lucio menegon | music•noise•art

Nottingham, heavily

July 22
Nottingham Coop, Madison, WI
Picture this: A gorgeous Italianate castle/villa perched on a large lake in the midst of sprawling modern university buildings. Expansive rooms filled with random couches and chairs in various states of decay, desks, nooks and crannies, filled with books, filth or notes, messages, threats and/or suggestions to other members of the cooperative. A large kitchen, a filthy bathroom with door graffiti expounding on the subject of eggs.

As we are a trio self contained, no PA needed, thank you, we decided to set up amongst this predetermined chaos, near the large stone fireplace in the main room. A room that felt heavy, restricted. One that had seen many things – like the accumulated energy of all the parties and shows that had gone on before (even Husker Du played here back in the day). We were happy to have this gig as all things coop apparently must be voted on and Jeremy, the gent who set up the show managed the politics in order to make this happen. Thanks Jeremy.

A very nice opening solo set was performed by Chris (part of the band following us) and featured some great textures produced on sax and mangled/processed/looped. From where i sat out on the porch, the sound was three dimensional, flying out the windows and ricocheting off surrounding buildings to where i lay staring at the sky. very nice.

We followed with a set destined to echo the agreed upon vibe of the room. Delicate, building, longer tones and pieces, punctuated by our usual dose of mayhem. David’s theater moment included a discussion of waking and having a vagina and wondering about the fate of his penis (and mine). The set was well received and the only disappointment was the failure to record the set – one for the gods as my friend Suki would say.

The Bastard Trio followed up with a great hard edged set of guitar, drums and sax – Jeremy’s guitar volume swells and a great bass/guitar low/hi end juxtaposition against Tim’s furious drumming and sheets of sound from Chris’ sax.

We finished the evening with a group collaboration that was fine and good, but a bit of a drop in creativity and energy and eventually evolving into several loud drumming duets between Tim and David. And then everyone sort of evaporated and the place was ours.

The Art of This

muerto scoreJuly 21
Minneapolis, MN @ The Art Of This. Great gig in a nice art space very near our host’s (la familia Porter) house! There were 30 or so people there – such a rarity to have such attendance at a new music concert – on a tuesday nite no less! George Cartwrights trio of fine players roared thru an hour of continuous improvising and we followed soon thereafter with our bursts of noise. Our sets have been morphing towards shorter pieces and we performed two @ under a minute length. The opening piece was a graphic score i came up with just before the set, titled ‘Muerto Corto’ intended to be fast and furious. And just so, it was. We followed with some longer bits and at some point did a piece intended to fit with in the confines of my point and shoot camera’s 30 sec video capability:

Drivin’ wheel

July 19-20
Driving. All about driving. We put in a long day of driving thru some gorgeous Montana mountain country, the rushing streams and the every-present Burlington Northern railway line on our side. We reached the lovely town of Bozeman, Montana, where we once again scored a nice hotel room on for a third of the advertised rate of $150. Crashed out and woke up refreshed, took an early morning jacuzzi and swim in the hotel pool and split for the local food coop where we filled up with healthy snacks for the long trip ahead.

After a lovely first few hours of driving along the Yellowstone river (spotted a Bald Eagle perched on a dead tree limb), we began the looooooong drive across the prairie lands of North Dakota. Stopped in Bismarck, ND for dinner at a ‘mexican’ cantina-style restaurant, during which a sudden hail storm accompanied by a freight train roaring right by the place drove everyone off the patio but us (we found the experience rather exhilarating…city folk, ya know). With the change to central time, the sky stayed light well into 10pm. took this video from the back of the van to commemorate it (with John Cage’s ‘Two Pieces & Two Pieces for Piano):

As we approached Fargo and our 11th hour in the van, we began the search for a motel only to find every one of them booked up. WTF?! Turns out large wind farms were being put up all over the area and the rooms were filled with construction workers. We finally found a dirtbag motel at a Flying J near Fargo and crashed hard. the next morning, we ventured into Fargo to say we’d been there, found a cafe with some wireless and then promptly got the hell out (as far as i’m concerned, the next ice age won’t come soon enough to scrape the place clean) and headed for our much anticipated gig in Minneapolis with George Cartwright (of Curlew).

Seattle x 2

July 18 Seattle WA
PHtour-5Been looking forward to this show playing with our friends in Pink Mountain and Eyes. Shortly after our arrival in Seattle, we met with the gang for a nice meal at Thai Tom in the U district and then proceeded to get lost trying to find the venue. Relying on GPS, we ended up in front of a nice house in a residential neighborhood. Turns out the address was NW 65th St not N 65th st, just a 1/2 mile down the same street, but amongst a small strip of buildings down the hill from the Phinney district. May I digress a moment? This GPS thing is wonderful, but you tend to lose your sense of place as it seems you are taking orders from a dispatcher who knows your every movement and change in direction and politely tells you what to do (our GPS, named Matilda speaks with an educated English accent). And when she melts down (like she did when we were on Bainbridge Island), you resort to asking the nice policeman for directions. I feel a little naked without an actual paper maps. AAA here we come.

