with Capsize 7, Karate, Blonde Redhead at the Middle East Cafe
by Sheril Stanford
It was a Wednesday night. He didn’t want to go out. He was still recovering from the excesses of the long weekend. He was tired. He knew he’d have to resort to ordering coffee with shots of Captain Morgan to get through the night. They told him to get there early. Groan.
Not one of his so-called friends was around; he’d have to go it alone. He prayed there wouldn’t be lots of down time between the four bands. If there was, he’d never make it ’til the last band went on. But duty called. Sigh. He hoped he’d like one of the bands…
The first band, Capsize 7, was already on when he got there. Hmmm… They sounded pretty good. In fact, real good. Loud, fast, hard, but with enough melody to keep your attention, and just enough style to set them apart from every other loud, fast, hard band out there. Cool guitar, with that off-key thing going on, and a hollow snare keeping time. Ambiguous, but somehow potent lyrics (“He’s a remotely controlled human being, he’s a remote control one, wire free…”). Apparently, Chapel Hill is still churning out kick-ass bands after all this time…
They were selling their CD, Mephisto (Caroline), at a table in the corner, along with T-shirts. He thought about buying one, but he didn’t have enough money; he needed another Captain’s laced with coffee. When Capsize 7 announced their last song, he was surprised to find himself thinking that their set was too short and hoping that the next band was as good.
In a flash, Capsize 7 vacated the stage and Pie took over. Really took over, with sound and fury and serious noise. Damn, he wished he’d remembered his ear plugs. They did an excellent job with the tension/release thing – NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, melody, NOISE, melody. It worked. Mixed in with the noise (let’s face it, SOMETHING needs to get mixed in with the noise; it can get so repetitive and well, boring), was attention-getting guitar-manufactured special effects. And a tune. The coffee and rum were kicking in. Excellent. Two cool bands; surely he couldn’t like the next one, too?
Karate came on. The night just kept getting better. There were spacey interludes mixed in with the noise. Sometimes Karate seemed like a punked-up Pink Floyd, with big, round lead guitar notes crashing into the distortion. The lead singer had a wonderfully naive voice, a cool counterpoint to the dark lyrics (“You make violence feel so good, like it should…”). Very cool. He wished they had a CD out, although he couldn’t afford it if they did. He got a Captain Morgan’s, this time without the coffee. He talked to the guys standing next to him for a while. They thought the bands so far were outstanding. He went outside.
It was taking awhile for Blonde Redhead to set up. Damn! He was losing his momentum. More coffee? He went inside and talked to the guys again. Thinking about leaving. Glad he didn’t. Blonde Redhead completed an excellent night of distortion, discord, and weird tuning. He went home and went to bed, his ears ringing until he fell asleep.