Don’t get me wrong. I’m as excited as the next guy that Roue’ are once again rupturing ear drums on Cleveland stages. After taking most of 2007 off for some down time, they looked refreshed, sounded fierce, and even better, they were having fun up there. Who knew glow sticks could the the source of so much ironic fun?
However, they weren’t the ones that got me down to Pat’s in the Flats on Saturday night. That would be the opening band, Gowns, and a 10-1 lead by the Boston Red Sox over the Cleveland Indians. More specifically, it was the disgusting feeling of seeing our city’s World Series hopes sail over the Fenway Park outfield walls, and it was one song by Gowns, the wonderfully abstract and engaging, “White Like Heaven.” On disc, Erika Anderson’s wide-eyed narrative is much more nuanced. The ominous hum accompanying her futuristic visions is broken, reconstructed, and punctuated with clashing cymbals, thundering drums and bright, crackling, cascading noise. Now, touring as a four-piece band with bassist Aaron Davis (Acre), and improvisational drummer, Jacob Felix Heule, joining Anderson on guitar and Ezra Buchla (ex Mae Shi) on viola and electronics, “White Like Heaven” has undergone a transformation. Whereas the recorded version worked with tension and release, the live performance dismissed nuance and subtlety in favor of a cacophonous whirl of reverb and static. Heule, in particular, was a joy to watch. During the introduction, he made the most exquisite screeches by stretching a bow across the cymbals, then, as the band were covering the crowd with solid sound, he skewered his kit with wonderfully, syncopated rhythms. It was a wildly different interpretation, yet, just as engaging as the original.