Photos taken by moi, Eleana.
Click on for pix, setlist info, or whatever it falls under. will take you off-site (and opens in a new window).
All photos by etw. Got more? Send ’em in!
I’m not sure where I grabbed these from. If anyone knows, please let moi know.
I’m not sure where I grabbed these from. If anyone knows, please let moi know.
Some of these don’t have image credits—my apologies—if you took them, or know who did, lemme know!
Photos by Peter Kern.
So, the photos that are from “nixzine”, I can no longer find their website. If you took them, lemme know!
Photos by Berit, thank you!
I’m sorry to say I can’t remember where these came from. If you took them or know who did, lemme know!
Photos by Chris Esposito. Thanks Chris!
Photos by Chris Esposito and me where noted. Thanks, Chris!
All photos by Steph Melikian. Thanks, Steph!
Apologies to whomever took these, I don’t seem to have written down who took them. Lemme know!
All photos by Chris Esposito. Thanks, Chris!
Mary Timony: Witchy Woman
Just about the only extravagance Mary Timony allowed herself on stage a week ago Thursday downstairs at the Middle East was the faint sparkle of glitter she wore around her eyes. Well, that and the battery of effects pedals she employed for a guitar improv that climaxed in a symphony of feedback and space-rock noise during “The Golden Fruit,” one of nearly a dozen new songs she performed from her new solo album, Mountains (Matador). For some, the glitter may have been a reminder of the fairy-dusted feel of 1998’s The Magic City (Matador), the last disc Timony released with her band-on-hiatus Helium. Overall, though, her stripped-down solo set with Victory at Sea drummer Christina Files sounded like a statement of bold new purpose and direction.
After opening with the Helium number “I Am a Witch,” Timony moved quickly into new material. Aided and abetted by Files’s intuitive drum fills and syncopated bursts, she pushed the stark and cathartic “Poison Moon” toward a heated boil; at one point — cracking a tiny smile to herself — she even mumbled a few lines from the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” before abandoning the idea. It was that kind of fetchingly unkempt night: Timony, on her own but among friends, experimenting; taking a bit too much time tuning her guitar but shrugging off the inconvenience; dashing back and forth to grab her viola or hop behind a Yamaha keyboard like a kid eager to show her classmates what she brought to show-and-tell.
What Timony brought was a flurry of ideas: indie rock’s template of fractured rhythms and rueful, minor-key meditations (“The Bell”); a dose of baroque surrealism (“Tiger Rising”); a batch of chilly, prog-rock nursery rhymes (“The Fox and Hound”) whose subjects — watery graves, worlds of doom — were more Edward Gorey than Dr. Seuss. In a live setting, the ambition and risk at the heart of her tightrope-walking approach — not to mention the notion of her having left behind the established safety net of a well-regarded band — was made explicit, especially at the show’s somewhat tentative outset. But by the time Timony was kneeling over her effects boxes, taming the electric oceans of feedback that rolled in white-noise waves over the crowd, the glitter rimming her eyes was the last thing holding anyone’s attention.
From the Boston Phoenix, reprinted w/o permission
— Jonathan Perry, May 18 – 25, 2000
October 7, 2000
Versus / Mary Timony / Franklin Bruno @ Middle East (Cambridge, MA)
was to be published by Gigmania.com
You can’t call it nostalgia if it ends up looking forward. Sure, Franklin Bruno made a small joke about the night’s bill being a “Who’s Who of Indie Rock” circa 1993, but it wasn’t a comment that held any regret or sadness. In those supposedly halcyon days of the underground, Franklin was best known as the front man & songwriter for Nothing Painted Blue.His trademark in those days was his unique lyrics – intelligent, eclectic,scatological, and most often lovelorn. That hasn’t changed much in the past seven years. What has changed, however, is the backdrop of these marvelous lyrics.
Tonight, Daniel Brodo joined Franklin on stand-up bass. The evening’s set was comprised entirely of Franklin’s solo material – a request for a Nothing Painted Blue song was shot down by Franklin, noting that “that’s a different band”. That claim might seem flippant, but there’s a truth within it that becomes apparent after listening to a few songs. Taking the gentle lament of “Just Because It’s Dying”, or the insisted sway of Franklin’s don’t-let-the-bastards-get-you-down anthem “Idiots”,out of their bass and guitar setting would only weaken the songs. This sparse arrangement allows the strength of Franklin’s words and melodies to become readily apparent. Franklin spent some of the between-song banter apologizing for his performance, a totally unnecessary gesture. Whether he was playing a Jerry Vale cover (the remarkably concise “Two Purple Shadows”) or playing more of his show-tune-influenced originals (like the rollicking forbidden romance ditty “Love’s Got a Ghetto”), Franklin acquitted himself quite nicely. The highlight of the show was a new song entitled “Janet Shaw”, a ballad about a “contract ingénue” with “no box office draw” whose face and work are almost completely forgotten. Franklin’s lyrics tell the story of him finding some publicity stills at a garage sale, and digging up her filmography and other details about herlife. It’s a heartbreaking character study, and as spellbinding a performance as one is likely to ever witness.
