Buzzed Bands Podcast, Ep. 2 w/ Cold Blood Club

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio Played Gramercy Theatre (Friday Show)

Brooklyn Ski Club contributor Ryan Wilhelm went to the Lou Reed show on Friday at Gramercy Theatre. Here's what he had to say.

If you’re at all familiar with 1975’s Metal Machine Music you know exactly what this show was like without having to attend. Lou Reed described the album as such: “Well, anyone who gets to side four is dumber than I am.”

That’s a pretty badass thing to say. Reason being, Lou Reed is a formidable badass. The dude inspires fear and respect. There’s no question about it. And I wouldn’t say it about many muthers out there.

So, Let’s get right to it.

The show was 40 minutes long and Lou Reed smiled nearly the entire time. So that was kinda nice to see.

I could feel sorry for the people that paid the $100 charge to see this. But I don’t.

They must have known what they were in for, with the show being billed as “a night of deep noise and no vocals.”

This music’s determination to kill all pop and rock sensibilities is respectable. But it never allowed anyone in the audience to relax.

Reed was joined by John Zorn (on sax) and two German guys (on keyboards and sax), whose names are barely pronounceable let alone spellable.

I guess you could say the same thing about the metal machine music.

Experiencing the single set, single song, 40-minute drone of feedback gave me a painful feeling that slowly passed and gone into a dullness that I completely mistrusted.

But it was fun. Maybe a test of fortitude is a more accurate way to describe it. This was music you could feel. Literally. The noise was so incredibly deep, so loud I could feel my throat rumbling. I could feel it in my balls. Kind of the way I feel on a rollercoaster (or of course, when we used to climb the ropes in gym class).

And I can’t really imagine Lou smiling if he was forced to continue to play Sweet Jane and Walk on the Wild Side for drunk concertgoers.

One highlight was Zorn and the other saxophoner battling. Kind of like a cockfight. It looked like one, and it definitely sounded like one. And who dosen’t love a good cockfight? Peck out thee eyes! Peck thee ears! But only half the fun at a cockfight is the violence. The other half is gambling. Who’s taking the bets here? And who wins? So who cares?

I wanna be black
I wanna be Malcolm X
Cast a hex
Over president Kennedy’s tomb
And have a big prick too

They lead us along, as promised, through the noise that tied our standards up in knots. I kept wondering if all this bullshit boils down to him or us. Is this self-righteous nonsense? Is the audience entertained? Is that even the point anymore? Are all these spectators enjoying this music on some primal level that I am cowardly ignoring?

After about 30 minutes I thought, “Can anyone stand this dark wail for any longer?”

Then a wave of “maybe this is fiendishly humorous” passed across me like whatthefuck!
I can’t pretend to enjoy this on any other level. It’s a fascinating decay, but I’m no masochist.

But I know It takes all kinds of mutherfuckers , and mutherfuckers punish their ears in worse ways than Metal Machine Music (insert your worst and most hated band here). So some people deserve to have their ears rot. And I’m sure there is a special place in hell where ears will be severed or filled with deafening puss.

So yeah: fuck the general public.

But what about the faithful? The fans. Fuck them as well? Do they share some kind of passion for a musical art that I am somehow refusing?

Is there a statement being made here? Is this music supposed to be about inner-pain? Modern pseudo-insanity? Like these things, it seemed random, careless, and totally irrelevant.

Still, I don’t think Lou Reed is trying to exploit anyone. He doesn’t have to. He’s Lou Reed for christ’s sake! But maybe he’s afraid to admit he’s washed up.

I asked people their opinions after the lights came up. Maybe I’m not that personable, but with performance enhancing drugs in belly and brain, I tried to be. Still, no one had much to say to me. So the only conclusion I could draw was: if this music is so interesting then why doesn’t anyone have anything interesting to say about it?

Oh yeah, and anyone that doesn’t jerk off three times a day is a square. And squares don't roll.

Lou fulfilled his dreadful oath, thanked the crowd, and disappeared from stage. House lights came on, people went about the rest of their Friday night.

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