Tag Archives: the rave

I’m still picking up pieces of my brain off the ground from the Kraftwerk show. Luckily I have photos of the first two minutes: people waiting around got their first vision of Kraftwerk through the curtain. These giant shadows of human beings against a red light, for “Man Machine.” And the wall behind them said it too: Human. Being. Then, DING!!! They turned into German maschines and I dont know what went on after that.

Waiting for Kraftwerk






Kraftwerk maschine

Hah. Okay, I keed, I keed. People complain about the Rave all the time (I paid $20 for parking!), but the Eagles Ballroom was a great venue for Kraftwerk. Their sound filled up the gigantic room, and there was tons of space to move around and dance, even though not a lot of people did. But maybe the audience was more into watching four dudes fiddle with their computer knobs than letting loose. Which was still fine, because I pretty much danced my ass off.

Not that people DIDN’T enjoy the show — everyone’s mouth was hanging open during the performance, which was a light show unlike any other. (Well, maybe just three others — the only other shows Kraftwerk scheduled on this U.S. tour were in Minneapolis, Denver and Coachella.)

The projection behind the four men just standing over their computers (‘oh my god, a Microsoft convention,” said a friend of mine, upon seeing pictures) turned into a meta-modern spectacle through visual projections and realistic sound.

Here’s bits and pieces of what I DO remember after Man-Machine: “Autobahn,” introduced by the sound of cars roaring, made me feel like I was going to get run over. While performing “Vitamin,” a projection of hundreds of gigantic pills, floating down the stage, freaked out most people celebrating 420 in the audience. During “Tour De France,” there were bicycles everywhere.

Kraftwerk performed most of their de rigeur classics, such as “The Model” and “Radioactivity” and “Numbers.”

But it was “Trans Europe Express” and “Computer Love” (which Coldplay sampled for their hit “Talk”) that proved just how contemporary the band is, almost 30 years after they started synthesizing sound into danceable pop music. I may be wrong, but I also think that last night’s version of “Computer Love” re-integrated Chris Martin & Co.’s interpretation of the song into it.

The quartet played for an hour and a half before the curtain first closed. After the ballroom reverberated with applause, loud cheers and stomping, “Robots” blared out of the speakers…and instead of four men, robots were standing above Kraftwerk’s consoles.

After the song, the group came back on stage in glow-in-the-dark, electronic body suits. Everything else on stage was lit purple — it was like a neo-Mod Willy Wonka show. They finished their set with “Music Non Stop.” I’m still not over it — I’m hearing bleeps and beats in my head while typing right now.

Last Monday I saw Polysics and Do Make Say Think perform on the same night. Polysics was opening the MySpace Music Tour at the Rave, and while there were reports of heads exploding at their live shows, I saw nothing of the sort.

I did see and hear a lot of bad-assity going on. Wearing orange jumpsuits and rectangular shades, Polysics barraged the audience with the kind of old-school energy that could only be channeled direct from David Lee Roth. It was theatrical yet fun, and the group headbanged and did rockstar poses with impunity. They don’t really speak English, but the lead singer was great at saying, “Hello Milwaukee! We’re Polysics from Tokyo, Japan!!!” while windmilling his guitar.

It’s a shame that they were opening that tour — they deserve their own orange-colored jet with black windows flying them around shows, or maybe a performance in the middle of the ocean. Or, at the very least, their own cartoon series on Adult Swim.

While the Rave was being overrun by emo teenagers, I headed over to Stonefly in Riverwest, where part of my favorite band in the world was performing. Members of Do Make Say Think are in the Toronto collective Broken Social Scene, and aside from being a fan of all the side projects (Feist, Metric, Kevin Drew and DMST), I also love seeing how individual members of BSS create work outside of the band that made them famous, and how their creative processes carve totally different paths.

The seven-piece seemed a little crowded on the Stonefly stage, but the melodies and movements of “You, You’re a History in Rust” shone through. That same night, Bright Eyes was playing at the Pabst, but there was still a decent crowd. Head honcho Charles Spearin said the last time he was in MIlwaukee was nine years ago; “a lot has changed since then.” I think he was referring to how much cooler Milwaukee is now. Every time I listen to a DMST song, I try to guess how many musical layers are in the song and what instruments they used — it’s a little game I play with myself. So it was really interesting to see a band who makes such powerful and yet delicate songs work everything out live.

