Autoclave/Beat Happening @14 Cabaret, Baltimore, MD 3/2/91
This show was the first time I have seen Beat Happening live in three years, and boy, was it worth the wait. The 14 Cabaret in Baltimore us a nutty art place with a carrot clock on the wall, so right off you know the bathrooms are weird, the Cokes expensive, and the clientele annoying.
Autoclave were pretty amazing. They started with the God-Like “Dr. Seuss?”, so after that I was pretty loopy. Lead singer Christina Billotte sported a self-inflicted black eye in honor of the up-and-coming supergroup of the same name, and Nikki wore a dress. Anyhow, the whole set was pretty insane since Mary had just gotten to town, but the tour was better than spring break in Daytona, right? All in all,a good start to the five-date Autoclave/Beat Happening pairing.Setlist: Dr. Suess, Still Here, Paperboy, Summer Wine, It’s not Real Life, Vision, HotSpur, Nikki Song, Song #1, I’ll Take You Down
Autoclave/Nation of Ulysses/Beat Happening @DC Space, WDC 3/4/91
This was the show, baby. Of course Space is the Place, and all the bands were in fine form. From the moment I heard the soundcheck, I knew this would be a magic evening. And it’s lucky I even heard the soundcheck- that Cracker Jack Ingrid was running the door. What a gem. Anyhow, this was the best I’ve ever seen Autoclave. And Christina wasn’t even wearing that thing on her head. Heck, they were so great even I couldn’t snag the setlist. The audience was lovin’ it and so was I, man, Melissa didn’t even have to mention that it’s from a video game called Paperboy. They were the AC from DC, and they were truly on their turf tonight. This was the night dreams and Christina did a particularly manipulating version of “I’ll Take you Down”. How do you feel. Gasp. Good Lord.
Ulysses/Beat Happening/Autoclave/Fugazi @University of Connecticut 3/7/91
Lois, Kool Thing that she is, rented a car to go to this show and let me come along for the ride. II brought the Cadbury Mini Eggs, she brought the home-spun country knowledge. Check out the bill. This is your Altamont. Without getting killed by security guards who are Hell’s Angels. Getting there from Bethesda was pretty painless, except for that bouncing tire coming our way that time. We did meet up with a toll booth woman named Lola Transue, whois to become the bassist for Courtney Love. Lola, at her most precocious,also told one tollbooth guy to “Rock On”. Anyhow, we got to the campus and asked a cute boy where the rock show was, and he explained. Once there it was red tape city until Guy found us, and we came just in the nick of time to see Ulysses go on stage. But wait. Where were the Autoclave girls? I didn’t come all this way to miss them. Oh, they were lost in New Jersey at this point, the poor dears. Godspeed, wherever you are along the lonely highway.Please come safe.
Ulysses were pretty insane. Ian was wearing his new two-tone shoes and hadn’t gotten used to them for his dance moves. And then he kept falling off Fugazi’s monitors. But the crowd loved them. The drums sounded incredible thanks to James Canty, now known simply as “Mr. Show business.” Overall, NOU did DC proud. (When don’t they?) And guitarist Tim Green ended the sublime performance by collecting the roses and blowing kisses to the entire audience.
With still no sign of Autoclave (amid speculation that they were hiding in an attempt to headline the show), Beat Happening took the stage. Calvin wore a yellow shirt. The sound was*loud*, and the Happening rocked hard when they rocked. Unfortunately, the sound system kept screwing up major. It’s hard (and rare) not to see Calvin in complete control of the situation. And poor Heather. “I Love You” hadextra lyrics tonight, but the high point was Midnight-a-Go-Go. Ian Svenonius rushed the stage in hopes of winning a free Beat Happening single, but was beat out by some dweeb. Revolution come, and gone.
Thank the Good Lord Autoclave arrived safely, having finally made their way across New Jersey. They rocked way hard, even though they had just spent so long in the car and probably felt like fluffing up their hair. New life was breathed into the 10 Autoclave polished pebbles, as staggered start times were tested for a more rippled effect. By the time the strains of “I’ll Take You Down” began, the audience was one huge mass of frenzied, sweaty dancing fools. And who could blame them. The incredible Hot Spur ended the set, and this was the best I’ve ever heard it-Christina, Mary, Melissa, and Nikki blended perfectly and supremely for the master Autoclave mix. It made me want to sterilize petri dishes. Baby.
All live reviews by Erin Smith from Action Teen fanzine. Reprinted without permission.