Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tem Eyos Ki.

For the first few years that I started doing shows, all ages spaces were in short supply. The Faubourg Center shut down in the summer of 1998, and the only other consistent space was Movie Pitchers--a great space, but one that took half the door which cut into a chunk of money for touring bands (especially for me back then when I was still trying to grasp the idea that people don't want to come out for bands they'd never heard of and that I would have to trick them into coming out to shows by putting on terrible local bands). The Dixie Taverne was an option since there was an unspoken agreement that carding didn't need to be overly enforced, but doing late night bar shows could be taxing at times. I set up shows briefly in the basement of my apartment on St. Charles and Burdette, but that was destined to fall apart. Nowe Miasto was doing shows back then, but the folks there were so insular, it was hard enough finding out about a show they were doing, let alone setting one up.

Luckily, my persistent attendance and and fervent search for punk shows across the city led me into the good graces of Icky Apparatus and a few of the other Nowe Miastos. In late 2000 or early 2001, Icky ended up putting on an amazing show with Tem Eyos Ki, Them of Delphi, Living Under Lies, The Tree of Knowledge zine distro, Tom Sweet, and I think maybe a local band. This was also my first introduction to the Ark which would become the home for a large amount of my future shows. I think I was most interested in catching Living Under Lies, since it was the new band from one or two of the Talk is Poison folks, who had blown me a way a couple of years before with their show at the Dixie Taverne. But my pal Steven Springer was amped up about Tem Eyos Ki, whom I had never heard of. But, like introducing me to Avail at the Faubourg Center or Dropdead at the Ranch, he would lay his christian hands upon my heathen brow and bless me with another amazing band in an intensely DIY space.

Tem Eyos Ki is one of those short-lived and hugely underrated punk bands like Sicarii, One Eyed God Prophecy, Holocron, or Ire. Imagine a bunch of Peter Pan, pell mell hippie bike punks somehow combining Judas Priest-like guitar leads with early 90s emotional hardcore; now throw in an accordian, a cello, and some singing. Sincere, creative, energetic--this band certainly embodied all the best aspects of DIY punk culture. When they broke out that accordian on "Tigris / Euphrates," it literally blew my mind--not to mention the packaging for the tour CDR (tranparent image set over an old map cutout) had as much of an impact on my graphic design senses as Dan Fox's typewriter-based, cut-and-paste take on flyers; and the packaging for the LP is one of the direct influences for the layout and packaging of the Thou Tyrant LP.

Tem Eyos Ki never made it back down to New Orleans. I was supposed to do a show with them, This Scares Me, and Dear Diary I Seem to Be Dead at Nowe Miasto in 2003, but their tour ended up getting canceled. I did get the pleasure of doing a couple of shows with their other band Soophie Nun Squad before they broke up--the first of which is still listed in my top shows ever. The one Tem Eyos Ki show I did get to attend stands out as one of the most influential shows I've ever been to.

tour CDR:
Drinking Gourd
Tigris / Euphrates
Letter to the US Marshalls
Blind Guardian
Stop Action
John Parker's Iron Wheel
Grinding Rogue Honest
Kaput Mortem

seven inch:
Annie Mae

split seven inch with Hundred Years War:
Kids Kill Kids

new unmastered mix of the LP (aka Argenta Roughs):
Portrait of Agatha Bas
The Lion, the Roach, and the Naked Mole Rat
Last of the Mastadons
Wolf and Moon

The original mix of the LP with the rest of the tracks:
Wolf and Moon
The Lion, the Roach, and the Naked Mole Rat
Pulpit and the Pallbearer
Drinking Gourd
Potrait of Agatha Bas
John Parker's Iron Wheel
Last of the Mastadons

All the Days are Numbered So compilation:
Blind Guardian

Nate Powell has some info up on the Harlan site and a few pictures on his flicker, and there are a few good pictures up on this fan myspace page. This guy from Goleta also mentions them in his blog. And if you do a YouTube search, you can also find a number of awesome videos. And here are the rest of my pictures from that show at the Ark.

Here's Maralie's site for her art, other bands, projects, etc.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pygmy Lush live.

Since Page Ninety Nine broke up, these gentlemen from Sterling, Virginia have gone through a number of bands: Mannequin, Malady, Hissing Choir, Haram, etc. By far, this is the best band of the lot. The quieter side of Pygmy Lush is on par with if not surpassing Page Ninety Nine, and the loud stuff is the closest these guys have ever got to rekindling that young, punk energy.

To back track a little, in July 2000, Josh Sisk--who would later start McCarthyism Records and then sell out punk rock to become a modern day raver / hipster documentarian--asked me to set up a show in New Orleans for Page Ninety Nine. He lived in Baton Rouge at the time, and spaces were hard to come by up there. I had bought Document #5 at Krazyfest earlier that summer and then caught them up in DC on an Earth Crisis show, so I was already a big fan.

I threw the show at Movie Pitchers with the Chopsley of that era. Decent turnout, OK flyer, great music: not too many complaints on this one. This is probably where my love of the two band bill comes from. This was the Page Ninety Nine tour when Brandon from Kilara first joined the band. Back then, their thing was to dress all in black, so Brandon dressed all in white. At that show, he was already covered in dirt and blood. There was some crowd surfing of the couches in the show space. The set ended with "By the Fireplace in White." Brandon ended up completely underneath that old, foot-high stage at Movie Pitchers, throwing trash out and screaming like a maniac. Chris just stared at the audience through the ten minute drone jam, slowly rocking back and forth until the vocals kicked back in and then he started violently freaking out. It was pretty intense.

