopping to something like this)

Around this point my friend "went to go find some place better to stand by the stage" and I was all like "Ok."   Then I took a picture:
From The Sound Collection

  • Malibu Gas Station
  • No Way
  • Walkin' Blue (this is a maybe. They had a "noise bridge" and skippedthe opening)
  • Massage the History.

I'm pretty sure that the set list was done after Massage the History. Then they left the stage, the lights dimmed and it was over....We thought.  Not even a minute or so later, they were back on stage and busted out the first of 2 encores.

By the time they were back onstage for the second encore, my brain was on sonic overload. "How much more awesome can I take?" it said. I thought back "How 'bout two more encores?" We agreed (no, I don't have multiple personality disorder. How else can I illustrate my thinking pattern?) I'm trying to remember the first of the encores, but again I have an honest guess. Blame the awesomeness overload for making me forget

Encore One
Expressway to Your Skull with a longgg noise thing...  In short, it made me want to get closer to the stage.

 When they were done, my face was like this O_O. Out of nowhere, my friend said, "I found some good seats, want to move?" and with my dazed face I said "Yeaah... Sure O_0"
We all moved around this time to the "Tasty seats" weren't really seats at all and weren't really tasty. (hahah)  Anyway, all 5 of us, plus 10 more people were blocking the fire exit, for the left side of the theater. Not a very good idea dear readers. The good out of blocking a fire exit was getting prime real estate reeealy close to the stage. Like this close:

Encore Two
I was sooo close to the stage. The funny thing was that I was standing next to this dude who looked like Jamie From Mythbusters. He had the black hat, mustache, white button up shirt, and even that "meh" look on his face. If that wasn't him, than I must have been inhaling too much second hand "magic" smoke.

Encore Two was all about the  Trilogy songs. I know they sang The Wonder because Thurston's voice on this song was in like a totally different key than normal and the song was slower normal, but it worked out for the better. Then, they did that merge thing into the 2nd Trilogy song "Hyperstation". Then it got even slower, and slower, and slower, and slower...Into tasty slow melting goodness. Then again they left. 

"Hey man, I think they are done." 
"Naah, One more song. I know it."
"Oh your right"

Encore Three.
At this point everyone was screaming and clapping and stomping. They were just saying "thank you" without saying "Thank You". By this point, everyone in the band had that "Oh my god, its almost 11" on their face, but that didn't stop them from playing one last song, my personal favorite, "Shadow of a Doubt". I never knew this before, but according to Thurston, Sonic Youth first played this song in Austin Texas in like the 70's or 80's (can't remember, sorry).  At this point, I was holding back tears of joy because I couldn't have wished for a better concert. Did I cry? Of coarse not silly. I don't cry. 

When the song was over, they went into a "lets hold our guitar against the amp and let it ring for a while" outro. Thurston, Lee and Mark were doing the "re-verb and feedback" thing, Kim took off her guitar strap and swung her bass in a circle, and Steve just went quiet for awhile then got loud. Whatever they did, it made the concert complete. 

From The Sound Collection

The guitars were placed back by the amps, the drumsticks were taken and the band left the stage. But they waved as they left the stage. They keep looking at me too in that "We read your blog, we know about you, please blog about us" sort of way.  Even if they weren't they most likely played the best thing that I seen in my life. 

Yes, for those who wondering, that is how you put the word "Epic" into words.  

I have some videos that I took while I was there. If you want to see them, leave me a comment and I'll post them. Click here if you want to look at my 38 or so pictures that I took. 

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