Setting up on the tiny stage was the opening act, aptly named Spirits Burning vs. Spaceship Eyes, an amalgam of local musician and Cleopatra recording artist Don Falcone's two bands of the same names. As the lights dimmed the club was kind enough to turn off the canned music for a bit while the band played. SE had played at an ECSP gig before, offering a mix of trippy ambient to space rock. For tonight's show, John Pluth joined Don on guitars, Carol Pluth on bass and J.J. Cache on drums. They were all pretty much in the space rock mode. It was a good set; filled with lots of guitar runs, synth leads (Don seems to favor that Casio sound), a solid bass line met well with the newly-acquired drummer. Add to that lots of sampled noises and drum machines. SB vs. SE kept the pace going for the whole of their set. A rousing version of KC's 'Red' was included, and their own take on Genesis' 'Return of the Giant Hogweed,' as featured on the recent Cleopatra tribute CD. They played for an hour, and the audience seemed to enjoy the band.
They proved to be a good opener.
REVIEW BY PETER THELEN
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, EXPOSÉ MAGAZINE
The Bay Area show in San Mateo - it was perhaps the most intense performance I've seen since Boud Deun played their set at 2x speed at Progscape in B'more. A mindblower, totally over the top...even the live album won't prepare you for this! Maybe the most lasting mental image that remains with me is that of 'Promenade' - mid way through it J.P. Mendes hands his bass over to Keith the tour manager who cranks out the most insane performance - for a moment I thought he might break all four strings! Then J.P. comes back, takes his bass, then Reg starts whackin' on this chunk of metal pipe or something, with Roger's guitar screaming and growling - it seemed to symbolize something much larger than the music itself, like the rise and fall of industrialized society... it kept getting more and more intense and 'mechanical' until everything just went insane...Roger slammed his guitar into the stage, threw it down and stomped on it, and thus the set ended. They came back after a hearty round of applause to do 'Sense of Life.'
The turnout was pretty good, about 175 people showed, it was pretty much standing room only. The opening band 'Spirits Burning vs Spaceship Eyes' turned in a pretty decent set as well - they are an ambient/psych/spacerock band, all instrumental except for some voice samples etc.
San Mateo setlist: Alone, Delusions, Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Mayday, Contre, Laundry Blues (awesome!), Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal. Encore: Sense of Life
About the other west coast shows: Roger told me that there were 4 bands at the L.A. show, and they didn't end up going on until almost midnight. Given that it was a weekday show and all a lot of people ended up splitting before Present came on. Encinitas (near San Diego) went much better, only two bands: Present & Cast.