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Motorpsycho VHS archive

(133 posts)
  • Started 6 months ago by ffbernie
  • Latest reply from ffbernie


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  1. mister conclusion

    Hi Bernie,

    thanks again for a real gem. One of the earliest recordings available, decent video and good sound quality, first Demon Box with Deathprod...

    Really interesting and fun to watch this.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  2. otherdemon

    Yeah, this is essential stuff for those who prefer early MP!

    Fun fact: They recorded the Sheer Profoundity music video the day before the concert.
    According to Bent's commentary track on the Haircuts DVD, there were more people
    present at the music video shoot than at the actual concert

    Btw, does anybody recognize the song they play between Frances and Demon Box?
    That one was unknown to me...

    Posted 3 months ago #
  3. shakti

    Pure gold.

    Dreads-era Motorpsycho live @ Kabelvåg? Get outta here.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  4. Juergen

    @ otherdemon:

    The track between "Frances" and "Demon Box" is unknown for me, too. The line "I saw you on Tuesday..." was later used in The Sift/Now It's Time To Skate but the melody is too different compared to those two songs.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  5. otherdemon

    @Juergen: Yeah I heard that line too. But I guess it might be one of those half-baked songs they never bothered to finish properly.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. Devotional

    Re: The acoustic track, my pet-theory is that is was an early "prelude"/part of "Demon Box". The debut performance of DB was at Norsk Rockforbund's 10 year anniversary festival on September 18th, and a review in Tønsberg Blad said that they played one new 20-minute song that included every single facet of the band - including acoustic.

    On the other hand, Bent introduces the song with "Now me and Snah will sing a ballad. It’s not too long..." Could be cheeky humour from Mr. LeBad.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. Hans Boller

    Thanks a ton, Bernie! This one feels like a birthday present to me! I'm still waiting for the perfect time, when there's no one to bother me, and I can crank up the volume and fully immerse myself in the glory of early MP. Their sound would become so much more refined and many-faceted over the next decades, but something about that youthful, primitive energy moves me profoundly...

    Posted 3 months ago #
  8. Vegard B. Havdal

    The show starts at 26:00

    Posted 3 months ago #
  9. shakti

    I find those early shows so fascinating just because they are pretty ho-hum at times...yet there is *something* tangible there, a glimpse of future greatness, and of course the odd flash of pure brilliance, like Demon Box. Knowing what would come in just a very short time after this show, makes it an extremely interesting discovery.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  10. Hans Boller

    Just finished watching the new entry. What a beautiful little gem from way back when! Things that came to my attention during my first watch:

    - Bent gesticulating and asking the audience to come closer. I guess that's normal when you're still just on of many metal-ish bands during the height of "grunge" and you don't really have a following yet. It's also funny to see how the audience hesitantly obliges. Well, at least sometimes. During the concert the movement in front of the stage is very uneven. Watch out for the frantic headbanger at the beginning of Sheer Profundity!

    - Bent's attire. What the heck is he wearing? A tie die-dye shirt and a pair of extremely ripped jeans? Looks like he cut the pants himself a hundred times up and down the leg. Did people do that on purpose back in the day to score extra points for punkishness? I demand answers!

    - Snah doesn't sing. We can only see and hear him providing back-up scream at the end of Sheer Profundity.

    - There is no jamming going on. Except for the noise part in Demon Box, but i wouldn't call that improvising in the classical sense. Snah improvises some of his solos, but that's about it. When did MP really start "taking off"? Was that during the 1993 tour? It is really weird to see the band play one four minute song after the other, without a lengthy build-up. Motorpsycho then and now truly are two almost completely different bands.

    - Deathprod doesn't really have a lot to do. To be honest, I actually prefer it that way, his samples and weird noises can add a lot, when they're utilised wisely, like on the Demon Box studio album. On the 2015 live recording of said record he often adds one layer too much, for example on Sunchild and The One Who Went Away. I prefer it when he supports bass, drums and guitar and doesn't really overpower those instruments and drowns the whole song in a wall of noise. There are exceptions of course, like the middle part of Demon Box. Love the sounds he adds to the beginnig of Plan #1, they create the perfect atmosphere!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  11. ffbernie

    Hey everyone...heres the next one : Faro, Rome 26-05-94 (2 cameras..;soundboard sound where possible)

    Posted 3 months ago #
  12. Johnny_Heartfield

    Were they ever that young? Who's the thin guy playing guitar btw???

    Thanks once again for your work, Bernie!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  13. ringo

    The Mountain!

    Thank you Bernie!

    Posted 3 months ago #
  14. kjellepelle

    Oh wov its the young Mr Ryan. Was at the show. We arrived in Rome, saw the St Peter Bassilica while going round in the roundabout a few times. Looking for the adress,pre-gps (even the Bentor didt manage to find it on the map) Waiting for the Helter Skelter people to get us to the show place. Waiting for the power. The people at Faro had to wait until the people next door would go home so they could take their power. Think I have som sexy photos of people sunbathing wile waiting for the HS people to arrive somewhere.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  15. Hans Boller

    Thanks for the insight, Kjelle! You should write a whole book on your time with the band!

    My two cents on the Rome gig from 1994:

    Home of the Brave: Ignorance might be bliss(ard)to some, but true happiness can only be achieved by fully taking in the sound of Bent's bass, the muscular rumbling of a signal emanating from an Ibanez bass distorted by a Marshall Guv'nor. Holy cow, how I love that sound! That's also what was missing from the Demon Box concerts a few years ago, that earth-shattering peal. Can't really think of a band that tried to rip off that particular sound, but somebody must have at least tried it, it's a sound too good to not steal! To quote Hank Rollins: "Makes you wanna fight and fuck at the same time!"

