Ecosystem Review - 5/23/98
On Saturday, May 23, as reported earlier, Ecosystem was held in Madison, WI. I arrived 40 minutes late, at 2:40 PM, but the concert started 45 minutes late, so I didn't miss anything. It was sunny and about 70 degrees at Marshall Park along the shores of Lake Mendota when the concert started. It was a concert unprecedented in history, if for no other reason than it was the largest number of skinny white guys ever assembled in one place. Ecosystem was "the second step in a series to redeem nature's chaos," the first one being a show in October where, basically, a lot of stuff was broken. This show, according to organizer Derek Falky, was about starting over, and knowing that they've come from simply what they are. The "pseudo-intellectual" chatter was interrupted by a plea for donations, since the concert cost almost $300 to put on, which I later obliged.
The first act was Madison Music, Inc., whose "Nintendo techno" and laid-back button-pushing style proved to be in sharp contrast to the next act, The Christmas Trees, which consisted of "Washing Machine," "Air Conditioner," and "Dehumidifier," three people dressed in angel wings and halos. They seemed to have deep, repressed angst about squirrels stealing sunflower seeds from their backyard gardens, as that was what most of their songs were about. The songs themselves consisted of the lead singer screaming into the microphone and rolling around in the dirt, the backup vocalist doing much the same, and the drummer banging away on... drums. The drummer (who looked remarkably like Derek Falky) would also tip the drumset over and play it horizontally, and at one point brought a lone cymbal in front and played that solo.
After this, the comparably mellow sounds of Wikler and Jacobs played for about 25 minutes. Their set consisted of Rebirth-esque techno, and was generated using a desktop computer and a few other instruments. After W & J finished up, it was time for Mako vs. Girl Next Door. They took a while getting their equipment set up, but it was worth it in the end.
Who is this mysterious Mako we keep on mentioning? Well, I'm glad you asked, because for a limited time only, The Underground Online is proud to offer an exclusive Mako mp3, "Fighting Tita." Just clicky on the little link to the right for six minutes of Mako-licious goodness.
|Fighting Tita - 1.34 MB|
|From the 1998 release Traverse The Overworld|
|(courtesy of Strange Attractor Records)|
Mako and Girl Next Door opened with "1000 Ways" and "No Thing," two songs from the new Girl Next Door EP. Equipment proved once again to be a bit of a problem, with sound levels and various pieces of technology malfunctioning, but nonetheless the stuff sounded good. After
those two songs, the duo performed "1-2 Checka," one of Mako's songs, with Mako operating the drum machine and the Girl Next Door on the keyboard working the samples. Finally, they closed out the set with a new song by Mako showing off his new style, as he will soon be changing his name (The Artist Formerly Known As Mako?). The song, entitled "Fed Up," as The Underground learned during a special screening of the material Friday night, was the most furious techno of the day, and Mako urged the crowd to go nuts during the performance. Derek Falky obliged by continuing his frenetic dance.
|Mako vs. Girl Next Door Setlist|
|1. 1000 Ways|
|2. No Thing|
|3. 1-2 Checka|
|4. Fed Up|
After things quieted down following Mako vs. GND, and a few sales of Girl Next Door EP were made, Astronaut Ice Cream Headache took the stage. "Beeshu Records Sex Symbols #1 & #5," Mike Wendt and
Dave Andrae put on a robotic performance not seen since the Beeshu Records show at the Rave back in March. Their set remained in full bizarre force, even though during the song "Little Boys," Mike said the word "assholes" a bit quieter than usual in the refrain, "All the little boys are dead/Their assholes are bloody and red," due to the 5-year-old girls that, for some reason, were in the audience. Their setlist, as shown, contained a bunch of favorites from their release White Boy Keyboard Jazz. In their closing song, Dave beat the drum so furiously that he broke a drumstick, and later gave it to the girl, warning her to be careful of splinters. After they were done, Mike complained that he had a headache. Underground sources have confirmed that it was, in fact, an astronaut ice cream headache.
|Astronaut Ice Cream Headache Setlist|
|1. 1980's Computer / Kid Movie|
|2. Little Boys|
|3. Chemistry (going into "I Can't Concentrate" at the end)|
|4. Fucking Mike|
|6. Astronaut Ice Cream Headache|
I was about to leave, and had even handed Mr. Falky a five-dollar and two-dollar bill donation, when The Mattsimmons took the stage for a special show. The Mattsimmons worked percussion, while Chris Olson of The Afo Zankey Band played guitar, and previously mentioned five-year-old girl Ashley Stacy lended improvisational vocals. The Mattsimmons churned out a beat on a snare drum and cymbal, while Ashley Stacy sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." During a pause in which Ashley Stacy went to tell her dad something, The Mattsimmons took off his shirt and filled the gap in lyrics by repeating "transistor radio" over and over again. It was a sight not to be missed.
Well, after all that, I gave the now-shirtless Hospital Records co-owner some copies of The Underground, wished him well and left, as clouds were forming overhead and there were quite a few bugs swarming around. You, however, can continue your journey into the Ecosystem by clicking on the fine links provided below.
The Girl Next Door homepage.
Beeshu Records' Astronaut Ice Cream Headache bio page.
The Totally Unofficial Astronaut Ice Cream Headache
Beeshu Records' The Mattsimmons bio page.
Back to the main page.