Sunday, September 26, 2010

Uz jsme doma and the mysterious Building 16

Had a feeling there might be trouble with this show: Uz jsme doma headlining a bill with Providence, R.I., heavies Bellows, Normal Love and Whore Paint at the mysterious, if blandly, named Building 16 — a venue with no phone number and no web presence, which kinda made us wonder if it actually existed. Trolling the web, we managed to find an email address. Fired off an email with a couple pertinent questions, like how the hell do we get tickets? To which we got an auto-response telling us not to take it personally, it's just that they get so overwhelmed with email at the mysterious Building 16 that they could not possibly be expected to answer. Yeah, that's just great. Miroslav Wanek, frontman for Uz jsme doma, didn't have much more information when we cornered him before the band's Wesleyan University gig the night before. We did manage to find an address. On the Cuneiform Records web site, no less: 95 Empire Street. Which put it, more or less, right around AS220, where we had seen Uz jsme doma play about a decade ago. Which would have made things easy. If it were the right address. It wasn't. 

We asked a woman outside the club if she knew where Building 16 was. Yup. she did. It's In Olneyville. And Olneyville is ... where? She and her two friends had four answers to that question. But they were able to point us in the right direction. Then it became a simple matter of finding a single building in a sprawling, kind of dangerous neighborhood. The guy in the taco place said it was in one of the warehouses behind his building. The guys in the warehouse said that it was behind the chicken place. The guy walking on the street behind the chicken place told us he had never heard of it, but that we should definitely get the hell out of Olneyville because it is just too scary a place to be. We pulled into a parking lot to regroup, to find our needle in a Providence haystack. And that's when I noticed the the small white sign on the building across the street. It said Bldg 16. We couldn't possibly luck out like that, right? Nah. But when we drove got around to the front of the building, we spotted  UJD trumpeter Adam Tomášek and bassist Pepa Cervinka.

An interesting space. An artist's studio on the second floor of an old factory building. The entrance flanked by two toilets serving as planters filled with jade trees. A lot of milling about during the insufferable wait for bands to set up, the music starting anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours late, depending on whose lies you believe. The Cuneiform page was strangely silent on the subject. The local folks seemed to hit it just right, filling the house just before the music started. Must be a Providence kind of thing. Compelling set from the seriously heavy psychedelic band Bellows, which, without a doubt, has the most unusual instrumentation of any rock band you've encountered: drum, baritone sax and tuba. A frenetic, seizure-inducing (an elaborate garden lit by strobes dominate their set) and, at times, jaw-dropping set by Normal Love, another band difficult to get your head around with its startlingly original mist of pop, noise and extreme metal. Uz jsme doma, seeing where things were going, timewise, and looking ahead to a long haul to Montreal the next day, abandoned the headline slot to Whore Paint. They went on at about 11:30 p.m. and delivered something the other bands hadn't — songs, in the truest sense of the word. It was, necessarily, a shorter set, with only three songs from Jeskyne, the new album, but with the usual mix of tempo and emotion, from the blinding rage of Poslepu to the subtle beauty of Fikus, and definitely established a beachhead in Providence ... er, Olneyville.

Whore Paint, the riff- and rage-heavy all-female rockers, closed things out with a short, furious set that, unfortunatly for us, with a two-hour drive ahead of us, began at 1 p.m.

Here is the Uz jsme doma setlist: Poslepu/Blinded,  Kapka/Droplet, Mlha/Fog, Fikus/Ficus plant, Nevijak/Reel, Strach/Fear, Puklinka/Cranny, Telefon/Telephone and Napul/Halfway. Encore: Sopot and Jo nebo nebo/Yeah or or. For the record, the photo at the beginning on the blog item, showing Miroslav Wanek and Pepa Cervinka, is not from his show, but courtesy of Uz jsme doma.

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