Thursday, September 07, 2006

TLASILA @ Syrup Room: Will We See You There?


The Syrup Room
100 Ingraham Street
(corner of Knickerbocker)
Brooklyn, NY
(East Williamsburg)
doors open 8pm / $8
(917) 608-2467


Rat Bastard, Don Fleming, Chris Grier, Graham Moore, Tom Smith, Andrew Wilkes-Krier, and Ben Wolcott.


Anonymous said...

i'll be there in spirit. Syrup room? and the damn waffle maker is here. I sent over at least one person in the area to check u guys out.

Andrew Schlaack said...

So how'd it go?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Your reality, perhaps. TLASILA have distanced themselves from the noise clique for more than a decade. Any cursory walk through the mountain of press the group have garnered over the years would indicate as much. The characterization of the group as a "noise band" is woefully inaccurate.

I saw them at No Fun 1 and twice during their God and Country Rally! tour (in Providence, RI and at Tonic in NYC). Both were extraordinary experiences. At the former event they delivered a blistering, completely unexpected drum and bass (!) set that left smug noise Philistines enraged and the audience joyous and utterly spent. The GACR tour dates were equally crazed - they received three encores at Tonic, and the audience, which I feel honored to have been a pert of, refused to let them go without a fourth. Instead of continuing, the band instead thanked us, genuinely, profusely, and begged that we allow them to "collapse quietly and die." Class.

Andrew W.K. is a very cool drummer, but his "schtick" had zero to do with TLASILA's performances. He was part of the band, nothing more, nothing less. Reality, mom ami.

Online zine Blastitude described their Chicago performance, which I'm guessing was similar in content to the ones I saw a week later, as "To Live and Shave in Lagos," pointing out the heavy Tony Allen/Africa '70 vibe (!!) the group emanated during their sets. Not many noise acts can even begin to identify such influences, much less inculcate them and put them into practice.

If anything, they're neo-concrete pyschedelia with heavy Fourth World and glam influences. There are dissonances, of course, but no full-on noise barrages.

(Tom Smith's penchant for stylistic disruption is also well documented. His most famous quote, uttered in the band's 2002 Wire interview, was "Genre is obsolete." Enter into their universe with that knowledge and the urge to evoke "noise" melts quickly away.)

Perhaps this knowing refusal of noise conventions and their desire to promote a genuinely eclectic aesthetic is the reason they are slowly, relentlessly, emerging from the obscurity you first ascribed to them.

Go check them out, and then make your determinations.

Love your writing. Keep up the excellent work.


Posted by Mathias Phauss on August 7, 2006 06:49 PM

I'm certain the many fans of TLASILA would take unbrage at your characterization of them as "obscure" - they have 15 albums to their credit, at least two of which are considered "masterworks" ("30 Minuten Mannercreme" and "The Wigmnaker in 18th Century Williamsburg"), have been around since the early 90s, and are considered - quite correctly - as one of the wellsprings of inspiration for the recent convulsion of global neo-noise activity. While obscure compared to, say, mainstream arbiters who promote and defend the likes of Barenaked Ladies, they are very well known in those pesky certain circles. Andrew W.K. was a friend of group founder Tom Smith for 10 years before the former joined their storied ranks. Reports indicate their two forthcoming albums raise the bar set by "Wigmaker" even higher... Fear not, Zoilus - they're no scam. Of course, one girl's vegan stew is another writer's stomach flu.

Posted by sylvia on August 7, 2006 09:57 AM

Anonymous said...

I was at the Syrup Room show in Brooklyn. Surprised not many people were there - 30 max? I felt like 90% of the crowd were in one of the bands. The two openers were nothing to write home about. Was the tonic show more well-attended? What did Rat do? I've seen Laundry Room a few times and they were always quite amazing.

