Sunday, May 13, 2007

Secret Chiefs 3 live review: 12 May 2007 melbourne

Secret Chiefs 3, Saturday 12 May 2007, at the East Brunswick Club, Melbourne. (ad from Inpress Magazine)

the gig was amazing, just as you'd expect. most of the guys pictured (photo below from their label's site) were there, and i can't be bothered working out all their names from the SC3 site.

there were 8 musicians on stage most of the time, occasionally i could only see 7, but it was hard seeing the drummers and occasional others at the back. from l -r in the photo: one of the insane drummers, possibly Ches Smith? (along with Danny Heifetz, not pictured), then Eyvind Kang wasn't there - which my wife and i were very dismayed about, but fortunately the other violinist was nothing short of amazing, Trey Spruance, obviously, looking great with massive goatee, that ninja dude in the front could have been Rich Douchette, and played this thing (photo from SC3 site):

then the dude to the right of 'ninja man' was the amazing new violinist (i think Timb Harris), who really impressed the crowd (and even pulled out a trumpet in the middle of Renunciation, the last song of the 2nd encore), then the final dudes at played keys (can't work out who he might be) and bass (i think Shahzad Ismaily), of course, also really impressively. Bar McKinnon was also there on flute, sax and other. and i think Adam Stacey might also have been there on keys and wind instruments and maybe other percussion, but now that makes 9... oh well. and i wasn't going to try to work them all out.

Trey walked through the crowd 10-15min before the start, and asked the girls on the merchandising stall how things were, and said 'hi' to a few people in the audience, and generally seemed like a good, down to earth kinda bloke.

they played for around 2 hours, including two encores, and i've been going back through the albums trying to work out what most of the songs were ... i'll have a stab at it:

The First Grand Constitution & Bylaws (1996)
Assassin's Blade - awesome, of course
Zulfikar ? but it seemed slightly different, perhaps it was Zulfikar/Zulfiqar II

Hurqalya: The Second Grand Constitution & Bylaws (1998)
Book T: Broken Glass Hearse
Renunciation - last song of the night (end of 2nd encore), so glad we got this!

Eyes of Flesh, Eyes of Flame (live, 1999)
(the track with 5 skulls pictured)
Mary of Magdalen (Eyvind Kang cover)
Jabalqa/Jabarsa (from Hurqalya album, but without all the noise)

Book M (2001)
Knights of Damcar
Horsemen of the Invisible
Combat for the Angel
Dolorous Stroke
Blaze of the Grail
Lapsit Exillis

Book of Horizons (2004)
The End Times
The 4 (Great Ishraqi Sun)
The 3
Anthropomorphosis: Boxleitner

i think most of these are correct. i wasn't sad that they didn't play either of the two practically death metal tracks on the new album - i don't find them as interesting, even with my background in such music. they played a few newwies too, which sounded a bit like "The 3" and "The 4" from the latest album, which are by the SC3-subband Ishraqiyun (they now have 7 bands playing different genres within SC3, it's complicated), and the new songs were "The Fifteen", "Fast", and "The Nineteen", which you can see in live concert along with "The 3" and "The 4". Actually, not sure if they played the last one, The Nineteen, but there was one with an incredibly difficult rhythm, amongst a set of songs already with insanely complicated rhythms... that was probably it - and it was hard to even nod along to, i can't imagine trying to play it!

in fact, in that 21 minutes of video (which you can download), you can get an idea of what they were like live, they were just a lot heavier, but in a good way, not too loud or noisy. Trey was playing that weird guitar-like thing most of the night, there was only the violinist on the right (i think Timb Harris) not Eyvind, there's that weird instrument Rich Douchette plays (which you can hear really well just after 9 min in), and some sort of accordian and a keyboard, but not that dude playing that weird square sitar like thing (or that thing, as far as i could see), or that guy on bass?, and i think that's the same drummer (on the kit), and i don't think either of the extra percussionists on the floor were there, but there was tons of different and intriguing percussion coming from the back of the stage. my favourite part is The 4, which starts just before 15min. i've had that in my head for days now.

here's Trey and (i think Timb Harris), photo from an article in The Age, not the same gig.

and in case you're reading this and are unsure what SC3 sound like (and haven't bothered with any of the links), then here's a good attempt at a description of their newer material, from their (Trey's?) label's site, where you can also hear some samples:

What does this all end up sounding like? You will hear a kick-ass surf band playing in Arabic/Persian tunings, and then switch over to a wall of Penderecki-style orchestral chord clusters accompanied by AC/DC. Then, perhaps the traditional sounding, pseudo-folk Turk/Central Asian imaginal band will hit center stage with Dhol, Saz, Rabab, Esraj and rock drums and start whacking out to the original, catchy songs that no one knows or cares are in 19/16 time. This might be followed by a totally pummeling, nightmarish, not-kidding one bit blast-beat Death Metal band that employs Boulez-ish atonal serialism, played in dastgah tunings, which of course will naturally segue into a band that specializes in Hindi Film Music from the second Golden Era... you get the picture. We're scratching the surface here, not exaggerating. And again, it’s no joke.

1 comment:

sc3live said...

Nice review of the show my friend but your memory of what was played is totally wrong (and what you guessed is not in order), here's the exact setlist they played that night:

1. Medieval ~unreleased
2. The 15 ~unreleased
3. The 3 (Afghan Song) ~Book of Horizons
4. Dolorous Stroke ~Book M
5. Castle of Sand ~unreleased
6. Bereshith ~unreleased
7. Hurqalya ~2nd Grand Constitution
8. Vajra ~Book M
9. The End Times ~Book of Horizons
10. Personnae: Halloween ~split 7" (EM Azoth / UR)
11. New Ishraqiyun ~unreleased
12. Fast ~unreleased
13. Assassin's Blade ~1st Grand Constitution
14. The 4 (Great Ishraqi Sun) ~Book of Horizons
15. Brazen Serpent ~unreleased
16. Zulfikar ~2nd Grand Constitution
17. Renunciation ~2nd Grand Constitution