Friday, April 22, 2005

Terrastock IV

@ the Show Box (Seattle, Washington)
November, 2000
Photos & Text: Dan Cohoon

I once again find myself on an Amtrak train heading to a city I have never been to before to attend yet another wonderful Terrastock. I roll into the Emerald City, stroll past the strip clubs and the tourist crap of Pike’s Place. The people throwing fish provide a few moments of entertainment. It is all show for the tourist but fun none the less. I stroll down by the water; I can see mountains in the distance and giant cranes in the water.

I head to the venue but it is not open yet. I turn my attention to finding a place to stay to crash. My brother was supposed to hook me up with this Phish taper dude but he had just lost his job and was not in the mood for free loading couch surfers. I locate a rad youth hostel across the street. It is actually clean, (except for the rotting wet clothing smell emanating from the locker below mine). The folk there are friendly. I read previews of the festival in the local papers in the lounge. They have internet that costs a dollar for 12 minutes. It is a racket but it is cheaper than a long distance phone call.

I go to the venue @ the appointed hour, actually well before. I chronically show up way too early to shows. It looks like I am not the only one with that problem. I cannot wait for the show to start. There are few other people in line before me. I wish I had gotten a three day pass so I could get one of those cool badges. I am only attending the last two days of the three day festival. I had just started my gawd awful job @ an awful alarm company. I missed the Friday show because I was in training. I run into Isobel from Bardo Pond outside the club. We exchange hellos.

Major Stars (photo: Dan Cohoon) Posted by Hello
The doors swing wide & I enter the glorious Show Box. It is an old club. It probably hosted a couple of old school Psych shows back in the 1960s. It is beautiful inside. They have a groovy light show going and two stages of music. The first band to play is the always wonderful Major Stars. For the first time I moved out to the west coast I am homesick for Boston. Many a Saturday I wasted in Twisted Village, in Harvard Square lusting after records I could never afford. I remember it was always great when I saw Wayne & Kate trotting around the square eating ice cream cones. Major Stars are so unbelievably heavy. The heaviness of their music is only matched by their awesome beauty.

I skip out after their set and get the most unremarkable Mexican food at the place next door (really it was sub-par Taco Bell). I head back to the club. Martyn Bates from Eyeless in Gaza does a pleasant acoustic set. Sub Arachnoid Space has a singer that looks like he stepped directly out of a Mother Goose book (he had the librarian specs on a string & a crazy hat). The evening really started rolling when Linus Pauling Quartet hit the stage. They take the best parts of Sabbath & combine them with the greatness of space rock. The high point of the first night of the fest is "Hall of Mirrors."

So it is @ this juncture in the evening that my memory gets a tiny bit fuzzy (heh, heh). Kate from Magic hour/ Major Stars said of the Deep Heaven events much like the decade known as the sixties, if you can remember them you were not really there. I do recall that I truly did enjoy the set by the Green Pajamas but I can't quite remember why. Perhaps it is that they just fucking rock.

Moe Tucker (photo: Dan Cohoon)Posted by Hello
Next up, the two least annoying members of the Velvet Underground play (Doug Yule & Moe Tucker). Doug Yules take of “Beginning to See the Light” had John Gibbons (Bardo Pond) humming it for the rest of the evening. My favorite moment was when Doug & Moe sang “I’m Sticking With You.” I know it's a really silly song but it always has held a special place in my heart.

John of Bardo Pond asks if I want to go hang out at the hotel where all the bands are staying. I say sure. Out on the street I buy a soft pretzel, a purchase I instantly regret. Maybe I have been away from Philly too long or maybe soft pretzels just in general suck. I pawn it off on the kids from Bardo who gladly devour it.

We stroll down the street in the chilly November night past smacked out heroin addicts lying in their own puke. On the hotel room's balcony Mike Gibbons pulls off a feat most admirable. The room is on the second floor. Some one shouts up from below, "Hey you guys want a beer?" The obvious answer is, "Yeah!" The voice below says, "Let me open it for you." Next an open tall boy comes sailing through the air; Mike catches it one hand and only spills a little bit. Such a feat of physical dexterity and artistry I have yet to witness since.

Clint & Isobel of Bardo Pond (photo: Dan Cohoon) Posted by Hello
After hanging out in Bardo's room for a bit, we head over to Abunai!/ Lothar's room. They have an impromptu jam session going on. Mike tells me of the fabled "brain machine." It is basically goggles that have lights that project into the wearer's eye. I do not get to check it out but I bore witness to someone who was under its spell.

We once again return to Bardo Pond's room where they watch golf (sorry to ruin your street cred guys). That is a little too crazy for me so I head back to the hostel. I stroll down the deserted streets glad that I have at least a bed to sleep on tonight. I did not for the first Terrastock. A night on the cold streets is something I do not want to repeat.
The next morn it is raining. I awake at seven (I went to bed @ 3:00 am, I think). I stroll around looking for coffee. I get some. I head over to Experience Music Project. I see the monorail A more useless form of public transportation I have not witnessed. The EMP building is as ugly as I heard. I do not go in the museum itself. it is insanely expensive. I do have fun in the gift shop playing this guitar with all these weird effects.

I go over to Pike’s Place for lunch. I get some seafood. I have not had any good seafood since I moved from Maine. It is weird I have been away from New England for a year (at the time of the fest) and this week end is the first time I truly got lonesome for it. In the afternoon I head to the art museum. There is a big exhibit of Pop Art going on. While not my favorite style it is interesting to see paintings I have seen in slides in person. The actual object is always less than pristine, which is beautiful. I think the museum is where I lose my bank card. I do not realize it until later on in the day. There is a music store across the street from the show box; I spend the afternoon playing crazy-ass percussion instrument (much to the delight of the store clerk I am sure).

Six Organs of Admittance (photo: Dan Cohoon) Posted by Hello
On the last night of the event the first great performance of the night is Six Organs of Admittance. It is a beautiful and cathartic show. The home boys & gal from Kinski played next. They I think are one of the better bands on the west coast; most certainly the best band to come out of Seattle. (It is so fucked up; the press in the NW is still hung up on all that crappy west coast grunge shit). I always find Kinski shows therapeutic. The volume & pure mass of their tunes really clear the head. I always feel ten times better leaving a Kinski show than I felt going in. This is my first time seeing these guys & since then I have seen them at least five times since.

Chris from Kinski (photo: Dan Cohoon)Posted by Hello
Bardo Pond's set is great. It is the first time I see any of the material from Dilate performed live. That record is a dramatic change for the band. Live it changes their show. There is now breathing space in the set where as before it was one wall of massive beautiful gunk.

Next up was the beautiful mythic Children of the Rainbow, a "legendary psych band," who had just returned from Hawaii. Actually it is Magic Hour reunited with the addition of Isobel (the only one who did not need a blond wig) from Bardo Pond. What was to be a joke turns out to be not a bad set.

The evening ends with the Frond Fish playing (Bevis Frond & Country Joe MacDonald). Some really genuine hippies turn out to see Country Joe & the Fish, which amuses all the self-aware space rock hippies. The weekend was full of peace & love. No I am not being a smart ass. There is genuine open heartedness & kindness between everyone involved. The fest could not have ended more perfectly as when I walk out the door and Clint Takeda & Ed Farnsworth (Bardo Pond) both give me high fives.

Ptolemaic Terrascope
Terrascope U.K.
Terrastock IV