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Notwist - Slim's, San Francisco, 15/4/2003

  by Chris Jones

published: 19 / 4 / 2003

Notwist - Slim's, San Francisco, 15/4/2003


In what was a unique evening, drawing together "a crowd of indie kids, skaters, hip - hop head and Brit -poppers", Chris Jones enjoys an eclectic San Francsico show featuring Styrofoam, Themselves and the much acclaimed Notwist

It was a last minute decision between food or music that got me to walk down to Slim's to see if I could still catch the Notwist. Fortunately there was a relatively small but electric mix of people in the club and I got in about 5 minutes before Styrofoam took the stage. OK, "took the stage" might not be the most accurate description for one man and an i-book stepping up to a mic but the sounds created by Styrofoam more than made up for the lack of a band. Looking like a cross between an "indie kid" and a computer programmer, it was only fitting that he started with a very cool cover of a Mountain Goats song (which I believe is on the new Styrofoam album that should be in stores now). While many Styrofoam tracks are "instrumentals", he performed vocal tracks during this set which made things seem live and not programmed. I'm not exactly sure what he was manipulating on the PC - maybe he was e-mailing friends? - but the beats and sounds emanating from the speakers sounded great. His remix of the American Analog Set's 'The Postman' was especially nice. The crowd doubled or tripled in size during Styrofoam's set and the mix of people was quite interesting: clean cut indie kids, skaters, and a hip - hop contingent that mostly puzzled me, but when Themselves took the stage it all made sense. Themselves consists of Anticon members Doseone (Clouddead) and Jel. The Anticon Family has a very unique take on hip - hop / music / art / life and have managed to confuse inspire and entertain those who have given them a listen. Doseone is half MC, half Philosopher and half performance artist. Wait, isn't that 3 halves? Yes, yes it is, and Jel might just be the master of the thumbpad drum kit. - his beats making a perfect foundation for the electronic noises and crazy, nasal vocals of Doseone. There was confusion and inspiration and almost everyone seemed entertained regardless of fashion sense. The Notwist finally got their chance on stage and they took it with guitars, bass, drums, turntables and Styrofoam sitting in on with his i-book. The segment of the audience who only knew the Notwist via their latest album, the excellent 'Neon Golden', didn't seem quite prepared for the rockin' set laid down that night. Looking almost Robert Pollard like with his moppy hair hanging into his face, Notwist frontman Markus Acher took to his guitar with the fervor of Thurston Moore in days gone by. Math rock meets jazz meets dub meets electronics and it all fits together perffectly. The funniest part of their set was when during a quiet part in one of their songs a girl at the front of the stage exclaimed "This is f****ing awesome! You ****ing rock! This is the s**t!" Everyone laughed and when the song finished a chuckling almost shy "Thank you" came from the Notwist. The fact that the Notwist started with 'One With The Freaks' should have been a tip off of what would follow. Highlights for me were songs like 'Chemicals', 'Day Seven' and 'This Room'. I had hoped they would play 'Consequence' but I couldn't complain. The Notwist rocked it with guitars and electronics in a way I don't think I had ever seen before. In some ways you could say that Styrofoam, Themselves and the Notwist take completely different approaches to music. Yet, in other ways they have much in common, I suppose that's why a crowd of indie kids, skaters, hip - hop head and Brit - poppers could all enjoy a great show together.

Picture Gallery:-
Notwist - Slim's, San Francisco, 15/4/2003

Notwist - Slim's, San Francisco, 15/4/2003

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