    Giftland: I love the contrast between this and the first song. Had to think of Jimmy Page and his quip on light and shade. It's breathtaking how they can change from loud and noisy to playful and psychedelic in so little time, can't think of a band that could pull that off back in the nineties, can't think of one right now. I also can't believe that they never play this gem.

    On My Pillow: Snah's singing is pretty rough here, I sometimes ask myself if they had become bigger if the cared more about pulling off the vocals live as well. I mean, I don’t mind their singing live, it sounds good to me when I’m standing in front of the stage, and the instruments drown out the voices quite often anyway, but maybe it matters more to the general rock audience?

    Junior: I Love this song but I’m no big fan of Lars’ rock ‘n’ roll howl here. Did he sing it so he could also have his moment to shine and / or because Bent didn’t want to strain his vocal chords any more?

    Another Ugly Tune: The singing is better on this one, and Snah plays a great solo!
    Feedtime / Flesh Harrower: I adore the growl of Snah’s guitar! Again, this serves as a great contrast to the more melodic material. That’s also what I’m missing nowadays, the band bludgeoning you for minutes on end!

    Nothing to Say: Just great!

    Mountain: Nice little psychedelic solo by Snah.

    The One… / California Dreaming: Ah yes, pure pop punk perfection. “Waiting…” is simply one of the greatest simple songs ever written, and the electronic version’s drive and strained voices highlight the bittersweet tragedy of the lyrics perfectly.

    Plan #1: This one will always be a devastating beauty. Also the only Motorpsycho song with problematic lyrics that I can think of: “And made you a “n****r” in their conception of life”? You could probably get away with that thirty years ago, but I highly doubt that Bent would write that line nowadays.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. ffbernie

    hey everyone...heres another show of the musically and setlisty fantastic 2001 tour...Forum-BIELEFELD 12-10-2001

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. Johnny_Heartfield

    Thanks once more! I disagree about the setlist though - these days I'd be quite disappointed with such a show, but that only shows how spoilt we get by our favourite band

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. otherdemon

    I agree with bernie, that Bielefeld setlist is pretty good. But then again I'm a sucker
    for the jazzy sound of those Baard-era shows.

    One correction for part 2: They don't play Sister Confusion, but She Used To Be A Twin

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. Devotional

    @shakti: I love your write-ups on these shows, Devotional!

    I’ve only had time to skim through the latest one, but your review seems spot on. I don’t have a whole lot of shows from 1995, but it’s probably my least favourite of the «golden years» of 1993-99. As you say, the heaviness was tuned down substantially through 1994, but had not yet been replaced with the space-psych of 1996-97. Instead we get some indie rock middle ground with occasionally a lot of Sonic Youth influence. I absolutely love Sonic Youth and I’ve always loved that indie and noise rock element in Motorpsycho (in fact, I think they are at their very best when that element is present), but this concert seems to represent a point of transition where things hadn’t fully developed yet. I also think they kind of fell into place as a power trio after Morten Fagervik was dropped (TBH, I’ve only ever really liked Deathprod and occasionally Reine Fiske as associated members). Anyway, the 1995 gigs I’ve heard just sound a little flat, without the crazy energy of 1993-94 or the space-psych-prog-kraut improv nirvanas of 1996-8.

    Thanks, shakti! I really appreciate that! I’ve done write-ups for the latest four already, which will be posted today. These are just extremely informal, badly written write-ups in my limited English (which means fatiguing use of the word "amazing"), but done in the spirit of the "gushing fanzine writer", and I enjoy that sort of writing. And I don’t mind fanboying over MP either. Another reason for that kind of writing is to clearly establish that everything is written from a place of love and respect, and not as a dissection or attack. They’re just lighthearted hack observations not even based on the actual concerts, but recordings of them. The only thing you can truly establish from reviewing a recording is the momentum you personally gain from it, and that is what I’m rating at least.

    I couldn’t agree more with regards to 1995 being a "transitional" year, and my least favourite of ’93-’99 too - for the same reasons you’ve mentioned. It was a frustrating period too, after the failed When The World Sleeps-project, the difficult musical integration of Morten, and eventually the panic-stricken Blissard-recording.

    But they did show their insane range by playing a metal festival (Dynamo Open Air), a jazz festival (Kongsberg) and a country festival (Down On The Farm) - and they managed to finish Blissard, so they were hardly going through the motions. One show I would love to hear a recording from is the Dynamo Open Air, where they played the amazing "On The Toad Again", which along with "Gutwrench", "Seethe" and the original "Swiss Cheese Mountain" is one of their most under-appreciated tracks imho.

    2020 is an amazing time to be a Motorpsycho-fan! The main target audience for this VHS archive is probably the hardcore fans, but the quality so far has been shockingly good. Some of it can easily be used to convert a noob.

    Oh, and Sonic Youth rules. I know I’m in a minority, but I love their 1995-2002 output as much as 1983-1987.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. Devotional

    Motorpsycho VHS Archive #4
    2002-11-23 | Amsterdam (NL)

    ****. | Serpentine
    ***.. | For Free
    **... | Close Your Eyes
    ***.. | Bedroom Eyes
    ***.. | Watersound
    ***.. | Painting The Night Unreal
    ***.. | What If...
    ****. | The Mirror And The Lie

    ***.. | Überwagner Or A Billion Bubbles In My Mind
    ***.. | Circles

    ***** | Vortex Surfer

    After Motorpsycho played at the Paradiso on the Phanerothyme-tour in April 2002, Geb went as far as calling it one of their top 10 shows ever. That experience may have strengthened their urge to really document the next show they did there, which was roughly 7 months later. Their latest album, It’s A Love Cult, was released in September.

