First, apologies to No Age. Not like they care, and not like it’s their fault (well to a degree it is) but the opening acts on this tour really stunk up the Wexner last Wednesday. It was perhaps the Wex’s fault (to a degree), as things there usually start on time, and it was taking way to long to get to the headliners. I’ve seen No Age, love the records, and live they do those blasts of noise and jumbled melody justice – but I just wasn’t feeling like the setting and the scene were appropriate this night. Sorry. So sorry.
It was Silk Flowers that began the evening. I thought at first this was a light-hearted take on Black Dice with three dudes doing playful things with synths and drum machines, in a semi-circle, surrounded by (sic) silk flowers. There was plenty of day-glo and neon and the type of color and tropical robotics I associate with the Smell --- but none of that came out of the wallpaper this band was slopping up the wall. The “main” dude couldn’t even keep a beat among all the knob-twiddle and goofy dancing.
Even worse was Soft Circle. I’ve liked the songs I’ve heard from this one-man band, pseudo-meditative psych loops and gamelan gong fun, but on stage he reeked of the indie-equivalent to Keller Williams – playing a little line here, then looping it, another one on the keyboard, then looping it, another guitar, then looping it, an annoying little chant, then looping it, then letting it boil before exploding on the drums for another six minutes. Predictable art-wankery – if this guy takes himself seriously, like so many in the crowd did, he’s probably the product of parents who actually like the music he makes. Which we all know is the opposite of what constitutes good music. That’s about the time we left.
The only highlight of the night was smoking till my eyes turned purple and exploring Not Al’s II – a bar on High Street I’ve never set foot in during the 13 years I’ve lived here. It’s a hole, but with no one around, a quaint, quiet, almost charming little hole. Too bad the Wex doesn’t have a watering hole to crawl into during such catastrophe. Even if the lack of great support has taken the No Age down a notch (just not buying the Smell as revolution kick) – I’m sure they’ll last long enough to get a chance to see them again. Again guys, so sorry.