Mary Timony has also been known to cast spells, but of a different variety. When she first emerged (as the head of Helium), her songs were both caustic and cerebral, with their impressionistic lyrics and thick, plodding guitarwork. Her work has matured somewhat, its initial anger giving way to a more measured, classical approach, and its guitar-noise aesthetic allowing for more instrumentation and varying emotion. Her latest released, Mountains, is also her first solo album, and arguably herbest work – it’s a concise amalgam of Helium’s youthful aggression and the group’s latter calm. Her live show usually bears this out – she jumps from electric piano to guitar to viola, sure-handed on all three instruments, while Christina Files (from the excellent Boston rock outfit Victory At Sea) plays drums.Tonight, however, her performance lacked both the force and restraint of previous performances – she seemed both tentative and rough, which led to messy,shapeless performances of otherwise excellent songs. The final song she performed was endemic of this – it was a slab of noise of indeterminable length, with Mary mouthing off to the microphone like a medicated Mark E. Smith. It was an unfortunate off night for a usually dependable performer.
Thankfully, Versus didn’t suffer from this malaise. Touring behind their first full-length album in 2 years (the Merge Records release Hurrah), Versus rocked with the power and economy that’s always marked their best work. The new songs they played (guitarist Richard Balyut’s “Eskimoon Ice”, bassist Fontaine Toups’ “You’ll Be Sorry”) showed the growing strength of the group’s songwriting. However, it was when Versus dug into their back catalog (with”Mercy Killing”, from Secret Swingers, or “Underground” and “MorningGlory”, from Two Cents Plus Tax) that the crowd really got into the music. Versus seemed to enjoy the older songs as well, tearing into them with zest and aplomb. The group seemed loose and confident on stage – Richard,Fontaine, and even 2nd guitarist James Balyut switched off on vocals,and the mini rock epic “Frederick’s of Hollywood” featured a Gregorian chant-like interlude, with arms raised in praise and mouths agape. You almost expected some dwarf Druids to dance around a miniature Stonehenge. The groups’ 2 song encore showcased the best of Versus’ range. The first song wasa ballad with country overtones, featuring Richard affecting a near-croon.The second song was”B-9″, a scorching number off their first album, TheStars Are Insane. When the crowd caught wind of what was happening, itcheered, waiting for the song’s inevitable climax to erupt. The pastis nice to visit, but it’s the future that’s more exciting.
Mary Timony: Mythic Peaks
There’s always potential for silliness when rock gets mythic, but there’s also the possibility that a little magic might happen. Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge”may have nailed an entire genre, but at the end of the day it didn’t makeLed Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore” any less haunting.
Mary Timony is currently deep into that mythic world; her set at Lilli’s this past Friday even began with a trio of keyboard songs whose echoing electric-pianosound was guaranteed to make you think of Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.” Then again,one of those songs was “I Fire Myself,” whose violent/sexual imagery was a long way outside Robert Plant’s realm and whose love/betrayal theme sounded heart felt. That’s why Timony’s mythic excursions work (and for that matter why Zeppelin’s did): they’re attached to grabbing tunes and a strong emotional core.
Timony has stuck to the same format since putting Helium on hold last year; it’s still a two-piece band with Christina Files on drums (Timony played guitar for most of the set, with occasional swings to keyboard and viola).She’s gotten better within the limitations of that format, using various guitar pedals to fill in the bass frequencies. Still, the sound got notably fuller when a third musician came on stage (the Pee Wee Fist’s Pete Fitzpatrick, who played euphonium on the poppish “Ride on the Stormy Sea”); and a bass player would give the duo more room to cut loose. There’s also no good reason to ignore the Helium catalogue, which isn’t that far removed from her solo album Mountains (from which came the entire set save for one new song, “Pirate”).
Of course, Timony’s always gone her own way — even in Helium days, she’d throw out the old songs whenever there was a new record — and she usually provides good reason to come along. So it was with Friday’s set, which had its big rock peaks, its joyful pop flashes, and it’s haunting melancholia– but as usual with Timony, it was strongest on the last. Files is a sparer drummer than Helium’s Shawn King Devlin, but she showed a good sense of when to hold back and when to throw in some King Crimson-esque polyrhythms. Timony remains a magnetic, mysterious figure on stage (even when technical problems caused her to break into giggles), and she did her best guitar heroics on the closing “Poison Moon,” which built to a feedback-heavy finale. Somewhere the elves and dragons were dancing.
Blake Hazard was joined for the second half of her set by Jack Drag mainman John Dragonetti, whose atmospheric guitar and keyboard loops blended well with the natural charm in Hazard’s jazz-inflected pop. (The two aremaking an album together for release next year.) Opening the night were Headset, a renamed and reshuffled version of Shyness Clinic; they managed to sound as sensitive as the earlier band while playing much louder. The My Bloody Valentine-style guitar demolition on their closing number didn’t hurt their sincerity a bit.
— Brett Milano
reprinted from the Boston Phoenix 11/16/2000, w/p permission
Hey, I can’t remember where these photos are from. If you took them or can remember where they’re from, let me know, so I can give credit where credit is due.
Thank you to Steph Melikian for these photos! Thank you to Eleanor for one of these photos!