maandag 21 december 2009

Live report: Crash Course In Science

Since some years there is the Belgian Independent Music Festival (BIM Fest) in Antwerp. The line-up always features some 80's bands performing live. Sometimes in a way of an exclusive revival one off show and sometimes as a real come-back after some years of silence.
Last weekend (saturday 19 december 2009) there was one very special band on the bill. I had expected much more people from all over the world for this band but maybe the bad weather discouraged some people. Anyway... legendary cult band Crash Course In Science performed.
This American band was more of an art group and performance group as maybe a true band (in the rock 'n roll sense). They were active in the late 1970's and early 1980's and released only one 7 inch and one 12 inch EP. A total of seven songs only thus.
In a way they never really split up but just went on doing other art stuff with other people. But during the years their music proved to be an inspiration for (electronic) art (punk) groups around the world and excellent tracks for dj's in industrial, punk but also dance scences. I think their music is for sure some sort of proto-techno with its machine and industrial sounds but done with a real punk attitude.
This year a 3 LP box appeared with next to the 7 inch and 12 inch also the never finished 'Near Marineland' album, which was never mixed and released before. Next to that demos, live recordings and remixes where added.
So, why not a live performance? Even though I never really like to see 1980's bands on stage, as mostly it is not that good and it damages my way of listening to the music afterwards, I simply had to see Crash Course In Science. I had been thinking about what they would do. Would it be like hitting the "on" button for a backing tape with the old sounds?
Well... it simply was a great performance. It showed the band had been thinking about how and what to do on stage. The female musician and singer had a dress with all sort of lights on it and some light toys to swing around with. This looked really well on the very dark stage.
Also the set list was built very well. It was quite short maybe (or maybe it only felt that way) but with a very good energy throughout the set. Opening with the industrial track "Crashing Song" and going into the 7 inch tracks and the other 12 inch tracks spiced up with some tracks from the 1981 period that were meant for 'Near Marineland'. Building up to the climax of cult hit "Flying Turns" and coming back for the encore "Pompeii Spared". A demo track recorded for 'Near Marineland'. This could have become another cult hit if released back then.
The good thing about the concert was that the music was not simply the tracks as recorded back then. Crash Course In Science served their music in an updated way. You could identify the original songs but the sound was thicker and sounding contemporary but without sounding kitsch or over produced or trying to sound too modern.
In a way Crash Course In Science sounded more techno but only as a logical consequence of being a proto-techno band before. As the band has proven to be artistically important and influencal before, they have proven this weekend to be all but outdated. So this concert leaves me eagerly waiting to see the band perform again and to hear their current sound recorded and released.

Set list Crash Course In Science at BIM Fest 19 december 2009:
1. Crashing Song
2. Second Glance
3. Cardboard Lamb
4. No More Hollow Doors
5. It Cost's To Be Austere
6. Jump Over Barrels
7. Force The Habbit
8. Factory Forhead
9. Near Marineland
10. Flying Turns

11. Pompeii Spared

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