The set seemed strangely rock - much less cut up and spastic then what I expected. The sound guys did not seem to be doing a very good job as Tom's vox (always excellent nonetheless) were SO loud in the mix. There were a couple/few girls there who I suspected were there on the basis that "this is one of AWK's bands" - anyway they seemed confused. I bought a copy of "30 minute mannercreme" and am listening to it now. It's great. I am unclear if this is a reissue or if I made an awesome score by getting one of their earliest albums (it was normal cd price). I spoke to AWK (who sold it to me) for a while but I was not too sharp due to being drunk-ish after a 40oz and two Pabst. He was really nice. It didn't look like him - maybe because he was clean-shaven? - but he looked so much younger and skinnier than pix I've seen, etc. Plus seen him with TLASILA at least once. Confusing. What seemed to be his girlfriend was in attendence and he referenced her in our conversation. I got home on my bike safely and greeted my good friend and recent bed/apt-mate (platonic), and put on the cd I bought. I was like "this sounds SOO different from all the rest of their stuff". She was like, "it sounds like Mouthus." I was skeptical of her assessment. Later I'd realize the disc changer had been playing another disc, not my new TLASILA. A Mouthus disc was indeed in there, in one of the six slots. So right now is my first real listen. It's good, it's definitely recognizable as TLASILA. Maybe not as dense but every bit as spastic, and aggressive, and weird. My Mac will not read it so i can not put it on my iPod.

-B R O W N T H U N D A on myspace

Marnie Elias/PGC said...

Tonic attendance, 100 max. Syrup, perhaps 30. Those are shocking numbers for TL&SLA in New York. The culprit was most likely Todd P, the scam artist who "promoted" the gigs. (I saw no evidence of any promotion.) Too bad for TL&S, as both performances were way beyond wicked. Their karma is looking good, too - FFFF told me Shave gave them and the other opening group all the money from the door. Rat was very sly during both sets - he looked so cool... One side of the stage was going crazy (Smith, W.K., and the guitars), while the other (Rat, Ben, and a long-haired dude on laptop) burrowed deep into the soundmix. Great songs! Lousy sound both nights.

shelb don't ask for lessssss said...

heyyy marnie. yea, i'd haveta agree with you about promotion. if i had not been told by you about the syrup rm gig i would have never known. no posters were up anywhere in brooklyn. but maybe that's becuz the syrup has no liquor licence! tom s told he that it was booked by a "third party" (todd p) and he had no idea. it's not the first time todd has fucked a touring band.. too bad? prob., but tlasila were awesome. they'll find better gigs.

see you sun!


Anonymous said...

In Todd P's defense, he seemingly "promotes" all his shows in the same way: almost exclusively (as far as I can tell) thru the email/myspace/etc. medium. He has a HUGE email list apparently, and of course a website, Anyway, people knew, I think. Posters in this town are almost useless on the street - maybe better in record stores tho, etc. I think Todd was also still in South America when the show happened.

The syrup room is not the most accessible venue (unless you happen to live right there or ride bike), and it was on a Wed night. I was surprised, however, that more of the Brooklyn "noise" scenesters were not there b/c a lot of them live/practice in that general area (Bushwick/E Williamsburg) it because Tom has marginalized himself through much shit-talking? Hey, I'm not attacking him, I think he and TLASILA are fantastic...he's smart and knows what's up...however you have to admit that he shit-talks alot and that has it's consequences. It's something of a self-marginalization and I find value in that. Sometimes going to a poorly-attended show is refreshing, especially in this town, tho it undoubtedly always sucks for the touring or even non-touring bands! Anyway let me just end by saying that I think TLASILA are true innovators, some of the most sonically interesting and un-derivative stuff going, and that being "ahead of the times" (or perhaps before them, heh - the 'PRE') often comes with a certain isolation.


ommyth said...


The shows in NY and Brooklyn were fine by my reckoning; great audiences, friendly conversations with engaged fans and friends post-gig, the full gamut.

I have no beef against Todd P - I've never met him. He was kind enough to set up the shows with very little advance notice; if there was any fault in the promotion of the two shows, it must be shared by everyone involved, including TLASILA.

That noted, I had a blast! Our performance at the Syrup Room was one of the best of the tour.

As for "shit-talk," I speak my mind on occasion, and I stand by my words, always. More often than not I seem to be proved correct...

The light turnout gave us an opportunity to test ourselves, to rise above, to rock the fuck out for a select, discriminating, salivating few. It was an honor, and I am pleased that you were there.

For those about to post-concrete, we salute you!

Thanks for your posts!


ommyth said...

Hello Marnie, Shelb...

I'd just as soon focus on the music, and not on the promotion of the gigs. Really, it's no big deal. We've slumped through SRO gigs and sailed through performances where small, shuddering pods of enthusiasts croaked affirmations.

Would we have preferred thousands of snarling fans lined around the avenues of East Williamsburg? I suppose, but given that we would all have subsequently suffocated, the petite contingent assembled was sufficient.

Gabba Gabba,


B Mik O said...

