Cex - "Baltimore" (mp3)

Over the weekend, while I was finishing up my Stylus review of Actual Fucking, Cex was making the last stop on his recent tour here in Bmore, so I went to the Talking Head on Saturday to check it out. For a couple years, it seemed like every time Cex played a local show, he'd headline at the Ottobar and the place would be practically empty, and I'd wonder why he wouldn't just play a smaller room like the Talking Head. I don't know, maybe the guarantee was higher at the Ottobar or something. So it was kind of cool to see him at the TH for once and pack in a decent sized crowd, even if I personally like hanging out at the Ottobar more.

I got there in the middle of the first act, Lizz King, who was a girl singing solo with this throaty voice that sounded kind of hot. During the 6 songs I saw, she played 2 on a banjo, 2 on an electric guitar, one on an acoustic guitar, and one on a synthesizer, a couple of which had drum machine accompaniment, but basically all the songs were slow bluesy vamps, which really worked well with her voice. She was the kind of charmingly awkward girl who thanked her parents for coming to the show, and then later mentioned that she lives in the Copycat building and needs new roommates and basically invited the audience to come live with her. Her set kind of made the club feel like someone's living room, although the Talking Head's main room isn't really much bigger than that as it is.

The 2nd band, Love Of Everything, share a drummer with Cex on this tour, and are kind of a spinoff or related project of Joan Of Arc. I saw them play a couple shows about 3 years ago, and Love Of Everything were awful then and are awful now. They do basically the same thing as Joan Of Arc, making pretty, generic bedroom indie, that occasionally lapses into something intolerably annoying and pretentious, only the ratio of intolerably annoying stuff is a lot higher with Love Of Everything. The main guy, Bobby, basically talked like a retard between songs, and one song consisted of him actually shouting the word "retarded" and looping it over and over.

I hadn't seen a Cex show in almost 2 years, not counting the Sand Cats show I saw last year. For a long time, Rjyan Kidwell only ever performed as Cex solo, but now he's got kind of a band, with Cale Parks from Love Of Everything on drums, and his wife Roby singing and operating I guess a sampler along with him. The last Cex show had the same people, along with a few more people, and I guess they were playing some of the same material, but of course I hadn't heard the album yet, so I don't really know if it was the same songs or anything. I guess it was similiar, but I didn't like that show too much, and this show was pretty good, probably the most I've enjoyed a Cex show in the 3 years since he stopped performing Being Ridden material. Parks is a really good drummer and basically the onslaught of percussion and synths and samples all really gelled together into this big aggressive sound. Rjyan made a couple references to a rave as the experience they were trying to emulate, but it really felt like a rock show to me.

Their set consisted of 5 of the 8 songs from Actual Fucking, but stretched out to the point that the set was about as long as the album. They started with "Baltimore," maybe the best song of the album and the show, and towards the end Rjyan incorporated samples of Blaq Starr's "Get My Gun" and snippets of K-Swift talking on the radio. Rjyan was wearing a red cowboy hat, a sleeveless flannel shirt, long hair and some pretty serious mutton chops, so he basically looked like a 17-year-old trying to look like Rob Zombie. As a look, it went well with the percussive, confrontational music, though.

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