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Month: April 2009

Chaz Fest Portraits 2007-2008 Book OUT!

April 22, 2009

I will have one copy of “Under the Twin Trees: Chaz Fest Portraits 2007-2008” for preview at Chaz Fest 2009, Wednesday April 29th at The Truck Farm (chazfestival.com)

For the last two years, i have set up a unique backdrop and photographed the interesting folks at the festival. If you haven’t been to Chaz Fest, its the best little festival in New Orleans, down in the Bywater. The best music, food, and drink, all in a big backyard. The way it should be.

The book is available now on BLURB.com, and is 7″x7″,40 ppg, color, soft cover. 50% from sales from Chaz Fest book at signup that day, will be donated to local kid art collective, KidSmart.

Books can be ordered online, and delivered to YOU! @ http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/633935

Please spread the word!

Zack
504-251-7745

NEW HAMBURG POST -

April 13, 2009

HAMBURG 88KM

Trying not to give tonight’s club or promoters any ammunition to cancel the show, Trach is hauling ass in the monster Mercedes van trying to beat the clock. Through narrow construction two lane highways, and GNR”s “One in a Million” Blaring on the surround sound, we are coming w/ in inches of cars that we could easily crush or run off the road. We’re already half hour late with another hour to go, due in part to a GPS machine that keeps freezing up every few hours.

Coming up on Hamburg, we begin to see a very industrial type of town, think Lake Charles but more spread out on the countryside. Hamburg has been described as a rough port town, maybe like what New Orleans was 100 years ago. My last run in w/ a “rough” port town was Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. It was as if the booze and lowdown women had claimed many a sailors careers, and they weren’t happy about the reality that was forced upon them.

From the van I see what looks like now as the San Francisco skyline of Lucas inspired AT-AT Walkers from the Star Wars series. Glorified container movers they are. We arrive at the HAFENKLANG right in the middle off port town Hamburg. There’s barbecue outside, and we are welcomed by open arms and popping champagne, a far cry from last nights hello/goodbye. Its one of J’s good buddy’s birthday parties tonight, and to be honest, the reason why this tour could even happen.

Tonight will be a special night. The marquis reads that SABOT, a local group, will open and then followed by Ratty Scurvics Singularity. It’s a surprise to even Ratty. And although it’s a surprise, nothing less of a special occasion: he just put on pants.

The crowd surrounding is mostly in black, some silver metal studs, but much of what you’d expect from a German port city metal club.

I struck up a conversation with the folks from CESTA, Hilary and Chris, which is the Cultural Exchange Station in Dabor, Czech Republic. Those two made music that sounds like if The Jesus Lizard was a drum and bass duo. But the drummer was a chic. This was one of the best women drummer’s I’ve seen, she killed it. The place was slowly getting full, as the night wore on, and from the vibe of the band, the place, and just the room, tonight was going to be a good show. And it was.

Before Trachs set, Wendy, aka Sub Zero Permafrost, a New Orleans transplant living in Hamburg, did about 20 min.

After Paris’ flop, Hamburg made up for it. The songs were loose but rocking, the band was tight and stretching songs as long as they needed to. We hadn’t seen Bisquit or Chris on stage since Bordeaux, and tonight they created the atmospherics that were missing from the Toulouse show. Even as a punk trio with Urine, Trachs’ band can get it done, but without that psychadelic meanderings of Bisquit on turntables and Chris Capdeville on his circuit bent keys, the total package is not delivered.

Ratty was given the closing slot this night. Rattys’ set was not his typical Singularity set, since there was no kick drum or modified snare, but he entertained nonetheless. He was pulling out songs out of his hat, one after another for the next half hour. His songs made you feel as if we were witnessing street theatre, or we were in a tiny cabaret in France. And just as if the impromptu nature of street theatre crept into the Hafenklang, Rattys’ set was pulled by the soundman blaring the house music after he cut the mic. Ive never seen anyone jump from the stage so fast. Ratty took off towards the sound man and had some words, not sure what was said, but that was it for his show. What I found out later was that the soundman had “crossed some wires” and the house music came on. After the club owner, and soundman profusely apologized

We packed up loosely, and hit the town with out host Marge, and our guide who is known only as Sex Magic.

