Monday, November 17, 2008

The Best Live Performance I've Ever Seen

Recently I saw these guys play at the Goodfoot in Portland, OR, and I can easily say that they put on the best live performance I've ever seen. They trumped Radiohead, Bjork, Keith Jarrett, Tom Jones, and Jesus Jones easily within their first 15 minutes.

Their set-up was simple but effective - an ipod nano, mounted in what looked like a Native American teepee/Buddhist shrine and surrounded by glowing voodoo skulls. A large gong suspended behind them, and lit tiki torches lining the stage with tribal masks and fake plants snaking around them.

Goldenface and Getty, two vocalists of Skabb, emerged from the wings in twin velvet hooded robes, moving across the stage reverently to what sounded like Gregorian chanting with pan flute and a RZA beat under it, and proceeded to pray to the Nano shrine until a man in a lab coat and goggles (ostensibly the one called "Braun Krauss") struck the gong, signaling their first song - Liar Liar.

What followed is impossible to describe. It was like a sweat lodge in there - and not just because these guys were donning tribal head dresses and putting wampum down girls' shirts. Goldenface and Getty put out enough aerobic force to power London, while Braun Krauss kept his finger on the pulse of the crowd, sometimes literally: in one segment he lured women on stage to listen to their palpitations with an enlarged stethoscope hung around his neck like Flavor Flav MD, matching the bpm of the pounding kick to the the flustered girl's heart rate, which was purportedly rising as Getty molested her left leg. In another, Goldenface lit Getty's robe on fire with a tiki torch, then poured red wine over his head to put it out! With the loudest kick drum I've ever heard thumping, stripped bare of the heavy synthesis and funk bass prevalent in their music, Getty fell to his knees and begged the ladies in the front row to "partake of my sacrament." Basically, this dude had 3 hipster chicks lick wine off him and then launched full on into their most sacrilegious anthem - Beat Baptism.

It was a circus. It was an alien siting. It was a 40-minute blitzed weight-loss program. It was Skabb.

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