    Deathprod was involved with the album, but did not tour with the band. Neither did the members of Jaga Jazzist (a rotating squad of Lars Horntveth, Mathias Eick, Line Horntveth and Jørgen Munkeby) who had done seven shows during the summer with the band, culminating with a recording session for the In The Fishtank-series in August that would be released in October 2003. Two of them did however play five tracks with MP at the Hasselt-show on the 7th of November, since Jaga was also on the bill that night. The versatile keyboardist Baard Slagsvold, who played in the legendary punk bands Appelzin Juice Studentz, Fort & Gæli and Skjønn Forening in the early 80’s, before co-founding the severely straighter Tre Små Kinesere (where he was later replaced by none other than Lars Lien), first joined Motorpsycho as a musician and arranger in 1999, and had really put his mark on their past 3 years. He’d also toured with them since the final leg of the Trust Us tour (five Norwegian shows, kicking off in Oslo on October 15th, 1999), and stayed on throughout the Let Them Eat Cake, Barracuda, Phanerothyme and It’s A Love Cult-records and tours as a fourth member.

    The 2002-shows had the biggest range of songs the band had ever done, and even saw the return of "Giftland" and "Nothing To Say". As always (save for Phanerothyme), they’d played several songs from the album live before its release. "Neverland" was performed as early as September 2001, "Überwagner Or A Billion Bubbles In My Mind", "Serpentine", "Custer’s Last Stand (One More Daemon)" and "Circles" first turned up in April 2002, while "Little Ricky Massenburg" (October), "What If..." and "The Mirror And The Lie" (November) were recent introductions. The two new songs "Dora Peach" and "Close Yr. Eyes" (both introduced in October) also got a good reception from fans.

    So with the band in such an elastic form, it would seem like a good idea to do a proper live recording. But by November 23rd they had been touring pretty much constantly since October, including a short US tour, and did 5 days in a row before Paradiso. Geb told fans at the venue that he was exhausted before the show, and Bent seemed to show fatigue too. Not a good sign.

    In spite of their less than stellar shape, they did film the show with 4 cameras, and recorded the audio on 24 tracks, which was mixed on the fly and live-streamed along with the video by the club through Fabchannel. I remember a lot of stuttering in the live webcast, and not being able to enjoy the full show until it was reposted a few days later. The show got a mixed reaction at the time, both from the audience at Paradiso, and the web-crowd, and it seemed for a while that the Joe Coleman-jams from May 2001 might have been a more plausible option for a next live release (it had already been considered, but was put on the back burner). There were rumours going about a DVD-release for years - even from Stickman, but the band had some qualms with Paradiso, the vocals in particular, according to reports at the time.

    Having eventually gone properly through the recording, Bent only saw 8 songs fit for release. Those turned up on the Hair Cuts DVD in May 2008 as the third installment in the Roadwork-series (the full title was Roadwork Vol. 3: The Four Norsemen Of The Apocalypse), but used the original mix. Helge Sten did a remix from the 24-tracks, and mastered the audio for the June 2018 vinyl/digital release of the same name in June 2018. The latter gave way to a more positive re-evaluation of the show for many.

    Watching the broadcast again now in its original mix, without the Roadwork-tracks, is another fresh approach. An interesting experiment. "Serpentine" makes for a great opener. A superb track, and a great version. Snah is in fine voice. Lovely cymbal-work from Geb, and a beautiful "melt" during the mid-part from the whole band. I wish that mid-part was even longer. There’s some unintentional feeding towards the end, which may be why it wasn’t included in Roadwork.

    Bent struggles a bit with the high notes in the verses of "For Free", but nails the screaming part. High notes are also a bit of a problem during "Close Your Eyes". This is one of two brand new tracks played regularly on this tour (the other being "Dora Peach"), and mainly got a good reception from the fans. While the main body of the song feels underdeveloped imho, there is a hypnotic quality to the mid-part where Baard stretches out with some Manzarekian Rhodes, but as a whole it’s nowhere near a worthy MP epic at this point. It eventually turned up shortened, stripped down and imho sensible arrangement on the Heavy Metal Fruit-album in 2010.

    "Bedroom Eyes" is such a pretty song; my favourite from Phanerotyme by far, but this version is unfortunately marred by too many obstacles to really gel. Snah messes up the beginning, and Bent looks annoyed with some serious monitoring problems, which he angrily demonstrates after the track too. A shame!

    Bent asks "Can you take out some low mids on my voice, Pieter? I can’t fucking hear what I’m singing.", and goes straight into "Watersound", which again has a piercing feedback during the first verse, visibly throwing Bent off. You rarely hear "Watersound" played with as much aggression as this, and unfortunately it doesn’t work. The song itself is so amazing that it can never not be great, but this version is certainly not memorable.

    Things pick up a bit with "Painting The Night Unreal" (which comes after a very good "Hogwash" in the actual show). It’s a fine version, with some really fluid playing from Snah. A relief after such a tense period. Geb’s introduction to "What If…" is quite funny. He enthusiastically asks the audience "Are you ready for something quiet? […] ARE YOU READY FOR SOMETHING QUIET??!!" Unbelievably this maudlin harmonium-driven live version is quite moving, and certainly several steps above the awful album version. Geb’s singing is pretty great here with a sort of Daniel Johnston-esque quality to it.