For the next 3 days, we are without a show in Hamburg. We are staying in the Schanze section of St. Pauli, in Hamburg. Our host Marge, a gracious host at that, and her hostel is amazing. Its like a dream. Marge has been squatting here for almost 3 years – but you would never call this a squat in derogatory terms. It’s not the huddled around the oil barrel fire, with cutoff gloves kind of squat. It’s a taken over apartment complex, reminding me of the projects in New Orleans but a lot nicer. The common area outside is a maze of political graffiti and German slang. You walk down the small dirt road, and it opens out to a communal area where people are skating, playing ping-pong, and hanging out.

These are common areas to a much large system of a powerful, organized, political movement by the people. These squats are community driven, and those that want to take charge, clean up an area, and live in it, is there right to do so. That goes without saying that even in the community run squats in Hamburg, they have their fair share of politics. But it is manageable.

There are even riots. Every day around our Labor Day weekend, there are standoffs in the streets as the squatters from the Schanze’s squatting districts band together and crowd the streets, and inevitably the cops come, windows are smashed and the cops are driven back eventually. In my 3 days in the Schanze, I saw 4 cops. And they walked together, very close, and didn’t interact at all. That’s how hands off this area is.

These days are downtime for the band, and its well needed. The last few days of driving is getting to J’s back and legs and its time for rest. WE get a chance to catch up on some current happening in the MC Trachiotomy world, and not so far off future of the music.







Paris - Hamburg

April 12, 2009

PARIS

It hasn’t stopped raining since Toulouse. We arrive in Paris at 8pm, greeted by a slow, cold, miserable drizzle.

And the show is cancelled. The squat Sans Plomb called all the bands (except) Trachiotomy, and called off the show, needless to say Poggi is pissed. But even though they said they called, some bands showed up anyway. We ended up staying there in the cavernous squat, listening to the old MC Trachiotomy record, Rowdy Life, over and over again. It was great to get a sense of where Trach was so many years ago. The album was produced by Trach, with 9th Ward electronic stalwart and friend, Mr. Quintron. The album shows hints of what we have here on tour, but the raw punk grooves found as our European foundation, are replaces with haunting soprano wails, weird keyboard swashes and plenty of vocal manipulation.

There’s an 8 hr drive to Hamburg still left ahead of us, and it’s either drive tonight (for a total of 18 hr in the van) or tomorrow morning and hit the town tonight. Im not sure if we can watch anymore Kung Fu movies.

LEAVING PARIS

The van is silent. From the cancellation of last night’s show, which was cancelled for ridiculous and questionable reasons, to rising tempers w/ some of the crew, tensions are high. Maybe the 8 hrs to Hamburg will be just what everyone needs. I guarantee if everyone was 10 years younger, fists would have flown a long time ago, and we’d have lost someone. Already, we lost Sebastian (DJ Urine) to a much needed visit to the hospital in Parish for a look at his foot. It looks as if someone took a bite out of it, but he’s not sure what it is, possibly a skin infection. I think I may get one of those if I don’t shower soon. I think we all might. It’s been since Bordeaux.

The drive out of Paris is too foggy to see anything but the fast approaching skyline, as we race NW towards Metz. I had a feeling this part of the tour would be like this: driving all day, getting to the show at load-in, playing/partying, then waking up and repeating. Except the only thing we are seeing from the vans body odor and tobacco caked windows is a foggy/rainy landscape of the fading French countryside.

We pass signs like Chateau de Chantilly and Abbay de Raymont, foret d’Hermenonville and in the distance see spires of old cathedrals and ancient structures waiting to be explored. These old castles and churches are littered upon the rolling hills like you’d see Exxon’s or run down BP’s along the US Interstate system. I’d rather look at churches.

The more and more I travel outside of the US, I come to respect New Orleans, and love her and hate her more. Love her for her uniqueness and ability to let you create your life the way you want it in an old city, but hate her for being so damn reluctant to change. It’s the double-edged sword of this amazing city. And it’s not the city; it’s the ones in power positions. It’s the ones who shrug their shoulders and say “that’s just how it is” or “eh, it’s New Orleans” when talking about backwards politics, the prevalent “good old boy” system still alive and well, and rampant racism and reverse racism that prevails.

