Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kid 606/Tree Wave/ Dj Nature @ Redblood Club

Last night at the Kid 606 show, I was thinking about people who primarily listen to rock music, particularly those that are serious indie or punk fans, and how those people tend to react to dance or electronic music. Then today, I was going through the comment posts on here, and came across one that provided a good example of the attitude that I was considering:

"at least btd (Black Tie Dynasty) play their own instruments.but what is sad,is that any monkey can push any key on a computer program and sound seems easy enough.but sadly enough, not always the"

When I was 15 and thought Bad Religion was the coolest band on the face of the earth, I probably would have completely agreed with that comment. Today, however, the very notion that someone is more "organic" or respectable because they "play their own instrument" is totally and completely laughable to me, and anyone with half a brain should know better. Not to pick on Black Tie Dynasty yet again, but lets just use them as an example since that is the example that the Anon poster used. BTD obviously play electric guitars, and they use amps, and PAs, and effects processors, and microphones, and pedals, and everything else under the sun to manipulate the sounds of the guitar, the vocals and even the drums. When rock bands like BTD play live, they are using a club's PA system in order to amplify the sounds so that you can hear them. When they record music, they go into a studio and more likely that not use digital equipment to record their songs and engage in all other kinds of digital sound manipulation, just like most performers do today. Again, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, and that is exactly my point. There is nothing wrong with it. When you think about it, guitars were a technological innovation when they were first created, as was reel to reel tape, and sound proof rooms and mixing boards and microphones and pretty much every musical instrument that has ever been invented or studio that has been built to record them. That was all technology too. I guess the only difference that people like Anon see between a guitar and protools is that the technology is digital, and the manipulation of that technology requires slightly less physical activity than playing a guitar or drums. And if that is their basis for saying that there is something wrong with a band like Tree Wave getting up on stage and playing video game music, then I really won't even dignify the argument with a response, because it doesn't make any sense. Besides, I thought only rednecks in Texas militias and shit were afraid of computers. Guess I was wrong. The point is, digital programs are instruments in every sense of the word, created by humans to make music. Any music that incorporates anything other than vocals uses some kind of human created technology, and people should just learn to accept it, because their stubbornness will cause them to miss out on some really great stuff, and make them sound like they haven't put more than two seconds of thought into the whole thing.

Anyone that didn't go to last night's show really did miss out. When we showed up at the Red Blood Club, DJ Nature was in the middle of proving why he is one of the best DJs in DFWd right now. He played a great set of reggae, reggaeton, hip hop, experimental, dance rock, and even a little Kid A Radiohead. His mix was ridiculous, and the medium sized crowd at the show ate up every bit of it, dancing their asses off non stop until the end of his set. If you haven't at least thought about checking this guy out already, then I don't really know what to tell you. Just do it before he moves on to bigger and better places. No one else around here is doing what he does.

Tree Wave followed Nature with a set that, despite some sound problems, was one of the most exciting I have seen from any local band in a very long time. Creating music from old video game sounds and computer programs sounded like a gimmick to me, and if the music had in any way been cutesy or obvious it would have been really bad. But it wasn't. In fact, Tree Wave was exactly what what their Myspace page indicated: loud, noisy, spacey electronic that reminded me of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, Stereolab, and of course Eno, whom they covered to open the set. Like I said, they had some sound problems that might have prevented the show from becoming absolutely amazing (the sound at the club in general was full of treble and just not that great), but I'll tell you it was pretty close anyway.

At one point, the male member of the group played some old video game on stage that he had rigged to play music. I forget which game it was, but the screen was very similar to pac man. Every time he would go around a different sphere of the screen, eating all the dots, a different chord would be played, so the music that resulted was based entirely on where his guy on the screen was at any given time. He could make one chord play longer by staying in one ring for a longer period of time, or the opposite. The sounds built up, getting louder and faster on each new level, until it sounded like the whole thing was going to explode on a fast distorted, high pitched wail. Then it was over, and he didn't die once. It was really pretty insane, and the music was quite interesting too. That was what was so great about the whole thing. The music was really really good, despite the sound problems, and aside from the fact that they were making it with video games. It was great stuff completely on its own, with or without the band's back story. And props should be given to their female vocalist as well, who dealt with some sound issues but still gave a great performance, adding a whole other element to their sound that separates them from most laptop based electronic acts. The set was short, but we plan on seeing them again very soon.

Kid 606 was also wonderful. Not knowing nearly as much about dance music as I'd like to, I'll just say that he mixed in all kinds of genres, drum n bass, hip hop, old school Euro techno, and many others to produce an extremely dense, fast and hard sound that was completely captivating and danceable throughout the entire set, even though Kid hardly ever slowed it down to give you a breather. One look at the sizeable crowd dancing at the front of the stage indicating that many people didn't want or need a breather however, and a glance out into the courtyard about half way through the set revealed a good number of people drenched in sweat, all of whom went back inside to finish the set.

