No Neck Blues Band, Meisha, Land
10 June 1999posted: 24 January, 2012 00:26
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It's astounding how many of these posters are from 1999 - I don't know how I managed to work and study at the same time. I think this one was the pinnacle of my concert-organising work in Pittsburgh, and I'm amazed that it was 1999, as I swore this happened in 2000. Despite all of the indie rock and post-hardcore shows I was organising, I was playing minimalist/experimental music myself in Land, and my main interest was in drone, psychedelia and outer sounds.
Getting a chance to book No Neck was special - I was only vaguely familiar with them as they were hot off the NYC avant scene at the time, and the tour booker (I forget who it was, maybe John Allen? His email address was germanoak@ something) said they would prefer to play in art galleries or outdoor spaces instead of clubs.
I arranged with Manny to use the parking lot outside of MIT, which provided some problems in terms of amplification and how to make people actually pay, but as it was a nice summer night, it turned out to be magical. MIT's car park was filled with old, broken vending machines and other junk, and NNCK's frontman (the guy who later went on to start Excepter) was climbing all over everything while the band banged away. It was total madness.
We were already looking to leave behind our minimal, guitar-based drone, and we performed a largely improvised set (I think) that culminated in us using electric razors near the pickups of our guitars to create a harsh, Merzbow-like dissonance. I feel like we lost some of our friends from the rock-based music scene that night and never quite got them back. Meisha were glorious, probably their best performance (or tied with the one at the Brew House, which had projections -- this one had the night sky which was even better).
NNCK's Japanese cellist didn't make it on this tour so it was a slightly smaller group. I had a guarantee for the first time and I was worried about making it; I also had to buy them all food, which we got from Tram's kitchen in Lawrenceville. I think we just covered the guarantee or I only lost a little bit. They stayed at my place and I took them to Giant Eagle the next morning before they headed off.
I saw them again in 2005 in Louisville, hanging out at Kris Abplanalp's place in the afternoon when they arrived and later in a full-fledged freakout of a show, and then I think at All Tomorrow's Parties that Thurston organised -- though I honestly can't remember if I saw their set that night or not.
Outside concerts should happen more. This poster was made by B. Chad, with his hand-set moveable type; a design that I think is beautiful and perfect.