After a well-needed rest in the big bed, I awaken to blue German skies. The countryside is very similar to that of France, but here with the occasional wind-power generator, grazing fawn and lederhosen laden farmer. We stop at a gas station, and I realize that in France, we could all put together a complete sentence and get what we need. In Germany, we don’t know a lick of this language. At least the weather is great. We are going to be staying in Hamburg for the next four days, and the duration of my stay.

HAMBURG 88KM

Trying not to give tonight’s club or promoters any ammunition to cancel the show, Trach is hauling ass in the monster Mercedes van trying to beat the clock. Through narrow construction two lane highways, and GNR”s “One in a Million” Blaring on the surround sound, we are coming w/ in inches of cars that we could easily crush or run off the road. We’re already half hour late with another hour to go, due in part to a GPS machine that keeps freezing up every few hours.

Coming up on Hamburg, we begin to see a very industrial type of town, think Lake Charles but more spread out on the countryside. Hamburg has been described as a rough port town, maybe like what New Orleans was 100 years ago. My last run in w/ a “rough” port town was Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. It was as if the booze and lowdown women had claimed many a sailors careers, and they weren’t happy about the reality that was forced upon them.

From the van I see what looks like now as the San Francisco skyline of Lucas inspired AT-AT Walkers from the Star Wars series. Glorified container movers they are. We arrive at the HAFENKLANG right in the middle off port town Hamburg. There’s barbecue outside, and we are welcomed by open arms and popping champagne, a far cry from last nights hello/goodbye. Its one of J’s good buddy’s birthday parties tonight, and to be honest, the reason why this tour could even happen.


Tonight will be a special night. The marquis reads that SABOT, a local group, will open and then followed by Ratty Scurvis Singularity. It’s a surprise to even Ratty. And although it’s a surprise, nothing less of a special occasion: he just put on pants.

The crowd surrounding is mostly in black, some silver metal studs, but much of what you’d expect from a German port city metal club.

Hey Ooops

April 11, 2009


The Road to Paris

April 11, 2009





Jays’ friends…then Paris…and Chris

Bordeaux-Toulouse-Paris

April 11, 2009


TOULOUSE
MC Trachiotomy’s band on this night is aptly named, The Cone of Uncertainty. And that name couldn’t be more dead on. Anyone living in New Orleans post-Katrina will tell you what the Cone of Uncertainty is, just like they’ll rattle of pertinent meteorological terms and talk loosely of isobars and rising temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. The Cone refers to the projected possible path a hurricane may take and where there will likely be inclement weather. A lot of guessing is left up to the prepared ones as a storm approaches, as is the relevance to the “Uncertainty” part. Trachiotomy’s band is just that; although the songs aren’t that long or complicated, each time they are played its’ just a little bit different than the time before. Maybe Ben is having a good night and decides to throw in some African rythmns during a bridge, or Ratty just decides to go off into space. That is the uncertainty part, and Trachiotomy is using the Cone as a megaphone.

We arrived in Toulouse a few hours after we left the Bordeaux flop, and made it to the next venue. Well, I should say flop. Almost, considering the Le Pavillion du Sauvage is Toulouse’s only legal squatted property. The stage is small and in the basement, and from the looks from the load in, it’s going to be a big night. Bigger than Bordeaux at least, and hopefully more money. I believe they made $45 last night.

After a few rumblings and line checks, the band laid in to the set, opening with 19th Hole, and the Cone was down to business. But after the ripping through Myths , then Like Cherries the majority of the set was history fairly quickly. Maybe we got a whopping 25 minutes of rock, and light years from last nights show. Although Bordeaux’s attendance had a fraction of Toulouse’s, the band was in rare form – Bordeaux’s show saw Hare taking small solos on the kit, Ratty played most of the gig in the crowd, or on his back, while Jay wheeled around w/ his keyboard, sweating and preaching like a blues lunatic. Tonight there will be none of that. Maybe last night was all the band had and tonight was chill night, you never know. At least you can always be uncertain.




The Toulouse show was over, the band is packed up and chatting up some locals. The scene here is very young, early 20’s let’s say. No one is really talking to the band, and that may be just what they need a break. There’s 10 hrs to drive tomorrow to Paris, and thank god tonight’s post-show may just be sleeps.

One the way out of Le Pavillion, I hit up the free store and found myself a black wool Pierre Cardin coat that I donated to myself. My other jacket had an adventure the first night and rightfully is covered in stale beer.

