From: Susan May <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Silk City show in Philly last night! - my review
Date sent: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 06:40:44 -0400
Geraldine Fibbers @ Silk City, Philadelphia
The club at Silk City supposedly can accomodate up to 200 people, and I think last night it was filled close to that capacity.
We got to the club early and had to wait until 10:30 to get in to the bar area where the band was playing. It was a surprisingly cool night outside, and while we waited there was a small line forming. Honestly, around that time it looked like it would be a small crowd, but that wouldn't last for long.
Once we got inside, the opening act, Quintron and Miss Pussycat were getting their scenery and lighting set up and the bar had a few patrons, including Nels and Carla, who sat looking into a compact and applying makeup, oblivious to all the fuss around her. Bill was working over at the tshirt booth.
After 11, Quintron's set finally began, and it was really good. Carla loved it and was dancing to everything and pulling people off the sofa near the stage to dance with her. Amazingly, one guy actually refused when she asked him, and I wanted to ask him why when I got near him later :) Carla really liked it and Quintron made a few references to her and pointed at her a lot. The way the "stage" was set up was basically that everyone could just be right up around all the equiptment and be able to get within a few feet of the performers.
After his set was over, there was a period of removing all his gear and getting the area set for the Fibbers. We were lucky because at that point they had cleared away Quintron's full-size organ (!) and we were able to be right at the stage- in fact, I spent the whole show about 5 feet from Carla with nobody in front of me to block my view.
Carla looked great- she was wearing a green top with a glitter horse drawn on it over a sparkly skirt. One song into the set, she removed the top and the skirt was actually a slip-dress. She had a cat collar on that was black with rhinestones set in it and a little bell, and black shoes and socks, which she took off after one song and was barefoot for the rest of the show. They started it off with "Trashman in Furs."
I was able to swipe the set list from the stage after the show. I really DON'T have that good of a memory :) The songs were all abbreviated in one word on the sheet and taped down so Carla and Nels each had one to look at. The show was terrific- Silk City is about as big as my living room and dining room combined, and the sound was great for such a small room. Carla's singing was great, but the real stand-out for me was Nels. He is just totally amazing on the guitar. I was close enough to get the full view of all his gear- a large board with foot pedals and buttons for various effects and several different things he plays the guitar with- including a wire whisk, a light-up toy gun that also makes noises, a new year's eve-type metal noisemaker, and a few other gadgets. It was incredible to see him play with the whisk and just to see him play in general, he is like a madman on the guitar and I was happy to just watch his hands playing a lot of the time- he was just in constant motion and I totally agree with everyone who spoke about him being such an asset to the band. He is amazing. I brought a friend with me who knew slightly of the Fibbers, and she left there not only a converted fan, but she raved the whole ride home about Nels. It was a sight to behold.
They didn't leave the stage before the encore, Carla just mainly was asking people what they wanted to hear and then spent a while tuning her guitar before "Pet Angel" began. She was telling us this cute story about how her guitar is never in tune, saying "I tune my guitar and then I go to sleep and dream about tuning my guitar and then I wake up and tune my guitar and then five minutes later I tune it again." She finally had it in tune enough for her and they began singing again. The new violinist (who's name I can't remember- sorry!) is very very pretty- she looks like a tiny little doll. She sang backup sometimes but mainly played the violin or the cello and was kind of quiet and smiled at us once in a while. Carla was looking at everybody the whole time and it was cool because I want to believe she looked right at me a few times, and I was close so I was able to take a bunch of pictures, let's hope they'll turn out :) I took a picture of Nels first, and a girl standing near me said, "Oh, I would hate that so much..." and I was just like, "whatever" to her and then Carla turned and "posed" and I got a nice shot of her. I'd like to think she heard that girl and didn't agree, but it was probably just coincidence.:)
The show ended at 2:10 am. I had a great time. This was my first time seeing the Fibbers and I was definitely not disappointed! Even though I broke my promise to myself and didn't talk to Carla, I still feel like I got a lot out of it. It's funny, once I was near enough her to say something, I suddenly didn't know *what* to say :) So Anthony, sorry I made fun of you! I know how it feels now!! I didn't get home until 3:30 and I've just gotten up from a one-hour nap. I have to leave for work in 20 minutes, so hopefully I'll survive the day and just come home tonight and die!! Another nice thing is that I got to meet Ken Joseph, who I missed at the PJ Harvey show a while ago, but who did recognize me and saw the show with me and my friend Terri. It was nice to get to meet up with him, and I hope he made it home okay :)
So there's my little review of the show. I'll probably remember more after I've gotten a good night's sleep :)
ps- I have two extra Butch posters so if anyone wants them, let me know. (they were giving them away)
Date sent: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 23:00:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: DC Show/Philly Show
I'm back in Pittsburgh after the DC show Tuesday and the Philly show on Wednesday. They were well worth all the travel. One of the best things about the last two days was meeting some fellow listmembers - Sean and Wayne in DC (yeah, I know Wayne lives here in Pittsburgh, but I met him in DC) and Susan May in Philly.
