A Public Appreciation of Our Friend's Band or "I've Got A Full On Robot Chubby"


Our friend Mike plays guitar in a band called Russian Circles. I've seen Dakota/Dakota (Mike's former band) and Russian Circles more than I've seen any other bands, I really appreciate Mike's talent. Beyond that, I've learned about so much music I love from Mike so it's no trouble that I've seen his bands a hundred times. In fact, it's helped me develop a more critical ear.

Which leads me to the meat of this guest post, the Russian Circles shows at Schubas on Saturday. Listening to loud bands at Schubas is awesome, because the intimate venue is wood paneled and the stage is totally accessible at eye level, so the audience can really appreciate the shredding, so to speak. I met Ryan, Micah, Booze and the gang at the show (including Tim, in white jeans) after seeing another group of heavy bands, Raise the Red Lantern, Suicide Note and Lords at Beat Kitchen. I was stoked to end the night with Russian Circles. Ryan and I decided to stand front and center for their late set. By the by, if there was going to be a crushing anxiety contest, Ryan and I would be the clear winners. We will destroy any challengers with our general fears of "outside", making eye contact, talking to strangers, or being too close to people at shows or anywhere else. Our logic on Saturday was stand in front of the stage, where you must focus on the band alone. It was a total revelation; we hardly noticed the vast crowd behind us and were overtaken by a solid performance.

Though we stood on the bass side- and got a full earful of Brian Cook's deep and downright beautiful bass tones - I couldn't help but pay full attention to Mike's playing that night. He sure treats his guitar like a lady. Ha, that was really creepy! But seriously, the way he plays is really physical. There is of course his trademark tapping and doing whatever he does with all those pedals, but he also maneuvers his guitar in this wave-like motion that allows him to manipulate sound, making it travel and roll outward. It's a real treat. He's also paying close attention to what the kids call white noise; for example, creating feedback by getting close to his stacks. Although the crowd loves the singles (Death Rides a Horse, et. al), I thought the best moments of the set were the last seconds of the last song (sorry, hippies, i don't make set lists), when he laid his instrument down on the pedal board. I think they call this reverb, and it added a layer of noise that not only demonstrated the technical skills I'm raving about, but sounded fucking amazing. Noise is so brutal, you know?, but Mike made it sound about as pretty as any of the group's well-documented ambient tracks.

Side note: the absolute best part of the night may have been when I learned how Russian Circles titled their new album "Station," and it's title track. Have you seen Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey lately? I have. About six times this weekend. When the evil robot us-es come from the future in order to kill Bill and Ted and sabotage Wyld Stallyns' Battle of the Band performance (and to take advantage of the princesses), Death takes the duo to heaven to meet god, who introduces them to Station, two Martians/the best scientists in the universe. Station only uses one word to communicate, "station," but they successfully build two good robot us-es, help Bill and Ted save the day, and most importantly join the Stallyns on stage by playing bongos. The movie is pretty intense, and I'm sure you wouldn't understand it. The point is, Jim Martin from Faith No More makes a cameo in the movie, and it obviously had a great effect on Mike.

Maybe the absolute best part of the night was hanging out with our friends, as it made me appreciate this summer so much already. Good hangs everyone! Special thanks to Emperor Cabs for (1.) building stuff for Russian Circles that make em so loud and (2.) getting me so fucking high after the show that I have yet to recover. I believe I only have 4-5 brain cells left.


Grecian Gringo said...

Bill & Ted: "Best 4 out of 7?"

Death: "Your Damn Right!"

Kelly said...

Hooray! Guest post by Stevie! Thanks for sharing the details of the show, I miss nights like that in Chicago.

Stevie said...

we miss you too kelly. but remember, if it wasn't for the previous intervention of our future us-es we would never have passed history.

Kati L. said...

oh man that's kinda nuts

i was way into dakota/dakota in high school