MOTOR: Patternmaster, Airport, Megabats, Dee Jay Slow Live Show Review

Whereas Seattle still seems to be lagging well behind places like the Bay Area and Portland as far as potent psych rock goes, it has long been a haven for underground knob twiddlers of the more adventurous variety.

Years back, there was a regular, mainly noise-themed night at the Baltic Room called No Tomorrow, that basically died due to lack of interest or attendance. I went to quite a few of those and you could generally count on a turnout of roughly four people. I’m sure you could cite factors like shows being on the hard sell on Sunday nights, but I think you’d also have to address the harsh noise aspect of the whole endeavor and how a lot of times that might as well be chick (and gay guy) repellant. Unless I’m in a bad vibes or demonic purging type of mood, even I get fairly bored with endless swaths of monolithic pedal howling. You’ve got to soften me up before you head fuck me like that.

But these things never truly vanish into thin air; they just get pushed down to subterranean levels and then eventually sprout forth anew as a burgeoning seedling destined to bear the strangest of fruits. And so, a new and hopefully regular experimental electro night is born called Motor, curated by Sam Melancon, proprietor of the always compelling Debacle Records.

Seattle, WA @ The Comet Tavern – June 13th, 2012



It’s rare that I go to a show where I haven’t actually heard of any of the acts performing, but anything involving Debacle is guaranteed to be consciousness-disorienting, so I gladly bought the ticket and took the ride on this Wednesday evening.


Black Hat

I only caught like five minutes of the first act, Black Hat, so I’m not going to waste your time commenting on it, but it sounded groovy enough.


Dee Jay Slow

Dee Jay Slow was spinning tracks between bands, and I suddenly looked around to see no one. This doesn’t bode well, I thought to myself. Walked around the block smokin’ smokin’, and then came back in and actually started reading Sex, Drugs, and Magick by Robert Anton Wilson, which I’d just started re-reading earlier in the day. The influence that book subconsciously imprinted on me in my youth is far greater than I ever imagined. Slow’s psych-funk jams provided the perfect soundtrack to these epiphanies.



Next up was Megabats, which unbeknownst to me, featured the aforementioned Mr. Melancon. Fortunately, a few more psychic peeps had made their way in by this point. Megabats swirled through a brain-stretching set of potent sequencer acrobatics which took my inner self to a place above the clouds, where it frolicked amongst the space faeries for a wee bit. Their set only lasted for 20 minutes and I have no problem with that whatsoever. Four acts on a Wednesday night; it’s called form.



Airport was next, which is the one-man project from Jayson Kochan, the bassist for Midday Veil. Apparently Midday Veil are a legit super group of sorts, as every member has various other incarnations, this being the only one I’d never witnessed before. Disco jams typically aren’t really my vibe (a word derived from the term “astral vibrations”, which I’d just re-learned from R.A.W. earlier in the day), but in this case, it was trippy enough to amuse the crap out of me. He wore a funny outfit and brought his own visuals which consisted of a video tape loop of ’80s aerobics footage. Odd but effective. So effective in fact, that the way the footage kept going in and out of sync with the music sent me ruminating on things like the oddly synchronous Dark Side of the Moon\Wizard of Oz anomaly. To this day, my brother actually believes that Pink Floyd did that intentionally. The idea of a hidden hand taking control of the stoned mind and making soundless footage on television correspond to psychedelic tunage is something pretty much every head experiences at some point in their lives. It’s a rite of passage. I suddenly remembered an old friend and I completely freaking out while listening to Tool’s Aenima and watching Fritz the Cat on mute in high school. I then realized that since Fritz the Cat is now on Netflix streaming, and I somehow remember a crucial aspect of the synchronicity after all these years, I could fairly easily reproduce this exact effect to see if we were just high or if there was something more to the whole enchantment. See, this is why I go to events like this; I could never think of this stuff on my own.



After his set, while Dee Jay Slow again dropped the hits, I was craving another dose of sacred knowledge from Mr. Wilson. For like the second time in my entire life, I sat there reading between performers. I don’t want to make this a hobby but that book is… just… so… good. It was calling me. Anyway, Patternmaster (not to be confused with Phantomsmasher) then took the stage and again sent me floating up towards Candy Land. That’s some fancy twiddlin’ there, pardner. There were a couple accidental glaring mistakes, but the effect was decidedly spacey and awesome.


So, we’ll see if this whole thing catches on. I, for one, am rooting for it. Just one suggestion: “more visuals”. Bands are boring enough to look at; dudes toying around with elaborate audio science projects even less so. The Comet’s got its very own projector stand. Just sayin’.


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