    They go straight (in this version - a much loved "577" came between these two in the actual show) from one of the worst ones to one of the very best songs from recent years, "The Mirror And The Lie". This song has been debated a lot, and I’ve been firmly in the YES-camp since day one. Achingly beautiful, and I know I’m projecting, but you can almost sense that Bent is trying to redeem a very frustrating set by just letting his fragility and uncertainty out here. It really fits the occasion. I love the flute-sounds from the keyboards, love Bent’s vocals, love Snah’s gentle riff, and loathe the audience for not managing to shut up. But along with "Serpentine", it is the highlight of this revised main set.

    They come back for Überwagner, and someone has the bright idea of blowing bubbles, which seems to light up Geb. It’s a decent version - no more, no less. It is followed with a very sweet "Circles", which I also prefer to the album version. A downright impressive arrangement, with wonderful interplay between Snah and Bent in particular.

    "Vortex Surfer" is the closer, and is undeniably great. Even this average version is still magical. I take some issue with Baard doubling Snah’s melody before the final part (they sort of phase each other out), but the mellotron ending is certainly beautiful. "Vortex Surfer" is one of those songs you can find yourself thinking about as a whole - as a state of mind, not separated or exemplified by a particular melody or lyric. It occupies such an open, powerful, vulnerable and unique space. If it doesn’t have everything that is great about MP, it certainly transmits the emotional core. It will always be one of my favourite pieces of music of all time.

    But back to the Paradiso-gig as a whole: There are many frustrating factors with this show. One thing is that is lacks a certain spark and excitement that was definitely present both before and after this one. This is understandable, because they were tired. Then there’s the technical problems, which seems to throw Bent in particular off no end. Many people in the audience also reported that the sound was particularly bad out front too. Add to that a certain pressure from the filming/recording - which may have made them a bit more self-conscious, and it just never truly lifts off. It is good, but a bit of a bore.

    Setlist-wise, it does represent most facets of the autumn 2002 tour, but performance and energy-wise, Amsterdam is just not top tier. The show they did just four days later at Rockefeller was absolutely incredible, and had arguably the best setlist of the tour to boot. Then they came back the next day and did a very sub-par show, so yes - the bipolar monster was in full flight. This falls somewhere in the middle of the road.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. Devotional

    Motorpsycho VHS Archive #5
    1992-10-23 | Kabelvåg (NO)

    ***.. | Plan #1
    ***.. | Sister Confusion
    **... | Another Ugly Tune
    ***.. | Frances
    ****. | Demon Box
    ****. | Sheer Profoundity
    ***** | Loaded
    ***** | Home Of The Brave
    ***** | Grinder

    ***.. | Come On In [cuts in]

    Ok, so we set the time machine for 1992 - camera in hand, but where do we go? To Kabelvåg, of course, where Svartlamoen’s finest have added a fourth member to the team. It has been almost three weeks since their last trio-gig at Rockefeller in Oslo on October 3rd, after which they’ve joined forces with Helge Sten aka Deathprod with the intent of playing live together. Helge saw Motorpsycho play in Trondheim back in 1990, and booked them to the youth club he worked at in Røros in May last year, and they struck up a friendship. When Helge moved to Trondheim during this summer to study art, they began to conspire.

    Helge has been a sound engineer, painter, sculptor and musician since the late-80’s, and has slowly but surely started to assemble his Audio Virus LAB studio, where he doesn’t use regular acoustic or electric instruments, but rather various audio processors and transducers - many of them self-built, to create an industrial, otherworldly, but direct ambiance first captured on his debut album, Deep Throat Puke Orgasms from 1991, which was limited to 17 copies.

    Two days before Lobotomizer was released last September, the band promised the Trondheim newspaper Adresseavisen that they would have a 10" or 12" ready by Easter of 1992, and a double album in the autumn. Many probably didn’t quite belive them at the time, especially after drummer Killerkjell was the first original member to leave the band just days after the interview. But his replacement Håkon Gebhardt has already proven to be a perfect fit for the band, and amazingly, they’re almost on schedule for their promise to the newspaper at this moment.

    They delivered the 12" mini-album Soothe in April, and their latest release, the 7" EP 3 Songs For Rut came out in September, which coincided with their label, Voices Of Wonder, releasing Lobotomizer as well as Soothe/3 Songs For Rut (packed as one disc called 8 Soothing Songs For Ruth with "We All Float Down Here" reversed, and an alternate mix of "California Dreamin’") on CD - against Motorpsycho's will, mind you ("We hate CD’s.").

    Everything on Soothe except "We All Float Down Here" was performed live before its release, with "Come Step Inside" going all the way back to August 1990. The same is the case with 3 Songs For Rut, with "Some Real Mindfuck" going back to June 1991, and the newest track, "Loaded", being performed for the first time in May 1992.

    As for the promised double-album - 11 of the tracks that would eventually end up on Demon Box had already been performed live at this point. "Mountain" had been played since September 1991, "Sunchild" in November, "Junior" aka "Slide Jr" in March 1992, "Plan #1" aka "You Gave It All Away" and "Come On In" in April, "Nothing To Say" in May, "Tuesday Morning", "All Is Loneliness" and "Demon Box" in September. The latter was premiered at Sentrum Scene at Norsk Rockforbund’s 10 year anniversary in a 20 minute version that according to Tønsberg Blad displayed every single facet of the band. And this was all before Deathprod joined them live. But they did make demos during the summer, so sounds were definitely exchanged. But for the fans, this show in Kabelvåg was the true start of a new era.

