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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

(05-24) HIGH PLACES /// DUSTIN WONG /// Robert A. Lowe aka LICHENS @ DC9 (dc)

Hell yeah, second week in a row that Witchmond reviews a DC show/// DC9 has been getting some great shows, they just need to get up off the ground because both shows that I've attended there weren't very crowded. They have been slowly renovating, and it seemed to me that it was a new location BUT I asked the guy at the door how long the venue had been around and he said about 5 years, so maybe it's just recently been invigorated. Regardless I think its on its way to be one of the good spots for music in the city of DC.
LICHENS (aka Robert A. Lowe)

Robert Lowe is a member of 90 DAY MEN and has also collaborated on tour with the CASTANETS. LICHENS is his solo manifestation where he drives himself to experiment. For this performance he used a rack unit, I think it was some sort of oscillating synthesizer. He used this basically as his iron lung to let his vocal improv breath. The drone and heartbeat of his synth was very minimal and consistent and it served as a bed for his insanely bizarre but otherworldly beautiful vocals. This guy seriously has some awesome singing. During his performance he puts so much concentration into what he's doing, at times I saw some sort of deranged spiritual monk chanting curses at me. He was so invested in his craft that once he finished his set it took him half a minute to get fully back into reality. Which is awesome to watch.

Patrick Smith Projections + Lichens at Thirty Days NY from Thirty Days NY on Vimeo.

Dustin Wong

As a member of Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine I had me some high hopes for this guy. His set which was a frenzy of precision did not let me down. He was a master of his minimal set up /// one man, one guitar, and a dozen FX pedals. It was awesome to behold him constructing layers of melody and finding the right tones to use. His performance relied heavy on looping but he was able to move from one stage to the next in an extremely fluid manner. Although I'm partial to his work in Ponytail, the solo set he put on was damn fine. I definitely had to buy myself one of these tapes...
47 minutes of delicately places notes entitled LET IT GO. This is his second release on the label WTRCLR /// AND you should
BUY THE TAPE !!! It's really fun, some of the songs in the release have awesome percussion and a variety of other elements that aren't found in his live setting. I'm excited to see what his next move is.


The finale of the night. It was insane to see more music after two such intense openers, even Rob from High Places himself while onstage said he shouldn't be allowed to sing after Robert A. Lowe and shouldn't be allowed to play guitar after Dustin Wong either! Speaking of guitar, when did I miss the memo that said High Places had guitar in they're live show. For some reason or another I was expecting just Rob playing drum pad and sampler and Mary with spooky vocals. Doesn't really matter because it ended up sounding good, It added a loud wash into the mix that I really dug. Double guitar with loud ass shaking beats makes for a fun equation. They started the night with their most recent material coming from the record HIGH PLACES vs. MANKIND (which is coming out on Thrill Jockey!). The second song on the record was one of their beginning few "On Giving Up" I see as the spearheading song in the direction they're going. Definitely more of rock feel on this song and many on the new album than of the latter in their career. Nearing the end of the set they started playing some more familiar tunes like "Golden" and "FSTS"(that song in particular was phenomenal). The layers of percussive sound are mesmerising and remind me of a pop version of the composer Lukas Ligeti I saw at The Bridge PAI a few months back. My favorite part of High Places has to be the rhythm that sounds like its being created underwater, hopefully they don't stray too far from their roots. Although for me the show started out awkward /// ultimately it was a success. If you ever have the chance to catch them, do so, they are doing something awesome and different.




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