The following is a poorly connected version of notes written under three distinct and strange sets of mind and edited under an even weirder one. The first was the morning of the TOBACCO show this past Wednesday at the magnificent Lincoln Hall. The second mindset occurred after a few drinks during the show, and the final one in the early morning afterward. The editing and additional writing was constructed while I was battling a 102°F fever, thus taking sharp and unruly cuts and additions to the majority of the review, ending up with what has been salvaged by a fever of 100°F. For a more professional review that includes mention of the wonderful opening bands, The Stargazer Lilies and Oscillator Bug, please go to the Transmission section of Gapers Block. Honestly, just go to Gapers Block and immerse yourself in the writings of Chicago and ignore this rambiling. Or don’t, I’m not your mother. Yes, I’m still feverish.
tobacco is bad for you. specifically relating to your lungs. they will get all gunked up with a cancerous ooze that will rid you of you life essence quicker that you can say die. TOBACCO on the other hand is good for you. particularly for your ears and soul. its a ear massage of obscene lengths that raises you up on a cloud of gnarled analog synths and vocoder hymns meant to enlighten you to the truest sense of electro pop.
that being said, i chose an outfit of untempered colors: a watermelon hoodie with chewed up strings, dark jeans fading into relative non-useability due to wear and tear, coconut brown shoes with a white stripe across the nonexistent tongue, and a turquoise shirt depicting a more palatable version of the soundscapes i would be hearing that night. the shirt, designed by j-baz, of the ascended versions of guy-manuel de homem-christo and thomas bangalter, donning their robot souls via a transmutation of the charles schultz variety. i mention this only because i am a lunatic who wants to be comfortable and is ever aware of the unimportant statements being made by wearing such a shirt to such a show. TOBACCO is the antitheses of the perfectly cut and mannered daft punk. he is the raw expression and a deconstruction of the overtly pretty and sculpted electronic noise that the french men have more or less pioneered. my shirt is either an ironic commentary on the night’s festivities or just a fucking shirt. (its the latter. always the latter)
i went to the concert knowing what TOBACCO looks like. he’s a guy. but literally just a guy, like anyone you would find on the street. he’s unassuming and completely blends into the crowd and even into the ever helpful stage hands who set up his musical altar. there he was moments before, helping move things around to suit his need. most artists would leave this up to other people, but not TOBACCO. not thomas fec. i’ve come to find that the less flashy and more modest a performer is off stage the more absorbing they are on it. that fateful wednesday night, this assessment was again reinforced.
as soon as the lights came down, the screen against the stage lit up. it became a television screen with the channel set firmly on the one i would sit in front of during various sick days as a little boy, fox 32 or nbc 5 or even whatever channel had bought rerun rights of the jerry springer show at the time. sir jerry springer face rose well above the crowd, glibly presenting the morose case of of a young man being cuckolded by his best friend. lord jerry springer heard the young man’s follies, which included making himself a sandwich as his wife (not to mention mother of his young daughter) was being plowed in the next room. his eminence jerry springer simply couldn’t make heads or tails of the young man’s pitfalls. was it the young man’s fault he was so trusting of his best friend, who more than likely fucked the young man’s wife while he fixed his friend’s car? laughs and surprising gasps emanated in stereo effect from the great jerry springer’s show and the TOBACCO show about to start. also doubled was the almighty jerry springer’s visage on the ice cream melting logo of TOBACCO.
it all came to a sudden change of the boob tube, switching channels to a commercial expertly directed by eric wareheim. the advertisement (pronounced with a short i) spoke wonder of the best massage parlor in all the land. ULTIMA: MASSAGE II she’s called. it’s owner and operator, clearly an actor and not the actual proprietor, welcomed it’s guests to an other worldly experience. low guttural noise began to spurt of the venue’s sound system. i expected to hear the frightening screams of manipulated voice to yell RUN! although for most of my enjoyment of such noises i had heard the cries of RISE! but alas it’s RUN, RUN MOTHERFUCKER RUN! even then i was wrong. no such song of “streaker” played. thomas fec, the core of TOBACCO, and his compatriot the seven fields of aphelion maureen boyle tricked my tender soul and penetrated it with “lipstick destroyer”
what followed was an hour and half of visual and audio drugging. an ear drugging as my lovely and even bigger fan of TOBACCO cousin argiro would say. he is actually the one who made me rethink the valor of TOBACCO years ago. i had written the project off due to the underwhelming speakers from which i originally heard one of his songs. it wasn’t even a TOBACCO song but a black moth super rainbow song. we were gallivanting along the vendors at pitchfork circa 2012, when his eyes spotted a copy of bmsr’s dandelion gum. he asked if i liked them and i said, naw. naw. what a dumb little scrote i was. argiro made a worthy case for them, investing all his passion into his short but convincing argument. really, he said, try it again. and i did. my ears became open for the first time to the wonders of thomas fec.
