Meanwhile, Elsewhere…: Suzanne Lizard, Very Rare Artifacts, Consumer, Gangster Computer God @ Slabtown 2/20/2014

Last Thursday at Slabtown was a fantastic opportunity to catch some of Portland’s most interesting talents in Noise music. I was excited to support my new buddy Kieran, performing as Very Rare Artifacts, who I wrote about previously here.

The first act up was the three-piece Suzanne Lizard, making one of their first performances. Suzanne Lizard were brutal and over-the-top, very much in the styles of noise rock and punk while utilizing the tools of harsh noise. This was a really good debut performance– they seemed to be having a lot of fun throwing and receiving energy off of each other and I wish them luck! I hope to see them again sometime soon.

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Very Rare Artifacts was up next. So far, I have seen Artifacts (Kieran McKeon) twice, and he is very impressive for an emerging artist. His set on this night was mostly not-rhythmic and tended towards drones. The tones are exceptionally beautiful, curtains of just-harsh-enough laptop noise that overlap and decay seamlessly. I also really enjoy the samples of various recordings of speeches that Kieran brings into mix. Another night of beautiful noise from Very Rare Artifacts, wish he had a page I could direct you to.

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I have heard for a long time about Consumer, and this was another reason why I was very curious about this show. Consumer did not disappoint; I thought this guy was phenomenal. How could I have avoided him for so long? I guess I didn’t feel the impulse to go to shows like this in the past.

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Consumer (musician Matt Palenske) could be described as a one-man hip-hop-influenced-funk-metal band. He’s this relatively short, polite guy, he sits down in his chair in front of his equipment, and you think that the act is going to be him calmly sitting there, making little adjustments to a wall of noise, but this couldn’t be further from what you get. He’s all jerky-movements, bobbing up and down and flaying his limbs around frantically as he roars and yells into the mic. Consumer’s music is rhythmic and aggressive– harsh but seemingly drawing on hip hop beats and vocal stylings from death metal, with Palenske frequently changing the tempo and improvising modulations to the tones his equipment produces. He’s quick on his feet, nimble with this hands, and really something of a badass. Consumer is a must-see for fans of noise music.

Last up was Gangster Computer God for some enjoyably twisted EDM. The name said it all: Gangster Computer God was electronic dance music with a dark and aggressive edge. Another thing I noticed about Gangster was that he created harsh tones out of a fairly simple palette of samples. He didn’t go the route of trying to create a sense of nostalgia or dream, the textures were crude and violent. A very interesting finale to an interesting night.

It looks like there’ll be another “Meanwhile, Elsewhere…” at Slabtown in a month, so if you missed this installment, you’ll have another chance in March.

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Photos taken on a point-and-shoot by me.

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