The biggest surprise of the trip was Mr. Quintron. Either I wasn't patying attention, or this man's talents have not been adequately described here. He is a concert and nightclub organist from New Orleans, Louisiana (9th Ward). In both appearance and sensibilities, he's like a John Waters with a talent for music. Musically, put him in with Jesse Fuller and the other great one man bands. (Sorry, Miss Pussycat!) Like the Fibbers, he produces spirited, eclectic music that moves and soothes. Another surprise was Carla's being in the audience for Quintron and Miss Pussycat. By Philly, she must have heard them many times, but there she was, enjoying the music as much as anyone. It reminded me of something I saw in an interview where she explained she loved being on stage in the middle of all the feedback. Carla's as good at enjoying music as she is in creating it. What can I say to a bunch of fans about the Fibbers' performances? They were GREAT. As others have pointed out, Nels is a real treat and definitely adds another dimension to the band. But with the exception of You Doo Right and duets with Carla on Outside of Town (last song both nights), I don't remember him straying too far from the takes on the CD. Two Butch songs that did sound different (and better) were Trashman, where the instruments sounded a lot fuller, and Yoo Doo RIght, where Bill's bass line was a lot more present. Bottom line, though, came from Susan's friend Terri, who hadn't heard the Fibbers before. As she and Susan were driving me to the bus station (a great place at 3 AM!), Terri said that the band really rocked. And that they do. There's Carla's wonderful voice and lyrics, there's Bill's, Kevin's, Nels' and Lenya's talent. There's the quirky songs like Heliotrope. But on top of all that, the band really rocks! Sorry for such a long message, but it was a long trip! -Kenny
Date sent: Fri, 29 Aug 1997 14:37:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: fibbers in philly
Notes on Wednesday night's (uh, Thursday morning's) Geraldine Fibbers show in Philly-- Silk City was very crowded right from the start: it's a small place that holds maybe two hundred, and I'd say it was at 3/4's capacity. Mr Quintron and Miss Pussycat, from New Orleans' Ninth Ward, as they repeated, began with a bizarre puppet show at about eleven. Strangely voiced animal puppets abusing one another in little vignettes. I was fascinated, even if I couldn't make anything of it. After 15 minutes, Quintron took over at a electric pedal-organ, one of those things you might find in a gospel church, with assistance from a drum machine and more modern programmed keyboard. "Groove music" my friend from Licorice Roots called it: I thought Quintron would be great in a band with someone who could write songs. The last song swirled and pumped loudly with the least cheesy beat and held dance-club promise, and if all the songs were that all-encompassing, I'd be converted. As it is, I don't think any of it would hold up on a recording (of which, I'm told, there are some). Miss Pussycat in her body suit did little except ineptly shake marracas. I thought the whole thing was cool and odd, or maybe just odd, but I was curious enough to enjoy it. A lot of the crowd seemed to love it. I bumped into Quintron between the sets, and he said I looked just like his brother, for what that's worth. My friend helped carry the bubble machine outside and received a bottle of bubbles for his troubles.
The Fibbers came on after midnight, closer to 12:30. I'd been
around Philly since late afternoon drinking tasty Belgian beers and felt a little worse for the wear (and even more so this morning), and didn't expect that late a night. No complaints, though. The show was loud and energetic and exciting. The Sonic Youth connections surprised me; Nels Cline was less flash than I expected, but he gets these weird tones, very Thurston Moore-like, without the alternate tunings andoften on a twelve-string.
Carla often played electric bass, doubling the stand-up bass.
They've carefully worked out their sound, even when it's noisy. We were right up front and the vocals were too often indiscernible; they got better later in the evening, and I wonder if we were in a dead spot because the speakers pointed behind us, so that was a drawback. As was the violinist, who was much the wallflower, or mixed too low.
The set list was almost exclusively 'Butch'-- a great, quick "I
Killed the Cuckoo", a tense and screaming "Yoo Doo Right" with an overlong noisefest at the end, a slowed version of "Butch" that worked much better live than it did on the disk. No encores, but extra songs after the set list, and everyone was drained and sleepy by the end of the long Nels/Carla version of "Outside of Town"; it was after two a.m. No, the show wasn't transcendent, although a few moments hit, but it was very good and exciting and I wasn't disappointed. Another thought-- I'd love to hear what Steve Albini would do with them.