Back to the point…So the venue was punk-squat-like and the nice creatures living there sort of wandered around the place very used to the hustle bustle of touring band load in and text messaging, moving about, etc.

We played a good set. I must say we are feeling like a band more than a collaboration and the sets are changing and developing new things. Of late shorter pieces. this night we did three: a scritchy-scratchy one, a mayhem loud one with much theatrics, screaming from Val and David (David’s extended theater moment including a discussion of lactating and a desire for breast milk ice cream) and a high-pitch whistley thing that finished with a Branca-like tension filled ‘big ending.’

Seattle Scream, Seattle, WA 7.18.09

Eyes rocked out a quick set and Pink Mountain kicked it all into high gear. Sadly, their set was cut short just as they were really grooving. The PA wasn’t very good and the vocalist for PM apparently wasn’t having a very good time and put and end to the evening early.

Headed back to the cool little bar at the end of the street called The Dray (why don’t we have any neat little corner pubs like this in Oakland???) with John Shiurba, listened to the bartenders consolidated life history and were soon joined by Gino Robair and Justin and Aaron from Eyes. Prehistoric Horse had decided to start the drive east immediately rather than deal with taking a ferry out to our hosts, The Snapp’s house and inevitably getting a late start. This strategy paid off handsomely as we put in a solid four hour drive east to the outskirts of Spokane. the next two days are going to be all about driving…


Drake the writhingman, Eugene, OR

Drake the writhingman, Eugene, OR

July 15 Eugene, OR
The gig in Eugene was at the Jazz Station, a small publicly-funded art space on the main pedestrian drag. Our good friend Jeff Kaiser helped set up the show and he and local artist Sabrina Siegel opened the evening with a wild set, Sabrina using her voice and controlled-feedback-guitar-played -with-rocks (yes rocks) effectively against Jeff’s trumpet/voice and Max MSP sonic manipulations.

Our set was a crazy one, the first long piece going to some very interesting places and contained a entertaining David dialog – complete with a french accent – about ‘the stinky man’ (you take him home, you put him in your bed, you sleep with him). Our second, short piece took things further and came completely off the hook when one of the audience members hurled himself onto the floor and writhed around screaming with his t-shirt wrapped around his head. Seriously – audio evidence coming soon…

July 17 Portland, OR
After a sweaty, hot van stop and go traffic van ride from Seattle, we barely had time for the required Powell’s Books stop before heading over to our gig at a Portland New Music Society fundraiser. The venue was an upstairs room in an old brick artist loft warehouse. Which like many spaces like this excelled at retaining the days heat well into the evening.

We performed first and played a very good set with the usual longer first piece, but followed up with several shorter pieces as well for a forty minute set. Each of us had a great time performing and there were some very cool moments, but the vibe when we finished up felt really strange. Sort of like we played at a funeral. A couple of the musicians in the next act stopped by and complemented us, but for the most part the remainder of the 25 people there were rather stone-faced. Dunno, maybe the chaos we delivered wasn’t what they were expecting or up their alley. And the chaos: it included a water gargling bit by David and Valerie, an intense second piece with valerie singing out of a dictionary and of course, David’s spoken theater moment which revolved around the idea and statement that “I could have been a Rabbi’ It was very cool. Afterwards we headed down to Backspace to catch the last few songs by our Oakland friends in Pink Mountain – which was some crazy rocknroll mayhem for sure…

Prehistoric Horse tour blog

Random Notes:

PHtour-2Big Blue is our Tour van. He rocks. He has a cassette player and we have a stash of them to play. Of course, we have a iPods and CDs with one of those cassette converter dealies, but there is something about cassettes that rock. One is the vintage of the music and the other is the physicality of the format, you have to handle it in some way and that is cool. of course they take up some space, but hey – we can just listen and discard and buy more at thrift stores i suppose.

(The first two gigs of the tour were with the original PH quartet of David, Valerie, LM and John Hanes)

July 13 Albany, CA
The first at the Ivy room was sort of a chaotic mini-hoot, with guests Mr Dorgon and Laurie Amat. Different combinations of people collaborated to make some crazy sounds. Prehistoric Horse did play an actual set at some point and it was fairly chaotic.

July 14 Oakland, CA
The second gig @ Flux 53 space in Oakland was more in a format and style we originally coalesced around with a good sounding room (in this case a blackbox theater) to allow for more dynamics and acoustic/electric interaction. We played exactly twenty-one minutes and the set had plenty of dynamics and David’s theater as well. Afterwards, a member of the opening act turned down the invitation to do an encore group collaboration (something to do with a bruised and/or overinflated ego), but that was just as well as we needed to pack our things, get in the van and drive as far as we could that evening on the way to our next gig in Eugene, OR.