Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Live Review: Death From Above 1979 w/David Cross (DJ Sets)@Sonotheque 6/10/05

I've got to hand it to Biz 3 productions, they sure know how to throw a good party. Well, actually I guess they don't do much at the party, but they sure as hell know who to book for a party to make it a happening. In the past year, they've teamed up with Sonotheque to bring such amazing DJ set bills as Aesop Rock with Prefuse 73, El-P with Peanut Butter Wolf, Beans with Tunde (TV on the Radio) and A-Trak with Diplo. No self-respecting hipster can resist bills like those, and the narrow confines of Sonotheque quickly fill up, resulting in a long cue down Chicago Ave. for most of the night. Last week, Biz 3 hosted the latest installment of their DJ series at Sonotheque, this time pitting indie-rock duo Death From Above 1979 with uber-snarky, indie-rock lovin' comedian David Cross. The appearance of DFA '79 didn't excite me much, but I was really intrigued by the prospect of a David Cross DJ set at Sonotheque. While the cult popularity of "Mr. Show" still baffles me a bit, I think Cross is one of smartest and funniest comics in the biz right now. Thus, I was looking forward to a night of great music and wacky hijinks. Unfortunately, the whole thing was a bit anticlimactic. Cross did get on the mic a few times to make some sarcastic remarks, but you couldn't really hear him because they didn't turn the music down when he was talking. A couple of times it did appear that he was making fun of the Puma corporate sponsorship, holding up the shoe displays inside the DJ booth and thanking the footwear for "making this night possible." I did get a chuckle out that, but like I said, it was really hard to decipher exactly what he was saying, so I can only assume he was being sarcastic. The only sort of Cross-esque "wackiness" that ensued was the playing of a Rush song ("Tom Sawyer") and the theme to Cheers. [song rating: Two T-Shirts and a cup of jizz] Other than that, it was a fairly normal night at Sonotheque, except with more indie-rock played than usual. After getting to Sonotheque on 9 o'clock sharp to avoid the inevitable post-10pm wait outside, I threw in the towel about 12:30 and headed out. Part of me wanted to stick around for the odd chance that Cross might suddenly dive into a new stand-up routine or that Bob Odenkirk would come racing into the club at 1:50 for an impromptu Mr. Show reunion, but logic and beer fatigue prevailed and I bid adieu to Sonotheque for another night. -------- However, what seemed to have got lost in all the excitement of seeing indie-rock's favorite comedian spin records was the real reason the event was organized. The show was actually a benefit for underground hip-hop artist Dax Pierson, of the Oakland-based sextet Subtle, who suffered a serious accident while on tour this past February. I had always heard good things about Subtle and I especially took notice when their latest album was released by uber-hip Warp Records imprint, Lex. So when they were scheduled to play the Empty Bottle earlier this year along with one of my favorite Kranky recording artists, Keith Fullerton Whitman, I made a point to secure a ticket to the show. However, when I arrived at the Bottle the night of the show I was greeted with an ominous note at the door: "Show cancelled due to tour-ending accident." I was really bummed about not being able to see the show, and this was further enhanced by the seemingly serious nature for its cancelation. However, I could have never imagined the accident would have turned out to be as serious as it did. En route from Denver to Minneapolis, Subtle's tour van hit a patch of black ice on the interstate, causing it to spin out of control and crash. While the rest of the band came out relatively unscathed, Dax broke his neck in the accident and was immediately paralyzed from the waist down. Considering the seriousness of his injury, Dax is recovering relatively well, however, he more than likely will be confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. The chair alone that Dax now needs costs $30,000, so his friends and peers have been organzing and playing benefit shows both in the UK and the States to help raise enough money for all of his medical needs. Our goal is to raise $80,000.00 dollars, which will be just enough to get Dax properly equiped, moved into a wheel chair accessible home in California, and have a small nest egg which he may live off of. And the sooner we can secure this money the less Dax has to focus on something other than his health and a quick recovery... As usual, Friday night at Sonotheque was packed, so hopefully Biz 3, DFA '79, David Cross and company helped raise a significant amount of money for Dax since all proceeds from the night went toward his recovery fund. (This may be why Cross kept the wacky schtick somewhat on the 'DL' to not distract too much from the seriousness of the benefit.) Of course, in the end it really didn't matter whether he played Daft Punk or Dr. Demento records, you've really got to applaud Cross just for coming out to Chicago to do this unique, one-off gig (undoubtedly for little or no $$) in an effort to help out a worthy charity. Kudos to everyone involved and everyone who came out to support the cause...and of course, best wishes to Dax on a healthy and speedy recovery. For more info about the Dax Pierson Recovery Fund, vist: Technorati:


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