I'm beginning to like the Charleston... maybe it's the rules posted in capital letters on their myspace page:
5. WE ARE A DIY VENUE, RESPECT AND UNDERSTAND WE CAN GET SHUT DOWN FOR BEING TOO LOUD and/or STUPID.
7. DON'T BE STUPID.
What's rule #6 you ask?
Bands drink draft beer for $3...really just a guideline...but it makes sense after you drink the cheap beer, reread rule #7.
I have to say I never really went to see anyone there before, let alone go in there period. It's right off the L and probably annoying every Friday and Saturday...good for them, they get everyone passing by...and have free pizza with every drink.
But the downstairs is a different story...the typical basement..move the kegs to the side, set up some half benches, throw in some stools and you have the best venue for a band like Los Llamarada. I saw they were playing Cakeshop and Maxwells, but this would be the place to go in the middle of the week to see what that no-fi rock was all about.
I made it just as hank IV was ending their set and a ton of people were exiting...I ended up picking up the single before the lead singer made his way upstairs.
Finally Los Llamarada was up, having just come from a show in Ohio the night before. It was like some kind of seance, or fringe church in a basement...the avant guard church. The lights are bare bulbs, concrete walls. It wasn't overwhelming in volume, but the performance is mesmerizing.
What sounded like a soundcheck, all fills and feedback slowly worked it's way into the first song. Primarily everything is grounded in a typical beat and then a lot of drone keyboard is underneath...almost feedback...that John Cale sustained tone that adds this layer of noise to everything, the sound that never ends, that doesn't need to change to get attention...you can lose track of it after a while.
Johnny Noise on guitar has huge restraint for this avant noise sound...it's really pared back garage style...it's not guitar focused in it's delivery. It's the right ammount for the droning keys, it takes the front by default, to lead off a song and work on rhythm with the drums.
Estrella Ek Sanza has this vocal delivery that's half spoken word, half chant, swaying back and forth with his eyes closed, head lifted up, straining to find the microphone. The music can fall of and he's still ranting...he's got to fill every hole with a word.
Halfway through Estrella moved over to synth and Sagan took over vocal duty in the same style with more yelling. But not aggressive, kind of a yelling in the middle of the forest, by yourself.
Live, this is loose for sure, more psyche, less looking for the right takes, messy, you chose to go along for the ride more and watch exactly whats happening in front of you.
The pieces are all interesting, they aren't hitting you over the head, combining all kinds of elements, switching off on vocals...mostly their recording style, or lack of, is a huge part of their sound, the imperfections, hearing what you want out of the mud...but they prove they can deliver an entirely different side to their music live.
This is challenging, without a doubt.
Go get the live show MP3's here.... that's the podcast for this week.
I'm using megaupload for hosting, put in the code and get downloading.