    So this is a truly significant document in the psychoverse. As to add to the "historical" feel, it is shot in black and white from the back of the venue, with a great, unobstructed view of the whole band. There are good close-ups throughout too. The sound is a clear soundboard that as so often with MP is bass-shy, but the vocals sit well with the band. Very listenable overall.

    They open with "Plan #1". Wow! A good, and very interesting version. Not yet developed into the epic album version, no full Matt Burt-narration, just a few sampled words here and there ("Plan #1" - including the religious sample taped from the radio, was part of a series of microcassette tapes Matt sent to Deathprod in 1992, and he had yet to meet the band), a more noisy intro and breakdown, but almost completed lyrics. It has a good energy, and Bent’s voice is fully rested, so some good screaming in the bridges.

    Bent tries to liven up the crowd both before and after the track. "Would be fucking cool if you could stand a bit more. I feel like a kindergarten uncle when you just sit there leisurely amongst yourselves. Engage with us a bit! Please!" The crowd actually gets up and gets into it for "Sister Confusion". A decent version lifted by Bent’s energy in particular, and some spirited soloing from Snah.

    Deathprod isn’t very audible until "Another Ugly Tune" when a few sweeps slip through. This is just a weak track, and it would take more energy than they project here to get it off the ground... A cool "Frances" follows before Bent announces that "Now me and Snah will sing a ballad. It’s not too long.". And wow... After a quite beautiful intro that’s a bit of a song itself (it can almost be read as a prelude to the main part - also lyrically), Deathprod’s legendary intro to "Demon Box" fills the room. It. Kicks. Ass. Bent’s vocals in the choruses are awesome. They get really into it, and the sound starts to break up into an incredible melt at one point before the noise part. We only see silhouettes of the audience, but they seem puzzled, intrigued and perhaps taken aback by this most peculiar blend of sound. They’re still working on the arrangement at this point, and Bent gives a lot of cues. The noise part is also a lot shorter, and not as red hot as it would eventually become, but it’s already damn good in this embryo state, and makes it very clear than MP and Deathprod are a perfect match. Truly progressive, truly mind altering. And the first true highlight of the set.

    Bent then announces a brand new song. "We made a video for this yesterday, and we wrote the song last Thursday. This is called 'Sheer Profundity'." The very first - and a great version. The band is obviously inspired and energised by it. Superb vocals from Bent too.

    Up next is "Loaded", which is such an amazing track, and it gets the crowd going, and kicks off well up until Bent’s mic starts to drop out. Luckily it comes back, and the rest of the song is brilliant, with Deathprod adding a lot of magic.

    Bent references their May appearance on NRK’s U before "Home of the Brave". "We were on TV once, with this song, dedicated to you […] 'Home of the Brave!'" I looooove HOTB, although the slower it goes the better it gets imho. This one is still slightly in the fast lane, but Bent’s vocals are great here, and the song is just so damn great. The set keeps peak form with "Grinder", which gets the crowd going too. YES! This track works so well with Geb, and is quite simply a blast.

    They return for an encore of "Come On In", performed electric. It has a nice Crazy Horse-vibe to it, and rounds off a well-paced set. Very tasteful drumming from Geb here, and Snah is on point. I so wish the bass was louder, but what we hear of Bent is really good.

    This is the sort of recording where the Motorpsycho VHS Archive really lives up to its expectations - and then some. It is almost surreal to have such a good document of the first show from this legendary line-up, and the stretch from "Demon Box" through to "Grinder" goes from great to incredible.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. Devotional

    Motorpsycho VHS Archive #6
    1994-05-26 | Rome (IT)

    ***** | Home Of The Brave
    ***.. | Giftland
    ****. | On My Pillow
    ****. | Junior
    **... | Another Ugly Tune [cuts in]
    ***** | Feedtime
    ***** | Flesh Harrower
    ****. | Nothing To Say [cuts in]
    ***.. | Mountain
    **... | The One Who Went Away

    ***.. | California Dreamin’
    ***.. | Plan #1

    1994 kicked off with the release of Another Ugly EP in February. It was to be followed by extensive touring in both Norway and Europe, but Deathprod threw in the towel early, wanting to focus on his studies (and getting tired of playing "songs"). That opened up the door for Lars Lien. Lars was already considered a local hero in Trondheim, having started Brygga Studios in 1987 with Filip Dahl, and engineered a lot of high profile records - including everything Motorpsycho had done since 1992. When interviewed in 1992 about his ambitions, Lars told Adressa that he would have liked to spend more time actually playing music with his band Electric Blue instead of just engineering. The big chance came with Motorpsycho, who he was already was an integral part of by ’94.

    They first worked together at Brygga in January 1992 for the Soothe mini-album, where Lars also sang backing vocals, but for Demon Box he also played keyboards, and got a writing credit on "Mountain" (where he plays a Hammond organ and piano). He also contributed to the Mountain EP, but for the new Another Ugly EP, and the album they’d been working on, he was even more present, playing wurlitzer on "Another Ugly Tune" and piano on "Summertime Is Here". As well as engineering, he also ended up playing and/or singing on 10 out of the 15 tracks that would make up Timothy’s Monster.