The cigarette smoke in the bar was a little tortuous, though. I chatted a bit with Amit Dahan, their tour manager. He mentioned that the smoke inside the venue was difficult for members of the band as well. While talking I realized he was the guy who had written an awesome series on touring with BSS and DMST last year. He also helped me take photos of the band, which was great, because I only had a gigantic lens from photographing Polysics at a bigger venue.
It was evident that DMST is a musician’s band; I saw members of Collections of Colonies of Bees at the show, as well as members of Brief Candles.

the gig 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22
genre Technicolor pogo punk
where The Rave, 2401W. Wisconsin Ave.,
how much $20.

Milwaukee appearances by bands such as Polysics � celebrated dance-punksters and Japan�s answer to Devo � are few and far between, so heading to The Rave for the MySpace tour would be totally worth it, regardless of who is co-headlining tonight (Say Anything and Hello Goodbye).

The band calls itself Japanese new wave (a.k.a. �technicolor pogo punk�) and sings in Japanese, English or space language (more on that later). They also wear crazy outfits; playing live, they�re equivalent to a truckload of Red Bulls.

The band doesn�t speak English, so its publicists put together a bunch of questions for singer Hiroyuki Hayashi and translated the answers for us fans of sweaty, jump-up-and-down music.

Q: How did Polysics form?
I was watching Devo�s music video clips when I was a high school student, and I was shocked by it. That impact totally overturned the values of music I had been listening to until then, and the experience was that much strong. Devo was dressed in matching yellow jumpsuits, moving around the stage looking like broken robots, and shouting a crazy cover of �Satisfaction� by the Rolling Stones in a mechanical motion, and I thought it was much more punk than just acting like a gang by greasing one�s hair. �Oh my god, this is the new wave punk!� I was so impressed. And I thought, �I want to do new wave punk dressed in a jumpsuit like Devo!� That�s how I formed Polysics.

Q: It is clear that Devo was an inspiration, any others?
I think I was influenced mainly by the New Wave and Techno Pop in late 70�s – early 80�s. Other than that, XTC, Kraftwerk, Revilos, New Order, Gang of Four, Wire, Sparks, etc�Also, I think I am influenced by King Crimson, Yes, Deep Purple, Led zeppelin, etc, as well.

Q: Have you ever met Devo?
We went to Los Angeles in 2000 and visited Devo�s studio without making an appointment. Then we found all the Devo members there in the middle of recording, meaning we could meet everyone all at once! It was so nice of them to welcome us, and they even offered us Coca-Cola.
After that, we met them again at Summer Sonic 2003. Since then, they have come to our gigs in Los Angeles. And two years ago, their ex-drummer, Alan, came to see our year-end show in Japan!

Q: What is �Space Language�?
This is the language which is neither English, nor Japanese, but one which is impossible to be literalized (it’s) put out when we hear our own rhythms and electronic sounds in super large volume.

Q: Do you ever perform without sunglasses?
Yes. It was the gig at Seattle two years ago. We put the sunglasses and badges and stuff in a case at the backstage of the club in Olympia and left it there. (The live set in Seattle) went very good, but we were so embarrassed at first…Then we went back to Olympia to find the case � we found it safe!

Q: Is it hard to see with the sunglasses on?
Very hard. But I got used to it, as I�ve been wearing it for like 10 years.

Q: What was the inspiration behind covering �My Sharona?�
It was just a feeling. One day, we were preparing for the stage of a Japanese rock festival and talking like, �Hey, let�s do a cover song, the song that everyone knows and gets excited about.� We got two candidates � �Hotel California� and �My Sharona.� We just picked up the latter one by feeling. Polysics often does covers of various artists since we think we can show how our musical style is and how amusing it is by covering the other�s songs.

Q: What does Polysics mean?
The name of the synthesizer I bought first in high school days was Polysix made by Korg. The name was well-sounding, and I really liked it, so I named the band after it by changing its spelling.

Q: What are the top five artists you are listening to right now?
Foetus, Ministry (its early era), KMFDM, Genesis, Einsturzende Neubauten

Q: What is the biggest difference between Japanese and U.S. audiences?
U.S. audiences…their vigorousness, especially for those from West Coast! Sometimes they terrify me. (Laugh)

Q: What is your favorite American food?
Whopper sold by Burger King. We love it since it has so much meat and vegetables, making it so heavy! Since there are only a few Burger King stores in Japan, we eat it as much as possible when we go to the U.S.

A few weeks ago I spoke to Regina Spektor over the phone while she was in a Baltimore hotel room. It was a teeny little girl voice she spoke with, a far cry from the super strong projection of her voice during her live show at the Rave yesterday. (Read Justin Shady’s review later today.)

regina spektor wears a skirt and plays with her legs apart.