the songs that night at lincoln hall dug into the deep recess of our minds, including that of my other less versed but endlessly intrigued cousin jando. the assault was virtually unrelenting. images came through the screen with frightening vigor, leaving my dark mexican skin with a surprising pallor. “face breakout” churned out its rotating ohohohohohohohohs at a dizzying rate through a heavy distortion. shots of puppets fucking each other merged with the fatboys silently rapping over electro trash that made my heart sing. nothing that i saw would have made sense without the accompanying music. in no world does the manic juxtaposition of dom deluise stuffing food into his face and exercise guru extraordinaire richard simmons make sense with out the TOBACCO of it all.
dusty thodes ran the ropes and escaped menacing sleeper holds in between a flash of ron jeremy and a nail salon. abdullah the butcher came by and stare into my eyes while eating the raw remnants of a chicken, something he is about as well known for as his fork and wrestling. around this time the crowd had begun to grow restless. the music was having a perverse affect. moshing ensued and swallowed the edges of it. it was a needed joyful exertion that last the rest of the night, well past freddy krueger’s appearance. it was a maddening encounter of bodies smashing into one another, a venerable body language. each shove a question, “are you enjoying the show?” each recoil and return an answer, “very much so, indeed!”
homoerotic beard rubbing, e.t. getting into a variety of sexual situations and motherfucking ninjas attacking random civilians sandwiched one of ULTIMA MASSAGE II‘s more recognizable songs, “eruption (gonna get my hair cut at the end of the summer)”, with lyrics so absurd and delightful that i memorized them and engraved them into my mind’s eye just in case. i quietly spat out the lyrics as to avoid drawing attention away from the mastery on display. not that i ever could. my favorite lines however broke free of my restraint. “your face don’t exist/like a motherfuckin’ shadow or a motherfuckin’ wish/and I always hoped it would be like this/eruption, eruption” . the song deviated heavily towards the middle, turning softer and gentler. it melted down to a puddle of colorful sugar, a jelly candy that melted under a surprising hot evening moon. i, too, felt my being change. i had, in point of fact, been listening to one of the best musical performances of the year.
TOBACCO and the seven fields of aphelion folded their hands together and and left the stage. i turned to my kin and could not believe that nearly 90 minutes had passed. surely this had to be wrong. the still tumultuous crowd roared on, demanding more and thus the two bastions of the evening return to indulge the musical gluttony of the audience at hand. the encore began with a visual story of pleasant animal control/disposal workers picking out the decaying carcasses of dearly departed raccoons and other wild life before the animal’s souls reemerged, resurrected much like the set had been. this final moments of the event seem displaced in my senses, i was simply taken in by all that had passed. there may have been another instance of alien porn, this one with a phallus so large i trembled in it’s wake. i can say that my severely torn to shreds of a spine held out as i shimmied away to TOBACCO’s luscious sounds. i have been to my fair share of concerts, and this one is topping my excitement level to no end.
argiro, jando, and i, julian, escaped from the hall of lincoln a little brighter and far more fucked up from when we had entered. catching a TOBACCO show is an experience that will remain with me for quite awhile. it really left an impression on me, making me appreciate what i had so long ago ignored. i leave you with a picture that best shows the results of such an experience: one of argiro connecting the broken chain of solidified children in the adjacent park, staring off away from their deadened eyes, basking in the afterglow. now, don’t be a scrote, go listen to TOBACCO.