    Speaking of which, before the Spring ’94 tour, only 4 songs from Timothy’s Monster had been played live. Those were "Trapdoor" (February 1993), "Leave It Like That" (March 1993), "The Golden Core" (August 1993) and "Giftland" (September 1993). But between the kick-off for the Another Ugly Tour in Sogndal on March 9th, 1994 and the Rome-show, no less than 6 more songs from the forthcoming album was premiered. Those were "Kill Some Day" and "GrindStone" in March, "A Shrug & A Fistful" in April, and "On My Pillow", "Beautiful Sister" and "The Wheel" in May. The latter was written at the sound-check for the Köln-gig on the 17th, performed as the final song that very evening, and went straight into the set from there onwards. Wow!

    For the first four concerts of the tour in March (Sogndal, Bergen, Oslo and Trondheim) both Lars and Deathprod played, and the first show with Lars as the sole keyboardist was at Folken in Stavanger on March 25th. Surprisingly, the debut performance of "GrindStone" was the day after at their second Stavanger-show.

    Lars is undoubtedly a much more traditional musician than Deathprod, so it is quite fascinating how little Deathprod’s departure seemed to affect the setlists in the beginning. They even kept "Flesh Harrower" around for a while. The March, April and May-sets were mostly awesome, some of them unbelievably amazing, such as 1994-05-14 Gent, which opened with "On The Toad Again", going into "Home Of The Brave", and closed with the ultra-rare "Very 90’s, Very Aware", "GrindStone" and "The Golden Core". What more could you want from life? Special mention too to 1994-05-11 Delft, which also had "On The Toad Again".

    Joining the band on the road for the May/June-leg were film-students Kjetil Solhøi and Markku Flink. They shot 30 hours - likely with footage from 23 out of the 24 shows on that leg (they possibly left the tour in Copenhagen on June 10th, but I’m far from certain)! This material was first edited as the documentary Another Ugly Tour - On The Road With Motorpsycho (first announced in September 1994), which Solhøi later expanded into This Is Motorpsycho (premiered in February 1996, and sold at shows that year on VHS), which also included footage from the final five-piece show on March 18th. There is footage from Delft, Groningen, Eindhoven (of which half an hour is "liberated") and Gent on those, but this Rome-show was shot by Fede Roscia and Riccardo Conti. They made a copy for the band, and Conti also sold copies of it to fans in 1997 (which did not have soundboard audio, mind you).

    As I followed the ever evolving setlists throughout May, I became increasingly nervous that they would tone the heaviness down by the 25th. The Münster-show on the 23rd was a bit of everything, but had none of the talismen from Gent.

    So here we are in Rome. The band have had two days off - hopefully spent resting, and not rehearsing new Prince-covers. We take our place, and find them opening with… "Home Of The Brave"! Oh my fucking God! YES! The tempo is perfect, the playing is flawless, the vocals are about 85 % as fierce as Roskilde last summer. That was the ultimate version, this is not all that far behind. A dream-opening.

    The show is shot with two cameras (one in the crowd, and one pretty much on stage left), and the sound is being adjusted a lot throughout "Home Of The Brave", going from a very noisy, but listenable audience recording (as featured on the original bootlegs), to a much clearer soundboard mix (possibly a matrix with the audience source) recorded by RAI Radio 1, that at first has a bit too much of Bent, then a bit too much of Snah. But it still sounds both exciting and physical. Geb is loud and clear, and HOTB is still quite the experience throughout all this. This band copy (which is probably one generation from the master) is an upgrade from what I’ve seen before too, with less flaws.

    Where do we go from here? Not surprisingly to a new one; "Giftland". It seems like a pretty good version, with plenty of energy towards the end, but the sound unfortunately goes lo-fi again in the beginning, and stays there. A downer, but the soundboard returns for the next track. The camera in the crowd is also using quite a bit of stop-motion effects, which is a shame, but it is what it is.

    There is what appears to be a cut, and it’s "On My Pillow" with soundboard audio. This is the best version I’ve ever heard of this track. It just oozes of inspiration and youthful Hüsker Dü-energy. There’s no autopilot here, just full on playing. So much better than Eindhoven. Snah is on fire - and then his guitar cuts out. Damn. Luckily it happens towards the end of the song. Bent asks Snah to turn up before "Junior". And wow, great version. Beautiful, heartfelt and very Grant Hart-like vocals from Lars.

    I was hoping they would skip "Another Ugly Tune", but it is its tour after all, so let’s get it over with. It’s played - if not sung with quite a bit of fire too. But that was only warming up for "Feedtime"! YES! It starts off without Snah, which actually sounds kind of cool. Amazing version. Top notch vocals from Bent, and even the unfortunate stop-motion effects can’t kill the energy from the band. The crowd gets going too. Brilliant! They follow it up with "Flesh Harrower", which is another huge highlight. Snah sings it, and sounds a bit tentative in the first verse, but really gets going after a while, and the entire middle section of the song, especially from where both Bent and Snah scream "FLESH! HARROWEEER!" and all through the noise part (where Lars uses Deathprod’s samples) is absolutely God-like!

    A red hot "Nothing To Say" follows, played with a lot of fire and enthusiasm. Bent’s vocals are incredible here. Afterwards, when Bent announces that "This is gonna take like half an hour, I guess", I was hoping he was introducing "The Wheel", but it was "Mountain". Okay! As much as I appreciate the extensive jamming in this (which gets a good reaction from the crowd), I was sort of hoping for it not to go on for too long, and take up the time from other tracks I was hoping for (hint: "GrindStone", "The Golden Core" and "The Wheel"). There are steller parts, and less than stellar parts during "Mountain", such as the part where Bent jokingly exclaims "This is what we call our little samba-trip. You can clap if you want." (read: "On bass: Derek Smalls. He wrote this!"), but more good than bad. Bent goes over and says something to Lars towards the end. I wonder what that was… Maybe to drop the extended outro? Or even worse - to drop "The Wheel"?