Anyway, she said that:

1. She always freaks out before her own concerts, even though the venues are always different. “Some shows are really connected and doesn�t matter where you are…It’s more of how much can you relax and be in the moment,” she said. Actually, “the freaking out happens prior to the show, once I start I feel really good usually.” She compared it to jumping out of an airplane, where “everything is perfect and everything is ecstatic. It has no logic.”

2. She is fluent only in English and Russian, even though she uses other languages in her songs. When she gets a feeling from language, she uses it as color, “In a very ignorant way. It’s sort of that way when you reference something but you’re not an expert,” she said.

So what language does she dream in? “I think it changes�it depends � when I’m speaking Russian, I think in Russian,” she said. Also, she has not written any songs in Russian. “I want to do it… I came to New York when I was 9 and a half from Russia. I�m a composite, not a true Russian…Maybe someday I will become more comfortable with it. English is how I express creativity, Russian is a home language with family and close friends�it’s more for life, not for art,” she said.

3. And then there are all those onomatopeic devices in her songs. “I love sounds,” she explained.
“I think a lot of it is just playing around. A lot of it comes out of necessity, like making beats because it�s only me and a piano, and it comes out of the arrangement needing other things. I end up doing things with my mouth. I don’t take anything that seriously, I love doing stuff and kind of reminding myself that it�s not that serious. It�s playful.”

4. She’s planning to tour until the end of November, then write a new album. “To write I need peace and quiet. (During a tour) lots of things are happening, and you’re using your energy towards something else.”

5. She thinks being named one of the hottest women in music is funny. “I definitely don�t think of myself that way, I’d nominate Karen O. She’s incredible.” Aside from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Spektor also listens to Gogol Bordello, the Arctic Monkeys and her support act Only Fun. “I’m all over the place music-wise,” she said.


Here’s the biggest reason I love Milwaukee: On Monday, I saw three awesome bands — Dappled Cities, Interpol (see lead singer Paul Banks’ photo above) and the Fratellis — in one night.

I shuttled to and from the Pabst Theater and the Rave to do so, but it wasn’t a hassle at all. No expensive parking to pay, no traffic, no sold-out crowds. Just pure, unadulterated musical bliss.

Dappled Cities (see photo below), whose album “Granddance” is one of the best I’ve heard this year, certainly was charming live. I don’t think Milwaukee crowds are normally that receptive to opening acts (especially since they played at 7:30 p.m.!), but the audience was amped enough to mill around the pit during their 30-minute set.


Afterward, I hustled over to the rave where Interpol was playing. I’ve seen Interpol live SIX times, which was why I chose to cover the Fratellis over Interpol. But Erika Bock (who was supposed to cover the show) wasn’t feeling well, so I figured it was a disservice to not go and see my ex-future husband, Paul Banks.

The thing about Interpol is, even though their sound hasn’t changed much through three albums, the band still produces excellent songs that stick in your head no matter what. They still perform intense live shows. There’s still something about them that gives people butterflies in their stomachs. And the light show at their concerts — which turn the members into dancing silhouettes — just adds to their mystique.

It was hot and muggy at the Rave, and it was so full that it took me a while to navigate through the crowd. The Rave was the smallest venue I’d ever seen Interpol in, so it gave me a goose-bumpy feeling of intense love to see the New Yorkers so close.

I never realized, for example, that Daniel Kessler plays so hard that his eyes are closed most of the time (see photo below). Or that Paul Banks has freckles and wears gold jewelry. Or that on Carlos D., a handlebar mustache is brooding and serious, unlike Colonel Sanders’.


After about 40 minutes and stellar selections from “Our Love to Admire” (they opened with “Pioneer To the Falls”), I figured I was going to get another chance to see Interpol this weekend at Lollapalooza. So I returned to the Pabst — but not before they played “Slow Hands” and “Obstacle 1” — two of my favorites from their previous albums.

While the Interpol crowd was rapt in attention (I saw more than one mouth hanging open throughout the show), by the time I got back to the fourth oldest theater in America, the Fratellis’ set was well into party mode, courtesy of the frat-boy-esque heavy crowd.

I got there at around 10 p.m., when the trio was playing “Henrietta,” their first single. Everyone was bouncing like mad around the pit or their chairs, and a few hooligans stage left would yell out the “doo-doo-doo” riff of the band’s hit, “Chelsea Dagger” IN BETWEEN EVERY SONG.

It got really annoying, especially since they did that during the opening acts’ sets as well. And the Fratellis obviously weren’t going to sing it until the very last possible moment. Still, it was helluva lot of fun til the very end. I was right too– “Chelsea Dagger” was the last song of the band’s encore. Booyah!