Date sent: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 16:08:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: GF: in madison Nov 10,1997
well... i intended to write up a proper report of last weeks GF show in madison WI but a week has already past and if i don't put words on paper (so to speak) tonight i probably never will.
Early in the evening I sensed some tension in the air that seemed to be surrounding the irritable club manager who was scowling at people as he walked around holding a clipboard. Obviously, there was some confusion about the scheduled set times. The club (ocayz corral) didn't want to interrupt their regularly scheduled monday night show so the fibbers were told to play early and to be off the stage by ten. I arrived around 8:15 while the opening band vaz was still checking and the gf's were ravenously digging into their dinner. Vaz drove down from minneapolis only to play for about twenty minutes but they did go over pretty well (with both the audience and GFs). Vaz is a guitar/drums duo who play tense, noisy mostly instrumental music that works well when the guitarist tosses in a few low-end notes to balance out the high-end distortion.
Even though the evening wasn't proceeding as originally planned GF seemed in decent spirits. The first half of the set weighed in exclusively with material from Butch. Who Killed the Cuckoo/Toybox/ Ca Tuffy/Butch/Trashman and 7 or in 10. Even though CA Tuffy is a simple song they never seem to tire of playing it. It's always fun to watch nels and william pogo during the noisy breaks of this song but tonight was even more spirited cuz carla participated more than usual. She was jumping up and down with her eyes shut and her head tilted back and every few seconds she'd scream upwards. Even though she was screaming off mic we could still hear her. Soul! The song Butch was more dynamic than usual and as nels started the song carla held the squeaky plush elephant that she uses to play the bass on this song up to the microphone so we could hear it roar. The sound at ocayz was well balanced and during nels solo we could hear both leyna's beautiful accompaniment and the elephant as carla alternated holding the toy to her ear and to the pickups of the electric bass. You could hear a pin drop when the song was done. (...you look puffy)
The audience numbered around 100 (?) and they were pretty vocal but at this point carla commented that they were being very quiet so she offered to 'play a quiet song for quiet people'. It was funny cuz she was playing 'Hands On The Wheel' on her guitar but started to sing a george jones song. She laughed (see.. i told you it was funny) and started over.. only to stop again to tune. This was a very poignant version .. and nels played his solo achily straight until the last few bars.. when he went haywire. Carla introduced the next song with 'this is another love song' and she and nels started strangling their guitars... playing about thirty seconds of raw noise. It was hard not to laugh during the pregnant pause that followed before they broke into Richard... which didn't last long because carla laughed... saying 'goddammit i'm already out of tune'. After Richard was French Song and the set ended with Yoo Doo right.
Yoo Doo Right is the perfect song to close the set whenever william and leyna are the last to leave the stage. After a few minutes of guitar-heavy noise william started to bring the song down by playing the notes of a series of chords on his electric bass. Carla and Nels guitars were still shreiking but leyna started to bow a beautiful melody which faded in and out of the guitars. After nels and carla left the stage leyna started to play slower and with vibrato. Williams accompaniment matched perfectly and the set ended on a swooning note. Carla and Nels came back to do their extended version of Outside Of Town which keeps getting better and better.. even though it's a little different each night. The set ended by 10:15 and though it felt odd to be done that early it was welcome on this night cuz it allowed the travellers an opportunity to lay their heads to rest at a reasonable hour... even after making the drive to green bay for the next days show
ps--yes, kevin played in the band at this show even though i didn't mention him once.... this is what happens when a guy waits a week to write about a show.