A friend and I were talking after the show about how "rockers" often don't know what to make of electronic dance music being played in a setting like Redblood club, which is primarily designed for rock music. All of that is probably changing, and soon many rock n roll fans that can't get into electronic music will have to change their minds, or just become completely irrelevant. But until then, I must deliver a message to many of Dallas' guitar based rock bands: you guys might "play your own instruments" or whatever, but most of you haven't come close to affecting a crowd the way that Kid 606, Tree Wave, and Nature did last night. And while I'm not suggesting that you sell all your guitars and buy turntables like the band in "Losing My Edge," you might want to think about some of the things that electronic artists around here are starting to do much better than you are. You might want to think about how you can put on a show that people will actually find, you know, inspiring. Because playing guitars and keeping time just isn't enough anymore. And thank God for that. Last night's show was one of the best we have seen within the Dallas city limits in months. And there wasn't one guitar in sight.

(EDIT: As my new best friend pointed out in the comments thread, DJ Stephen R. should get some props for putting together a really good show. I hope he continues to do things like this in the future.)


Blogger jamo said...


man, laptop users catch alot of flack for employing something that, when used right, can add endless new dimensions to a work of art.

but I don't deny that some people just use the sequencers, press play and sit back pretending to do something. there are two sides to every coin.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh brother,you really are out of it.I never said i was afraid or that I did not like computer generated music.I said,it was used poorly on treewaves part.THEIR music sickens me and that you would compare it to my bloody valentine is laughable.I came here hoping that there would be a meeting of like-minded artists wanting something different for this city.instead all i get is the same 3rd rate dallas observer bands-
you have no idea of what's really going on.ahh i'll just forget it and forgive you because sooner or later you've gotta get taste.

4:00 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...


4:09 PM  
Blogger jamo said...

dude, forget what this guy says, if he hates your blogs so much, why is he reading it?

also, keep up the good work, its nice to see some sort of press engine that's nice to the more interesting acts in dfw.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and one more old are you?gleeming at video game music?
stating that a guitar band must learn tricks to catch an audience?
i know,your that guy that goes to shows and likes a band just because someone said they were cool to like.your the guy that posts good records top selling artists.and if your going to review a show,shouldn't you show up at the beginning and fairly review the WHOLE show?there was one dj you left out.(dj stephen?)
It was my understanding he put the show together?that is all-

4:22 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

you're right, I should have given Stephen some credit in the review for putting the whole thing together. I'll do so now.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with tree wave hater. They are stchicky. to mention eno with them is crazy. They are not pushing any envelopes in music.(ie Suicide) They are not horrible, but hardly deserve second coming of mbv praise.

4:43 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

oh for shit's sake, I didn't say they were anything close to Eno, Suicide or MBV. I just said they "reminded" me of some of those bands because of the way they sound, in other words, because they were influenced by them, not because they are just as good or innovative. You might think I'm a dipshit or something, but how dumb would I really have to be to think that Tree Wave is as revolutionary or amazing as any of those bands (MBV and Eno being two of my all time favorites)?

4:55 PM  
Blogger tania said...

we agree on something!

i was one happy dancers in the front and back,
my friend ineka dragged me out of my usual routine after her art show
and i am grateful she did
i was surprised at how many other influential musicians were in attendance at the often overlooked red blood club
the vibe was fresh and raw,
the audience was engaged
people were losing themselves in the dark dancefloor and enjoying both the movement and the visuals
sure, occasionally some of the acts got a bit repetitive,
but on the whole it was a great night

5:25 PM  
Blogger blixaboy said...

no has mentioned Bexametric. He really kind of stood out. You guys should have gotten there earlier. This guy is truly gifted. A classically trained pianist who makes tracks very much in the vein of Aphex Twin, U-Ziq, and Squarepusher, but different. That is not easy music to make.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Bub said...

I love the Cabana EP. I've only seen Tree Wave a couple of times, but I loved the music and the performances. I'd like to get a Commadore 64 so I could use the program on the EP. I haven't read all the posts yet, so I may be redundant here, but computers are great!

6:23 PM  
Blogger ponderous95 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:15 PM  
Blogger ponderous95 said...


nice 'losing my edge' reference.
that amused me. :)

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pseudo intellectual bathed rednecks with a blog really shouldn't take themselves this seriously.
This blog is a waste of everyones time. Thanks for your contribution to the shit scene that is dallas.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Treewave just make creative music, i wonder what kind of fabricated boundries you expect these people to be pushing?

if it's good, enjoy it. and enjoy the diversity of sounds that people can make. i actually laughed out loud when i read that it "sickens" you - what?

tiny computer music SICKENS you?

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can appreciate what tree wave is doing on an experimental level. musically though, there is not much depth to what they are doing, composotionally, melodically or otherwise.

paul uses a diverse array of antiquated computer systems to create a very narrow assortment of sounds and beats to write with.

on the one hand, what he does is interesting, but not only is it musically lacking, it lacks the potential for improvement. not without incorporating the use of some better gear with more memory, blah, blah. electronic music has gotten better over the last decade in large part to the fact that the gear has gotten better, and not to mention easier to use. truly creative people usually aren't too technically inclined.

i guess treewave is worth mentioning, but not as fascinating as some people make them out to be.

kid 606 has been and always will be, good shit though..

