Saturday, November 05, 2005

Whitehouse at Rothko

About my fifth trip to NYC. (Cripes!) But worth it as always. The venue called Rothko (apparently a play on words after the company who originally owned the building) looked like the ideal place for a Whitehouse show. More like a sinister, monolithic dungeon than a night club, with bright-red lights.

Psychic Paramount opened with a solid set of dark and sinister instrumental rock that harkened to Ramleh, Swans and even the Brainbombs. The drummer's fluid and earthy style held everything together and counter-balanced the brutal guitar and bass quite well. Thurston Moore followed with a full band with (I think) Lee Ranaldo or someone who looked like him. Anyways it was mostly guitars and basses and essentially one big low-end drone-poem that made me think of Rothko-the-painter's later black-on-black works.

And then Whitehouse, who I sheepish admit was the first time I saw them live. William Bennett based his stage presence on Gene Simmons (apparently...) and looked like he was parodying old punk-rockers past their prime. I could imagine Michale Graves being like this except without the irony. (Hope Bennett's not offended by that analogy.) Also did Malcolm McDowell's infamous dance from Caligula which also reminded me of Peter Wolf from the J. Giles Band, appropriately enough (or not...) Phillip Best looked like a bitter guido music shop owner I remembered long ago, and his voice is actually now starting to show some age, but still has alot of that patented sub-Johnny Rotten vitriol I've always found endearing... My friend Angie Holm was there and I was telling her that near the end of the set I remembered being at a Catholic retreat in my teen years and seeing a film. Made in the sixties and featuring hippies partying and whatever but interjected with images of children starving, in pain, crying. Looking back on it that film was brilliant -- not that I'm anything like Peter Sotos, mind! -- and I wish that was on DVD somewhere... The memory of that seemed quite appropriate as well.

Going back to Sotos again, I did get the pre-release of Predicate, although I didn't get to that main book yet. But almost finished with the special ltd. addendum. Unpublished writings and lots of interviews. Again I'm not at all as depraved as Sotos but alot of his inspirations are quite similar to mine: the Who, Lou Reed, Swans, Alice Cooper and Francis Bacon, who along with Paul McCarthy and Paul Klee drew me closer to art than any other artists. Bacon, of course, was one painter my artist mother hated with a passion, and that really did mean something...