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REVIEW: Secret Chiefs 3 in Oregon @ WOW Hall & Dante’s (Eugene & Portland – 2/6 & 2/7/12)

9th Feb 12 (Thu) Leave a comment Go to comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

I’ve been a fan of instrumental world/surf/film metal shape-shifters Secret Chiefs 3 for a long time and a fan of Los Angeles-based, Cambodian-pop-fusion band Dengue Fever for a handful of years as well.

SC3 and DF has their own connection.  Dengue Fever’s debut album in 2003 was on Web of Mimicry, the label that SC3 frontman Trey Spruance runs.  Their connection goes a little deeper still.  Dengue guitarist Zac Holtzman was in Dieselhed with Danny Hefietz (drummer for Mr. Bungleanother Trey Spruance band).  Danny is also back drumming with SC3 on this co-headlining West Coast tour.

For this tour, the bands have been switching off their order of performance.  I was able to catch both Oregon shows… for Eugene (Mon 2/6), DF played first and SC3 closed.  There was no opener, and Dengue Fever went on just before 8:30 at WOW Hall.  I have a couple of their earlier records, but never had the chance to see them live.  I dug it… pretty fun, and it looked like they were having fun on stage as well.

They played about an hour of Cambodian power pop.  Trey Spruance joined them on stage and played guitar and a wicked solo for their final number “1000 Years of a Tarantula”…

DF Eugene 2/6 Setlist: about an hour

  • Genjer Genjer
  • Seeing Hands
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Hold My Hips
  • Tiger Phone Card
  • Durian Dowry
  • A Go Go
  • Uku
  • Pow Pow
  • Sober Driver
  • Only A Friend
  • Cement Slippers
  • 1000 Tears of a Tarantula [with Trey]
    No Encore

Secret Chiefs 3 came out at about 10pm, donned in long, dark hoods except for violinist/ guitarist Timb Harris dressed in more masked martial arts attire…

This was my third time seeing them, and it was definitely the tightest band I’ve witnessed.  They ripped through a blistering set of proggy, world metal.  The off-kilter timings, the meticulous instrumentation… all spot on.  “Bereshith” is a tune that I think I saw them start the 2007 NYC show with, and I thought it was “off” in NYC.  It’s a really odd number, from a timing perspective.  This time… they nailed it.

Probably the most strikingly different moment “live vs. studio” was the gorgeous intro/outro to “Exodus.”  The intro/outro on the Book of Horizons studio version is a lovely melody played on strings (Eyvind Kang on viola & Timb Harris on violin).  For this live setting, Timb put down his violin and played it on trumpet.  I looooooove trumpet… and this melody on trumpet about made me swoon…

SC3 Eugene 2/6 Setlist: about 80 mins

  • Radar (The Day the Earth Stood Still) [Bernard Herrmann]
  • Zombievision
  • Personnae: Halloween [John Carpenter]
  • Balance of the 19
  • Fast
  • Bereshith
  • RFID Slaverider / Agenda 21 / Codex Alimentarius (Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini Medley)
  • Sophia’s Theme
  • Vajra (Rat Puriya)
  • Combat for the Angel
  • Tistriya
  • Book T: Exodus [Ernest Gold]
  • Saptarshi
  • Encore: Hurqalya

For Portland (Tues 2/7), I showed up at Dante’s right around 8pm, and the first band wasn’t going on until closer to 8:45.  It was U SCO, who I had never heard of before; so I walked to the near-ish Deschutes Pub and had one of the last pours of their Jubel Kriek (their Jubel Ale aged 25 months in a barrel on cherries and with Brettanomyces).  They blew their 2nd (and last) 1/6 BBL keg shortly after I ordered.  Mmmm… sour beer… after that, I skedaddled back just in time to catch U SCO’s bitchin’ set.

