Milky Way, January 25, 2009
The air downstairs at the Milky Way was a thick soup of body funk — the kind of stale coloration that a T-shirt stuck at the bottom of a pile of laundry tends to achieve after a few weeks. Not that this is inherent in New England noise rock, but it's one of the genre's prominent charms, right up there with flea-market amps, moth-eaten sweaters, and moldy low-end feedback.
The bill was listed as "Weird and Wonderful Western Mass." at the Milky Way. Bill Nace & Thurston Moore's Northampton Wools cancelled at the last minute, but that still left four crews of rural knob twiddlers, topped by long-running noise-jazz nightmare Fat Worm of Error, who've perfected the art of the wandering berserker rage. The band took to the stage on a foggy warble of cable moans and blasted into a kind of meterless take on Erase Errata — vocalist Jess Goddard in barking mode and guitars set to bacon-frying attack. They yelped and bit with Beefhearted skronk and precision, later pulling back for a few rounds of wounded mating calls from across the stage to one other.
It's easy to get wrapped up in the twisted circus standing in front of you at a Fat Worm show, what with guitarist Chris Cooper's projectile facial hair and Goddard's heaping pile of on-stage costume changes. But don't be mislead: Fat Worm can supersede the weirdo grandstanding with some genuine telekinetic chops. (Imagine a double-time US Maple.) At one point, Cooper revealed a vertiginous guitar melody that spun around on itself in a math-countdown disaster that swept the rest of the band up like a quickening whirlpool. On some magical cue, the bottom dropped in a sickening moment of ropy guitar-string rattle, everybody suddenly landing on his feet with a hobbled Mo Tucker beat and goose-honk guitar loop. It was alchemy — a shard of brilliant rock momentum from out of a haze of fuzzy speakers and, yes, some hefty BO.
: Live Reviews
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