    They round off the main set with "The One Who Went Away". Great energy, but I have to say that I dislike Lars’ sound and playing here. It just sounds plodding, and takes away from the energy imho. A downer, but a fun track. They come back for an "oldie goldie", meaning "California Dreamin’" - the only performance of that on the spring tour. It’s always good to see them rock out like this, and they really play the living daylights out of it towards the end. I have the same problem with Lars here, although slightly less so. But I would have easily traded the past four songs for "GrindStone" alone.

    Then they close the show with "Plan #1", which goes back to the audience source again. It’s an average version (meaning it’s good), but suffers a bit from the lo-fi audio. Bent announces that they’re really sorry, but "we just can’t play any more. They won’t let us."

    That’s it, then. No "The Wheel", no "GrindStone", no "On The Toad Again" and no "The Golden Core". But it’s safe to say that even without those, there are still some mind-numbingly good moments here.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. Devotional

    Motorpsycho VHS Archive #7
    2001-10-12 | Bielefeld (DE)

    **... | Sunday Trane
    ***.. | The Nerve Tattoo
    ***.. | Neverland
    ****. | Superstooge
    **... | The Slow Phaseout
    ****. | The Other Fool
    **... | Whip That Ghost
    ***.. | Feel
    **... | When You’re Dead
    ***.. | Bedroom Eyes
    **... | Now It’s Time To Skate
    ***.. | She Used To Be A Twin
    ***.. | For Free
    ***.. | Working For MCA
    **... | Snafu [cuts in]
    ****. | Into The Sun [cuts in]

    ***.. | Sideway Spiral III
    ***.. | Painting The Night Unreal
    ****. | Stalemate
    ***.. | Watersound

    Motorpsycho are back at Forum in Bielefeld. It has been 18 months since they were last here on the Let Them Eat Cake-tour. Their latest album, Phanerothyme, was released in September, and was co-produced by Deathprod (as was Let Them Eat Cake and Barracuda). It also features Lars Horntveth, Mathias Eick and Line Horntveth from Jaga Jazzist, who along with their saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby, actually appeared live for the first time with the band at the Kristiansand-show on September 18th - 5 years after they first met in Tønsberg on March 8th, 1996, where Jaga supported Motorpsycho. They would go on to play with Motorpsycho on the two Oslo-shows of this leg too, and eventually join forces for a tour and record in 2002. But tonight MP is just the four-piece.

    One very unusual fact about the Phanerothyme is that only one of its songs was ever performed live before the record was released. That was "Go To California", which first appeared in March 2000. This is unheard of in Motorpsycho-history, but is solely due to the fact that they only did two shows in 2001 before the record, and those were the Coleman-jams in May. This meant that the Bodø-show on September 12th had no less than six brand new tracks, and the entire record was introduced to the live audience throughout September. Those early show were very heavy on material from their last three records, but they slowly started to introduce some older material as the tour went on, as well as brand new tracks and covers (as per tradition).

    The taper is standing pretty far back in the club, but with a good view of the stage, and there are plenty of close-ups. The sound is a decent audience recording with lots of atmosphere (if anything it’s a bit too distant) and a good range. Some digital sounding drop-outs in the audio makes me wonder if the source of this was not a VHS, but a DV-tape.

    They start off tentatively with the "Sunday Trane" instrumental, which is a jazzy, breezy track that is unique to this tour; giving the band time to settle in. Bent looks fired up and ready, zoning in on Geb. And both Snah and Baard sound focused and in sync. A promising beginning, although the track itself is nothing special. Bent explains in German that the song was a hymn to the "other" Forum in Enger, where they played many times until its closing in 1998. They then try to kick off "The Nerve Tattoo", but have to stop and ask for more lights from Morten because "we don’t see what we do". It is a solid, average version. Good stuff. Nice, deep bass in the audience recording during the noise-out.

    The brand new track "Neverland" is next, and the band seems to enjoy playing it. It goes down well with the crowd too. Such an annoying song needs a lot of fire to get going, and they bring it here. Bent’s bass-playing is awesome, Geb tears into it with punk rock vigor, and Snah has a lot of energy too. We even get a jump from Bent at the very end. Above average all the way.

    "Superstooge" next, and it is smoking at times! Great atonal interplay between Snah and Baard, and the main body of the track has a superb energy. They end up in a strange, heavy jam that has a sort of CAN meets Sun Ra vibe. Great, fun version, and a clear highlight.

    "The Slow Phaseout" sort of half-works. Snah’s Dan-Electro sound great, and the track has a nice groove. It never gets above "nice", though, which would take a lot to do. A highlight follows, though. "The Other Fool" kicks off in a frantic tempo, and Bent is incredible again. Killer soloing from Snah too, but Geb is the star here. Breathtaking energy, which really elevates Bent. Great version of a good song. A superb segway into "Whip That Ghost" too, which is also fine right up until the Bielefeld weed and wine gets the best of Baard, and he is swiftly reborn as Cab Calloway doing an obnoxious scat-takeover, which is terribly embarrassing. I even prefer his shambolic and out of time tambourine-playing, which he does crawling on the floor in front of Snah. A fitting retitle would be "Mute That Cunt". The song never recovers, it just speeds up, and while the over-excitement (read: over-compensation) is charming - and I much prefer that over apathetic resignation, it’s also very Spinal Tap. The audience loves it though, and the mood is great.