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, one more thing.. i will give treewave credit for putting on a much more entertaining live show than even some really great electronic acts i've seen in my life.

sometimes i enjoy electronic music better when i'm not watching it live. i'd say the opposite is true with treewave.

2:19 AM  
Anonymous sctthp said...

This is good dialouge! Though, I am VERY drunk.

Stonedranger? Like what I do, or don't... Bums me out that I probably won't get to meet you, Mr. Incognito.

So, what are you gonna do if you win the Dallas observer Award? Maybe you could do what Brando did at the Oscars, and send a Native American! You know, like Taunto!

2:42 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

I'm not too worried about winning that award, but if we do, we'll come up with something that will either make everyone laugh or piss them off.

Which apparently can also be accomplished by posting a positive review of Tree Wave.

And I'm sure we'll be lurking around at a Record Hop show or at SHQ some time in the near future.

2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


don't get me wrong, i'm a fan of both electronic music and non-electronic music and i completely understand how both are made.

music, comes from inside a PERSON not from inside a piece of equipment. if a person can create good music using a guitar, chances are, they could create good music using a laptop or some turntables. in fact many great electo based groups started as rock bands.

so, don't start dissing "guitar" music just because it's been around longer. there's plenty of bad shit out there on both sides of the fence. (incidentally, electronic music isn't exactly a spring chicken. people started making it actually before the electric guitar was invented. Thomas Eddison experimented with electronic music before he invented the light bulb!)

face it. people will always want to see music performed live physically and people will (hopefully) always want to see music if it is performed live electronically.

"guitar" bands and "electronic" should accept this, hold hands and hug it out.

then we could all move on...

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my bloody valentine was like 80% guitars, drums and keyboards, 10% samplers and 10% drum machines.

treewave is 100% crap!

1:08 PM  
Blogger kidko said...

Thanks for the write-up. I would have loved to been able to go.

1:58 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

I'm not really talking shit about "guitar" bands at large, because that is primarily what I listen to. I'm talking shit about most of the guitar bands in Dallas. Thats all.

I just meant that Tree Wave put on a better show than most Dallas bands that "play their own instruments."

2:39 PM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...

Am I completely wrong, but doesn't treewave actually write the programs for the songs? I thought that was the way a Commodore 64 worked. To me that's a billion times more talented than picking up a guitar and crapping out the same stuff everyone else does. I really wanted to go to this show, but alas, I became a hermit that day.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is someone who doesn't like this blog AND thinks dallas has a "shit scene' reading this at all?

you heard we have the occational mavericks update?


7:12 PM  
Blogger creatorlars said...

Anyone can plug in a guitar and make noise, but sampling and programming require a much greater degree of knowledge to have a clue about what you're doing.

Treewave is pretty incredible, unless you're completely ignorant about what exactly they are doing to make their music. They're using very primitive machines.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"sampling and programming require a much greater degree of knowledge to have a clue about what you're doing."

it's funny.. this brings the argument full swing.

it's true. i've seen 4 year olds plug in a guitar and make noises w/ it. if an electronic band is CREATING their own samples (or chopping them up and shig) and programing their own...programs then to even begin to make sound w/ electronic sources would take more imediate effort.

...of course, we have electronic machines that allow for people w/ no knowledge of programing etc to use it to their advantage (fruity loops, all that crap.. midi)

....but lets cut to the chase here... it's not what you use, but how you use it.

you can use a contact mic, some effects pedals, and household apliances to make something that's really cool (probably, i won't humor you all by trying)
or someone can take the hippest, coolest, most expensive new musicians gadget and make something that sounds like absolute garbage.

it deffinately upsets me when someone claims to be a
"huge music fan" but then thinks it's impossible for tallent to come from a specific genre.

their are musicians who are good and bad in every genre, of course an individuals ears have different tastes but to say something sucks just because it's electronic is like your grandmother saying "rock and roll is the devils music"'s not, but if it were i think a lot of us would much rather be in Hell w/ the rockers than in heaven w/ Pat Boone (what? you mean he's still alive?)

i think this "anyone can do that" aspect of electronic music is the same thing that happens w/ any new music (they said it w/ rap, they said it to elvis, they said it to punkers)

...and it's funny. ANYONE can make music. ANYONE can play basketball.... these things are true. nobody is lying to you when they say that... their ignorence is that they are incapable of seeing the difference between My "granny style" basketball and that of Dirk Novitskie.... likewise, they do not see the difference between their 13 year old brother's "fruity loops" tracks and those made by someone who more fully understands electronics.

statements like that are deffinately formed out of ignorence. ANYONE is entitled to their own taste. you don't have to LIKE electronic music, or rap, or country music, or reggaeton... but to deny ALL musicians w/in those realms as tallentless based simply on the style they play is just silly

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah... and if anyone knows where to get some monkeys that can learn to play electronic music... let me know.

i'd love to book a band like that

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man......I know what your talkin about....when its noisy and fucked up and when that taco came un done and fell all over that guy's sock and started screaming at that baby and shit....yea, that music is pretty cool

1:43 PM  
Blogger wakka-wakka said...

Karl Pilkington would love to book a band like that too.

3:25 PM  

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