with Halcion, Foetus at Mama Kin
by Karl Geising
Being a lazy bastard, I got to Mama Kin towards the end of Ultra Bidé‘s set. And immediately regretted it. The Japan-cum-New York trio weaved between ambient drone, punk, and all-out noise rock, and somehow made it work. This in the space of two songs. In a short amount of time, they’ve made quite some ripples in this nebulous quagmire we call the “scene.” Be prepared for the inevitable underground-media blitz; rest assured, they deserve it.
After a short, rabble-rousing transition by the ubiquitous Jim Thirwell, Halcion came onstage. They have one of those line-ups that I love to hate: A standard rock quartet fronted by a female singer/guitarist. Normally these bands turn out to be either My Bloody Valentine knock-offs or power pop, and at first Halcion did have these tendencies. But midway through the set, something happened: I realized that I was actually enjoying them. By the time they took off, the music had turned noisy and intense, and hate had turned to love. So much for jaded generalizations, huh?
But good as these bands were, neither held a candle to Foetus. Thirwell strode onstage amid a wash of lights and the Debussy-in-a-blender intro to “Godboy” playing at two hundred decibels. Dressed in a soon-discarded white leisure suit and black shades, he danced like a puppet cutting its own strings, staring at the audience with the look of a deer that’ll be damned if it doesn’t fuck up the car whose lights have transfixed it. Backed by a bevy of skilled musicians, the audience was treated to a string of Foetus faves, including “Verklemmt,” “Hot Horse,” and “I’ll See You In Poland, Baby,” with a nigh-unrecognizable version of “I Am The Walrus” thrown in for good measure.
Unfortunately, the crowd wasn’t ready for it. Animosity between performer and certain audience members was gradually being established, and by the end of the set, it had reached the boiling point. Perhaps unaware that Boston is spawning ground for self-repression, Thirwell yelled at the audience: “What’s wrong with you? Take the pickles out of your asses!” Provoked by a female audience member, he leapt off the stage, fists a-flying. Returned to the stage by a mass of bouncers, he screamed “This is it! This is the last time you will ever see me perform!” before blasting into the appropriately-named “See Ya Later.”
Hopefully he won’t carry through with that threat. In a world ruled by pre-packaged punk rebellion and pretentious indie sensitivity, we NEED a band like Foetus to remind us of what we are.