I saw the Silver Apples on Saturday at the Empty Bottle. Oddly, the place wasn't that packed. You'd think that people would jump at the very rare opportunity to see the man that was responsible for the foundation for electronica, new wave and industrial music, but I guess others had tickets to the Hideout Block Party (I didn't, but I still would have gone and seen the Silver Apples instead...as a matter of fact, why didn't they just invite him there?).
Simeon, the singer/ electronic music guy performed alone. He is now silver haired and frail after recovering from having his neck broken in a car accident. He didn't have a roadie. Someone helped him drag out his rig to the center of the stage, but he set it up and set up a video camera, projector and screen.
Since the drummer for the Silver Apples, Danny Taylor, passed away in 2005, Simeon used a drum machine. I was wondering if he'd use another drummer, but it'd be hard filling Taylor's shoes (he was a former drummer for Jimi Hendrix).
It was a great show. The oddest thing about it was that the music, since he used a drum machine, sounded less bizzare than the recordings from the 60's. He played my favorite song of his, "Program," right at the beginning (the song is the earliest song I know of to use sampling...they didn't even have a word for it then), but it was still profoundly odd and futuristic, and I had a blast.
Simeon enjoyed himself as well. I was personally offended that he wasn't playing a larger venue and that the place wasn't packed full, but he seemed genuinely pleased that this many people had showed up and were cheering him on. He smiled, and talked to the audience (when people kept yelling out for him to play 'Ruby' he said, "Hey, I didn't bring a banjo!").
There were three other bands. People are all gaga about Warhammer 48k. They were intense, loud and creative and intense (and their drummer is solid), but they didn't make the biggest impression on me of the opening bands.
Skarekrau Radio did.
There were 13 of them on stage. Two drummers, one percussionist. Two or three horn players. Guitar, bass, drums. Metal Antlers. Two singers, a woman, dressed oddly, and a man dressed in tuxedo tails and a thong. There was a guy playing the cymbals with a drumstick...he was weaing leotard bottoms. The saxophone player wasn't wearing any clothes at all. The naked sax guy leapt off of the stage at one point and flailed around on the ground (at first I thought he was really high, then I thought he was just performing, but he continued to do this throughout every band afterwards, so I returned to my original conclusion). The lead singer (?) spent most of the time offstage in the audience performing to the band.
The guy in the leotard pants ran around licking people in the audience (myself included--I had nowhere to run), while the band skronked and banged on things and yelled strange poetry out. I couldn't understand a single thing they said.
It was pretty rad.
Their website looks like it was put together by loonies. Warning! It plays a grating sound loop when you click on it! You've been warned!
Here's a performance of them from 2003. It doesn't feature any nudity, and it's a lot less intense, since they're not licking you or yelling in your face. If you watch it long enough, the noise actually does coalesce into a song of sorts. But it should give you some sort of idea.