    Baard is back on point for "Feel". This is a pretty average version, but Snah seems to be really into it, which is great to see. Some beautiful close-ups here.

    "It’s time to give the drummer some", Geb calmly says before "When You’re Dead". It’s a pretty decent version of this quite lovely track. "Bedroom Eyes" follows, and it’s a very good and focused version. Snah and Baard are spot on here. I just wish the recording was better, because the distant sound takes quite a bit away from it here.

    Snah picks up the bass for "Now It’s Time To Skate", and does a grand job too. Bent sounds a bit rough around the edges, but has plenty of energy. It is a decent version, bordering on good at times.

    "She Used To Be A Twin" is a pleasant surprise. It is not a remarkable song, but this is such a spirited version that it’s hard not to get engaged. Baard is fairly economic, Geb is super energetic, and Snah just has a good night overall. The hard rocking ending is downright great!

    The good energy is carried over to "For Free". Solid version. Bent struggles a bit again with the scream-part, but overall it is energetic and inspired. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s "Working For MCA" keeps the rocking mood going. Merely a decent track, but they really tear into it, lifting it to a pretty enjoyable number.

    There’s a cut, and the new track "Snafu" follows. This is such a mediocre track, and has very little going for it in my book, but Geb lifts it with his relentless energy. Another cut follows before "Into The Sun". It is quite far from the ’97 energy, but even with Baard’s dam, uhm, tambourine-playing, it is still pretty damn good. Snah is in the zone, for sure. A very good end to a main set that has been fair enough.

    "Sideway Spiral III" serves as a psychedelic relief, and has a gorgeous "melt" with a light trip into psychoverse towards the end. Nice! "Painting The Night Unreal" is also a nice choice. Beautiful melodic play from Snah in the beginning. Smooth, good version.

    What follows is a clear highlight. "Stalemate" is absolutely beautiful, and builds to a dark, brooding climax. They’ve really found a way to perform this underrated gem. They finish with a slightly below average "Watersound". The main body of the song is not top tier here, but the glorious ending closes the show on a beautiful note.

    Setlist-wise, this early Phanerothyme-tour might well be my least favourite of all time, and this particular show had one of the better ones at that. Things picked up almost miraculously for the spring 2002-leg, but there are not many shows on my want-list from the autumn-leg. That being said, while this isn’t a great show by any means, I truly believe that it is better than the recording suggests. A lot of detail gets lost due to the audience recording, which while it is clear and very listenable, is a bit too distant to fully reproduce the quiet bits in particular. Snah has a really good night overall, Geb has heaps of energy, and while Bent struggles a bit vocally, his playing does not suffer one bit. So yes, more than half the show is pretty good, with "Superstooge" and "Stalemate" being the two clear highlights in my book, closely followed by "Into The Sun".

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. Hans Boller

    Devotional, your write-ups are really excellent, I love the way you contextualise everything and give us the background information on many tracks, and the place MP where at when the shows were taped. You really did your reasearch, it must have been quite exhausting, but it was really worth it. And "poor English"? Kind sir, you must be fishing for compliments here! I only have one glaring mistake to criticise! The album version of Painting the Night Unreal is, as the title says, unreal! A true monster and one of MPs most underrated songs. I love Snah's playing on that one, especially his muted, pristine guitar solo!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. Devotional

    Thanks Hans! Good to hear that you found some enjoyment in them! I like a bit of historical context too, and I’ve done so much research on MP through the years, that this is really just a good place to dump some of it. Things are a lot easier today as well, when we have two great setlist-databases (+ Dampsaba), and a lot of newspapers/zines have been digitised too.

    Haha, I don’t think I’ve said a bad word about PTNU! It’s easily one of the two best tracks on Phanerothyme imho, and I agree about Snah’s playing. A shame they dropped it after the IALC-tour. If you refer to my ratings, those are based on the concert, not the album versions. For instance, "Feel" is easily a five-star track on Timothy's, but the versions played in Groningen and Bielefeld do not live up to that imho. On the other hand, "Neverland" is a track I despise, but it has so much fire in Bielefeld that it easily deserves three stars.

    Just curious: How would you rate the versions of PTNU in Amsterdam and/or Bielefeld out of 5 stars?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. Hans Boller

    My bad, you were referring to What if... and I thought you were still talking about PTNU. But I'd also disagree with you here, I actually think the album version is ok.

    I think I'd give both live versions of PTNU four stars, simply because I adore the song so much. However, I feel that both versions really lack the brass section, and the Amsterdam version is almost too rocky. Still, even when MP are not able to fully replicate their original vision, they leave 99% of all other rock bands in the dust.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. ffbernie

    Since we have all have to sit at home I thought I'd do my bit and post some more archival stuff ...enjoy this vintage acoustic set live at M20 cafe-KOLN 11-05-98

    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. Phoots Flower

    Thank you!!!
    Difficult times
    Much appreciated
    Animo a todos!!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. Bartok

    Nice! I’ve always wanted to see the entire set, the VIVA special being one of my goto acoustic MP vids on youtube, and ‘98 being my favorite MP year. Thanks!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. otherdemon

    Thanks for Köln '98!

    The Intro Dittie sounds a lot like Stonehenge by Spinal Tap

    Posted 2 months ago #

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