Hey TS, don't sweat. Shave were phenomenal at Syrup Rm. If anything, it's our collective (heh!) loss for not attending. Last time, at Tonic, TLASILA came off like some runaway bizarro-world fusion of Fela and KK Null. On Wesdesday, it sounded like the Walker Brothers led by Hermann Nitsch conducting the Penguin Cafe Orch! Whatever it is you're smoking, dude, light one up for me! Amazing... And for what it's worth to you, it was a class thing for TLASILA to give all the money to the opening acts. Some may remember your salty tirades, but real fans remember kindnesses.

You guys are #1.

B Mik!

Todd Patrick said...

hey -

early September before the college kids get back is a crappy time to play in New York - nobody ever comes out to shows late August / early Sept - particularly not on Mondays and Wednesday nights.

These shows each had more like 60 people at each of them - and they were promoted exactly how I promote every other show I do - soem do great, some bomb, most do excatly as well as their lineups warrant.

Everybody who could give a shit knew about these shows. There was write up in Time Out, in Village Voice, Brooklyn Vegan, Pitchfork, in the fuckin' New York Times - and the band promoted the second show live on WFMU. Whoever was in town, didn't have to work, and would have wanted to come knew about them and came.

Case in point: the show I promoted this last Saturday, in exactly the same way, from South America, and in a way more remote location - only four days later, but after the NYU and Columbia and Pratt and SVA and New School calendar years started up - drew over 750 people.

A show I organised on less notice, with less promotion, completely from South America, the weekend before, drew 800 (Oneida + Black Dice.)

I've also gotten as many as 350 people out to the Syrup Room on Monday nights before, so location is not the issue. It's half a block from the subway station. The Tonic show, which couldn't have been better located, did equally, so that would also seem to make location a moot point.

If there was a problem for these TLASILA shows was timing - but I think the shows did about as well as they could have hoped to do on a Monday and Wednesday in the first week of September in New York.

If you weren't into the openning bands, talk to TLASILA, as they were their choices. Reports I heard said they were all good.

I love that Marnie also hated the sound *both* nights. Let me tell ya' - Tonic is in charge of their own sound, and it's supposedly the best in the business, with some of the most turned on sound guys you will ever find anywhere. The Syrup Room system had high quality, perfect condition Mackie mains, subs, and monitors. We're not talking shitty PA's here.


Todd Patrick said...

hey Shelb -

"it's not the first time todd has fucked a touring band"

oh really? because I would say you're full of shit. I have for years, consistently given touring bands either huge sums of cash for their efforts, the exact adequate amount for their stature, or money pulled right of my own pocket on so many occasions that I don't begin to keep track.

It's funny, I usually get grumbles for paying the touring bands more than their draw (ie. - giving the door money that locals might think is their due to the needier touring bands), but here you're shitting me from the other angle. Which one is it?

Some shows do great, some shows bomb, almost all do exactly as they're due to do. I treat them all the same.

Anyone taking on as much as I have will occasionally drop the ball, but I "screw" touring bands, be it either in under-promotion or in some pay disagreement, about a hundreth as often as your average shitty - or respectable - club. And I take on about as many shows a month as most of them.

For this I get quintuple the shit talk. Why aren't y'all out there debunking Alan Licht? He was as involved in this as I was.

If I'm such an unqualified prick - why is it so many bands keep approaching me to organise their show? I hardly have any monopoly. Ask the bands, they come to me, I don't seek them out. I must be doing something right.


ommyth said...

Hello Todd,

Good to hear from you; I'm happy you took the opportunity to respond to your critics. This is an open forum, and substantive dialogue is crucial.

Personally, I'd like to thank you for your efforts - on short notice you did us a solid.

The turnout was a bit of a disappointment, but there's always next time. New York has always been very good to us, and we hope to be in its good graces when next we return.

We've no complaints - a fantastic bunch of people made the effort to attend the gigs, and the Williamsburg date was the best of the entire tour.

Hope this finds you well.



Todd Patrick said...

hey there Tom,

thnaks for the kind words, support appreciated. Pleasure working with you guys, would to do another show for you guys another time through, will in all likelihood not be in another hemisphere next time around.


M*P*Lockwood said...

The Syrup Room show was great! I was totally surprised by the new sound but totally loved it too. This is truly post-genre music. The band was really on fire and working as an effective single entity.

Yeah, Tom's vocals were cranked, but y'know, he's the frontman and it's better than them being inaudible. And as I think has been cleared up, there's no cause to rag on Todd P, he only puts on a show (or 2) every single day of the year. I found out about it, people were there to see the band.


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