04. October 2008

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche


David Thomas: voice; Keith Moliné: guitar; Robert Wheeler: EML synthesizer, theremin, keyboard; Michele Temple: bass; Steve Mehlman: drums

Do we really have to introduce Pere Ubu, the pioneers of art punk? Founded in 1975 in Cleveland, Ohio, the city of heavy industry, Pere Ubu was quickly identified as the missing link between Velvet Underground and Punk; a band that took up the mechanisms of pop music in order to deconstruct them. The band around the charismatic, to put it mildly, corpulent singer David Thomas, who prefers talking of avant garage rather than art punk, plays an expressive and explosive mixture of Midwest garage rock, musique concrète, falling-apart song structures and queer singing—theatrical and surreal, without any sense following Alfred Jarry’s great King Ubu.

To get us in the mood for admiring a musical attitude that allows us to view reality in a different perspective, we don’t need to go as far as Edwin Pouncey, who wrote in The Wire: “They are the greatest rock’n’roll band of the century, and probably of the next, too.” The band’s constellation changed a couple of times over the years—from Mayo Thompson (Red Krayola) to Christ Cutler (Henry Cow), to name but a few band members. David Thomas liked to recruit his musicians from Cleveland in order to fall back upon a common stock of experiences about the city and America. The concert in Krems mainly brings music from the last, highly praised CD “Why I Hate Women“, a rather dark album with the lights of a love song occasionally coming through. “This is an irony-free recording”, the booklet reveals. We’ll see…

© Lex van Rossen

© Lex van Rossen