Bordeaux. Bro

April 10, 2009

The flop was arranged. By proxy, by telephone, by rail. It was all arranged. The stone walls, the diy bar, the unscheduled acid trip. LE PETROLIER. By the time it was created it was dead.
The club was a flop. When I arrived with open arms and open beers I had been there before. The PA was set up downstairs, the 5 ppl in the crowd mingled and upstairs Trach held court.

The shows in Amsterdam sounded like stuff of legend. The stage was an old pump house, and through a series of pipes and (faucets) you made your way to the stage. The Sputnik served as the perfect squat for evening.

But tonight, LE PETROLIER was right. You had your type B, gracious, kingly host, and DJ , your drunker than thou bartender, and all of 10 people in the squat turned dorm turned metal showcase. The music was loud. The music was all around you. And where was everyone?

Not two hours after I got off a 7 hour train ride via the 24hr airport shuffle, Audiocum was blaring. Audiocum is from Bordeaux, and through a series of pre-amps, nobs and pedals spew vitriol at the highest decibels through his oral microphone. Imagine having two hyenas scream in each of your ears. And before the sound go to your ears, you ran the sound through a Bass Booster, delay, overdrive, and distortion pedals. People watched uninterested, like it was their right to deliver a blank stare. Two onlookers got into it, but there was really nothing to get into, there was not beat, just scream.

The second artist, Mini-Bacon, ex-member of French group Sgura, brought the goods. Using a Wii controller and a wireless mouth-mic (known in French circles as boucal), Mini-Bacon weaved clever, cartoonish lyrical patterns over his controllable beats while dancing around the room to the now awakening crowd.


Talking to Mini-Bacon afer the show, he told me about the scene in Bordeaux, and that his music, and the music of Audiocum and others similar, is considered punk, and not very welcomed there. Most of France, especially Paris, has moved away from live music, and has transformed into a club/lounge type of nightlife. Even with groundbreaking artists such as Mini-Bacon, the scene that supports fringe artists is quickly shrinking. Only a move to the United States, it’s said, can make this music hit, and be profitable.

As the evening wore on, what was needed more than ever was a soul…a rhythm, a beat, a groove. Anything to move you. And MC Trachiotomy did just that. When one thinks of MC Trachiotomy a solo vision emerges – the clean bald headed blinged out Grecian 9th ward rapper is what you see. Weaving heavy handed rhymes while roaming around the room with his keyboard strapped to his back, Trach is not alone this time, as the little flop is finally transformed. Behind him, behind his rhymes, behind his brash persona is a post metal maelstrom of a band. This group features Trach’s solid rhythm section of Ben Hare on drums and Ratty Scurvics on bass. On this tour, Trachiotomy’s band is rounded out by Bisquit on turntables, Chris Capdeville on keyboards, and DJ Urine on , well, himself. And some records.

Their groove is a mix of metal drums augmented with a soulful fuzzed out bass, ambient keys, and swashes of turntable space fuzz. And on this bed of super groove cacophony sings Trachiotomy.





Ahhh (the) Paris (train system)…..

April 10, 2009

Those 3 years of French in high school come in handy every once and a while: hearing my dad say something he doesn’t want anyone to hear, dissecting some Cajun colloquialisms, and getting around in Paris. (damn, I still want to write Parish)

1st class is nice, but as I said im not a 1st class kind of guy, I like to be dirty, and actually right now I am very dirty. And I smell. So, it was fitting that my 1st class wi-fi eat till yer full train experience came to and end and I was put in my place. After navigating the Parish subway system like I was going from one end of NY to the other, but in French, I made it just in time to catch the train to Bordeaux.

Let me describe my seat: I am in between cars, one of the “knuckles” if you will of a snaking multi jointed snake-finger slithering through France. Its fucking loud in this knuckle, but what I trade for a being a 2nd class citizen I’ll take any day: my leg room is perfect, the plexi window on my side is fairly clean, and the country side is stunning. There will be many “note to self’s” on a cross country journey, but one big on that all photographers should take heed is to BRING YOUR OWN WINDEX.. Yea, why not clean the glass you’ll be shooting thru – makes sense doesn’t it? Here, try this: right when you’re about to get on, give the conductor a wink, like “I’ll get this one, but just this time!” spray your less than 8oz Code Orange Windex pump onto the glass you’ll be using, wipe, and repeat on the inside. Everyone’s happy.

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