U SCO were helmed by guitarist Ryan A. Miller, who I had just seen a week prior in Eugene opening for a solo bass show from Trevor Dunn (a former Trey Spruance band member as well).  Small musical world in a quite vast musical sea.  Crazy.  Anyway, U SCO was a shredding, avant-garde jazz-metal band – to the best of my descriptions.  They’re a three piece made up of Ryan on guitars, Jon Scheid on bass, and Phil Cleary on drums.  They also had a guest saxophonist for some songs.  They’re from Portland; so I hope I’ll get a chance to see them again.  Definitely!

SC3 started setting up right afterwards and hit the stage about 9:45pm… of core of their setlist was the same, but they did throw in a few new ones: “The 15,” “The 4” and “Zulfikar.”

They ripped through a great set once again.  They’re such a tight band on this tour – quite stunning.  Even when Trey kicked his cord out for about 5-10 seconds during “Halloween,” they didn’t miss a beat.  And, once again, Timb’s trumpet intro/outro for “Exodus“… swoon…

SC3 Portland 2/7 Setlist: about 70 mins

  • Bereshith
  • Radar (The Day the Earth Stood Still) [Bernard Herrmann]
  • Zombievision
  • Personnae: Halloween [John Carpenter]
  • The 15
  • The 4 (Great Ishraqi Sun)
  • RFID Slaverider / Agenda 21 / Codex Alimentarius (Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini Medley)
  • Vajra (Rat Puriya)
  • Zulfikar
  • Tistriya
  • Book T: Exodus [Ernest Gold]
  • Saptarshi
    No Encore

The one gripe with the Portland show… the lighting was pretty poorly matched.  They didn’t turn the house lights down until nearing the end of SC3’s first song.  Also, the lights in general were behind the band, and they were still too bright if you ask me.  For some bands, that’s probably good… but with the Chiefs, the air of mystery and cloaks in darkness adds to the allure of the live show.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still an amazing show.  I’m just glad I got to catch it in Eugene, too.

I had a long drive home and work in the morning; so I sadly bailed on Dengue Fever’s closing set in Portland.  I’m sure it was groovy like the Eugene show.  Sorry, but my body thanks me for getting home at 1am instead of 2:30am!

The tour wraps this weekend… but stick around, SC3 are bound to kick something off later in 2012.  More 7″ vinyls?  More touring?  The long-awaited Book of Souls?  A Chinese Democracy cover album?

If you missed the tour, I’d HIGHLY RECOMMEND checking out their new schwag… including the new SC3 Traditionalists Le Chanson de Jacky / The Western Exile 7″ split (featuring Trey’s fellow Mr. Bungle band-mate Mike Patton on “Jacky”), the 12″ re-releases of First and Second Grand Constitution & Bylaws, and three bitchin’-design new t-shirts.

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… most likely the David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) house show in Portland on 2/15, unless something pops up before then.

~Dan – np: John ZornFilm Works XIII: Invitation to a Suicide

SECRET CHIEFS 3 & DENGUE FEVER PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

SC3 & DF 2012 West Coast Tour Dates

  • Jan 24 – Denver CO – Bluebird Theatre
  • Jan 25 – Santa Fe NM – Santa Fe Brewing Company
  • Jan 26 – Phoenix AZ – Crescent Ballroom
  • Jan 27 – Los Angeles CA – El Rey Theatre
  • Jan 28 – Santa Ana CA – Constellation Room
  • Jan 29 – San Diego CA – The Casbah
  • Jan 31 – San Luis Obispo CA – Club SLO Brew
  • Feb 1 – Santa Cruz CA – Moe’s Alley
  • Feb 2 – San Francisco CA – Great American Music Hall
  • Feb 3 – San Francisco CA – Slim’s
  • Feb 4 – Sacramento CA – Harlow’s
  • Feb 6 – Eugene OR – WOW Hall
  • Feb 7 – Portland OR – Dante’s
  • Feb 8 – Seattle WA – Neumos
  • Feb 9 – Bellingham WA – The Wild Buffalo
  • Feb 10 – Vancouver BC – Rickshaw Theatre

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