SHOW REVIEW: ATARI TEENAGE RIOT/Ec8or/Shizuo|
The Trocadero, December 21, 1997(Moon Ska Records)
Want a surprise? The doors to the Trocadero opened 20 minutes late. Another 20 minutes of genre-bent synth rock blared out of the speakers through a boombox with a gaussed reader head. Finally, the effect lights go down, the stage lights come up in bright orange and an unearthly bellow of bass pours from the stage. A guy that looks strikingly like Chris Hardwick (Singled Out), and a girl out front, singing lead, comprise Ec8or. The thundering bassline continues; Theguy hits some buttons and high frequency pierces the crowd, as Ec8or lays down a devastating track of feedback, vocoded heavy machinery sounds and the pure high-notes to round out the rough, synthetic sound. Ec8or pumps the crowd continuously until 9 PM sharp, where in a frenzy of falling microphone stands, the duo storms offstage, content with the madness they've worked into the crowd. It's too funky for words.
Another fifteen music from the scratchy boom-box. This time it sounds like synth-pop meets death metal. The electronic controller of Shizuo lumbers onstage, screaming bloody murder and slowly building up a heavy beat. Before the treat of the lead singer comes to pass on the stage, the bass is gone, replaced by noise. Not music, noise. It hurts my ears severely to listen to this crap at in excess of 90 dB. Still content from Ec8or, I sit tight, hoping for a miracle to save Shizuo. Instead, the lead singer comes on-stage. She's tall, in black lace stockings and stiletto heels, short leather skirt, halter top and a frigging cowboy hat. No wait, it gets better. Among the rumbling and static comes belches of ear-shattering sound from this woman's voice, mumbling in an incomprehensible European accent. All this is accompanied by repeated pulling on the skirt, playing with the stockings and massaging the ass. The microphone visits several places.... I'm beginning to wonder: Is this a hardcore party or a mass orgy? As if that wasn't enough, Shizuo begins their trademark(?) song, devoid of a name but with a chorus of the woman screaming "I wanna have an orgasm!" It doesn't get better. She tilts a bass-box upward and stands in front of it, hoping to get off on the vibrations, no doubt. The grand finale to this freak show? She bends over, ass high in the air and facing the crowd, and reveals her thong-laced rear, much to the obligement of the crowd (the only point in their set in which a mosh pit forms). Speakers still pumping out ambient-on-crack, Shizuo is off the stage.
Let's cut to the chase. What everyone has come for. What they're waiting to see. Who shows up on the stage? It's Alec, pointing to the crowd and screaming repeated curses upon the German government, the US government, the KKK and the capitalists. After an opening jam, the sound shifts to the ever-so-familiar 240(000?) beat-per-minute "Sick To Death". This is truly the anthem we've waited this whole night for! Jumping in unison, we add to the bass thuds on every beat, chanting along with the lyrics. The crowd adds an ominous hiss to the feminine lyrics, perfectly in-synch. This is when the mosh pit really gets riled up. A plethora of people running forward, body parts flailing, crashes into the front line, squashing everyone against the barrier up front. Sick To Death morphs into a relaps, after Paranoid. The crowd going fully, strobes are flicked on to induce raging seizures in everyone! Well, not quite. But those things were hella bright, and seemed to pulse along with the beat.
This assault continued for sixty long, exhilarating minutes, until all three bands joined on stage and mixed their electronic and vocal talents. Chris from ATR rips his tanktop and throws it to the crowd. The maniacal set is over and the speakers are whining out their last protests for the night.
I can't hear anything! AAUUUGGHH!! Oh well. It'll wear off.
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