The next couple of Page Ninety Nine shows were both at the Dixie Taverne, one with Waifle and one with Majority Rule. The second time they played Dixie is still one of my all time favorite shows. A bunch of the guys from Crestfallen were at this show going nuts with the Majority Rule guys. There wasn't a mosh pit as much as a heaving pile of punks, like a writhing mass of maggots. I should also mention that it was the posters that my half brother Dan Fox made for these two shows that led to me ripping off his cut-and-paste, black and white xerox, typewriter flyer style--the one that made me famous.

There were two more Page Ninety Nine shows in New Orleans before the break-up, both at the Ark. The first one was George Krumm's birthday, so all the guys got polluted out of their minds before they were supposed to play. They got back to the space late. Johnny could barely set up, let alone play, his drums. They got through about 10 or 15 minutes (not far off from their usual set time) before they had to just call it quits. Chris made up for the short set with a good 30 minutes of drunken ranting on the microphone, culminating in him being complete naked and just screaming at people as they left. I think they all felt pretty bad about their shennanigans, especially Mike, so the next show they played completely sober and maybe a little longer than usual.

I also caught them in Tampa and Birmingham; on tour with Eat a Bag of Dicks in Orlando, Tampa, and Tallahassee; and then the last three shows up in DC. Fun times. Here's a video from a show they did in Savannah shot by Pat from Hyperrealist. Page Ninety Nine remains one of my favorite hardcore bands.

The next band from these folks started was Mannequin. They never really did it for me, but were always the beloved revivalists of grunge enthusiasts the world over. The first time they came through New Orleans, I did two shows in a row for them--Dixie Taverne with Murder by Death then Mama's Blues with Exit 86. The Dixie show went great, but the turnout for the Mama's Blues show was pretty weak. Dear Diary played with them a few times on our final tour, and they played over at the 829 House in Baton Rouge while we were gone. I think that show was the one that finally got the house shut down. Ironically, their last show in New Orleans was supposed to be at my old house on Banks Street, and that ended up getting shut down by the cops (and then moved to the Dixie).

Before that last Mannequin show, the Taylor brothers made it through with their side band Hissing Choir, playing one of their few out of town shows--one of their few shows period! It was a pretty good show at the Banks Street Warehouse with them, NOLA-Memphis legends Masters of the Obvious (MOTO), The Ghost Mice, and The Faeiries. Despite there being a trash can within arm's reach, one of the old men who came out for Moto tried putting his empty beer can in a hole in our ceiling. So I yelled at him in front of a room full of people and made him feel like an asshole. One of those rare times that my wrath was justified, I think.

The next manifestation to hit New Orleans was Malady about nine months later. I really liked these guys live. They reminded me of the older City of Caterpillar songs--more straightforward, less of the Godspeed! You Black Emperor jam out parts. It's too bad they were so short lived. Before the show started, one of our roomates Theresa was moving out of the warehouse. Since she felt like she was leaving on bad terms, she decided she wanted to destroy the walls she had built for her room. Paul begged her not to do this, but she did it anyway, taking a hammer to the sheet rock. I don't think I've ever seen Paul so mad in my life--not even when he gets to that point in his drunkeness where he becomes ornery and violent. We were all in the kitchen laughing about it and shaking our heads, secretly afraid that he would knock her out. Luckily, Paul calmed down, took away the hammer, and Theresa and her cronies left. A happy ending for everyone. Except Little James who had to move into her trashed room.

About a year later, Mike and Kevin came through with Haram. I loved the first stuff they did. It reminded me a lot of the later Majority Rule songs, which were my favorite. They came through again a little bit after Katrina and played the Darkroom in Baton Rouge. This was when I was living in Oakland, so they figured I wouldn't be able to do the show. Fools! I was in town on vacation and putting on shows. Could've hooked up a rad show at Coach's house. Pretty much no one was at the Baton Rouge show, and I think they got screwed on money which was a pretty typical story for touring bands who played at the Darkroom. Luckily, the next time they came through in 2007 I was back in town and throwing shows at the Green Project.

I caught them the night before in Pensacola, and that was my introduction to Pygmy Lush. They pretty much blew me away the first time I saw them. It was really refreshing to see my good friends doing another band that I could get into as much as their first efforts.

To hype the pile of shows I'm throwing for these guys this year, I did a short run bootleg CDR of the live radio set they released. The actual CD also has the quiet tracks off of Bitter River and Mount Hope (without repeating the ones they played on that show), but you should just go ahead and get those records; they're amazing. The titles on these tracks might be a little off. Let me know if you catch a mistake.

Dead Don't Pass

Throw the Jockey
No Feeling
Butch's Dream
Hard to Swallow
The Lonesome Waltz of Leonard Cohen (Page Ninety Nine cover)
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (Ramones cover)

I must have accidentally hit the "mirror image" option when I was making these copies, so the text came out backwards. I wasn't trying to be arty, that's for sure. Special thanks to my pre-fiance Emily McWilliams for helping with the cutting, stamping, folding, and collating of these.

As soon as I can get a copy of the recording, I'll post the songs that Eric Martinez recorded live on WTUL last time I did some shows for Pygmy Lush on the Ghastly City Sleep tour.