Sun Araw @ the Knitting Factory

When: January 19th, 2013

     So I'm curled up on the couch feeling like a lazy dog.  A long week had me wanting nothing more than nothing.  My wife was out for the entire day, allowing me to completely check out.  I listened to a bunch of records while staring at the ceiling.  I ate some birthday cake from little Olivia's party the night before.  I bought tickets to some more shows because I have a problem.  I ordered some Indian food and devoured it like a famished farm animal. I was basically living out the slovenly day I desired.  I had, however, seen that Sun Araw was playing at the Knitting Factory while I was checking their calendar.  I watched a video. Then another.  I was intrigued.  Texted Erik to see if he were up for joining me. "Date night with Stacy", he texted. With that I figured I wasn't stepping foot outside. As the sun went down, I was half asleep under a blanket in the corner of my sectional listening to Hawkwind and dreaming I was an astronaut.  I got a text from Erik.  "Switching date night. Gonna join you." By some miracle, I freed myself from the magnetic force that is my supremely comfortable couch, grabbed tickets online, and soon found myself out in the world about to see my 4th show in 6 days. 

     Over the span of a couple hours we saw three performances.  Ital was first.  It was like picking up the phone and listening to the dial tone.  Looooooong extended notes and a few bleeps.  The beats, when they were there, incited every to stand still.  Good stuff for a robot funeral, but wasn't feeling it on a Saturday night.  Surprising, being that I read earlier in the day that he's known to thump it out.

MGG Twiddling Knobs

     Next up was M. Geddes Gengras.  Now this guy came to make some serious noise.  No standing there and staring straight down. MGG was thrashing around behind a pile of wires and clearly feeling himself.  It had an immediate effect on the crowd.  People started moving.  Some ladies up front started raising their arms and swaying their hips (always a good sign).  But, this wasn't "Club Night" on a Carnival cruise.  MGG was knob twisting like a mad man.  The beats got heavy and tribal.  What sounded like digital ping pong sounds panned from left to right and right to left.  Sounds were warped with countless filters and effects.  This guy was bringing the thunder.  While Ital sounded like a screensaver, MGG sounded like a hyper aroused supercomputer going out of its hard drive.  Erik and I were loving it.  He did, however, have a slower portion of his set.  This wasn't nearly as fun.  Should have kept it in overdrive.

 Sun Araw

     Lastly, out came Cameron Stallones (Sun Araw) and his band, a saxophonist and a synth dude.  Wow.  This was brutally boring.  Like watching a band tune up and then half heartedly rehearse with seemingly little interest in the audience.  By the third song I saw chunks of the audience heading toward the exits.  By the 4th or 5th song (tough to differentiate), we followed them out. 
     Maybe they had an off day.  Maybe Sun Araw was on his couch all day too and didn't feel like performing.  Maybe he's so prolific he can't do anything but create, so his "show" is actually just him trying things.  Maybe I was just getting cranky.  Whatever the reason, their set was lifeless.  It had none of the great textures and rhythms I'd heard on his albums.  In the future, I'll stick to watching his videos, downloading some songs, and admiring his cool album art.  His live show made me retreat to the couch.