Thursday 9 February 2017

The Residents Live @ Etrange Festival 2015

Now here's another surprise from the San Fransisco pre/proto/post-punk milieu. I rate all those 70s Residents records from 1974's Meet The Residents right up until 1980's The Commercial Album plus all the singles, EPs and tapes in-between. I've heard a few things here and there since, some I've liked a bit and others that I really didn't. 13 or 14 years ago I borrowed a couple of live Residents dvds from the city library. One was a mid 90s concert while the other was from the early 2000s. I really wanted to like these films but they just weren't that good. By that I mean the band had become pretty lame and very boring. Watching those dvds almost ruined the old records for me but thankfully I soon forgot about them. The 70s catalogue remains a treasure to me.

So I was trying to get some sleep during a crazy heat wave we're currently having here in the Desert City. Yesterday it was 44 degrees and today it's currently sitting at 46, that's Celsius! That's 115 degrees in Fahrenheit terms. I went on youtube and found a Residents playlist, hit play and lay down on the couch with the dog at my feet. As I drifted off I could hear some old Residents classics and a few I was not too familiar with. After an hour I woke up just as the above concert was starting. The first track was great but I was expecting it to swiftly get rather shite. No, an hour and a half later I was still transfixed, forgetting the heat for a little while.

The band here are stripped down to a 3 piece and are perhaps a little more guitar-centric than they were in the 70s. Musically/sonically they were in incredible form, at the peak of their powers. They have lost the eyeballs though. Two members had skull masks with grey dreads while the singer had an old clown face mask. I couldn't help but think that the singer's real face was probably quite similar to his mask. Anyway it was a hell of a nice surprise to be engrossed by this concert. Then I started regretting not going to see them when they played in Melbourne for the 'What Is Music?' festival in 2005. Those old dvds had really put me off. So now I'm wondering how much good stuff  I've missed. There's a good 25 years of their work I haven't explored. I'm guessing at least a quarter of it is probably good and quite possibly more.

Ye olde classics from The Commercial Album.

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