The Null Device

Dirty Three

I finally went to see Dirty Three tonight, and I don't see what the fuss is about. Yes, there is dionysiac energy in his violin playing, but the arrangements seemed fairly bland, and a bit on the random side; not as emotive as, say, the Bad Seeds, or as intense as someone like, say, Mogwai. IMHO, as far as string-based live acts go, FourPlay do a better job. (I'll probably get death threats over this, I know...)

One thing I noticed: Warren Ellis the violinist has a lot more hair on his head than Warren Ellis the sequential-art writer.

Oh yes, and Black Heart Procession were quite good too; they started with a prerecorded video with some English-accented Nick Cave lookalike announcing that Black Heart Procession are dead, having all been gruesomely murdered, and that the musicians playing tonight are merely their restless spirits in borrowed bodies. As the two musicians played (guitar, keyboards and theremin), videos of the band were projected behind them (some of them looked a bit Lynchian, and others had that surreal, and vaguely macabre, quality favoured by certain San Franciso hipster types; the Lomo-style split screen on the first one was kind of doovy though).

(And apparently the new Ninetynine song is titled "My Hobby Is Better Than Your Hobby". I wonder if this title will stick, though.)

There are 27 comments on "Dirty Three":

Posted by: Graham Sun Mar 9 14:01:54 2003

The Black Heart Procession? Egad. That's one CD I haven't been bothered listening to twice.

Posted by: Luke Mon Mar 10 03:59:15 2003

Mogwai? Pfffffft. They wouldn't know arrangements if it bit them on the arse. One of the few shows I've walked out of.

Posted by: shauna Mon Mar 10 04:07:37 2003

*death threat*

Posted by: Luke Mon Mar 10 04:09:38 2003

It wasn't a theremin, either. It was a musical saw...

Posted by: shauna Mon Mar 10 04:11:48 2003

*death threat*

Posted by: acb Mon Mar 10 05:15:12 2003

I think Mogwai were my second- or third-favourite show of 2002.

Posted by: Luke Mon Mar 10 05:37:35 2003

Perhaps they'd learnt some form of stagecraft - or decent songwriting - by that point...

Posted by: Graham Mon Mar 10 06:26:25 2003

Stagecraft? Mogwai? They're a gloomy guitar-playing shoegazing combo, not the freakin' P-Funk All Stars.

Posted by: Graham Mon Mar 10 06:26:55 2003

Oh yeah...

*death threat*

Posted by: acb Mon Mar 10 12:52:35 2003

What, Mogwai gloomy?

Though Christopher Brookmyre (a Scottish crime novelist, whose books are incidentally very wry and entertaining) did use them as an example of sitting-at-home-and-moping music. Though that's perhaps because he has a thing about mentioning Glaswegian rock bands in his books. I found it rather odd myself.

Posted by: Luke Mon Mar 10 13:10:32 2003


Navelgazing, more like. More insipid guitar-wrangling I've yet to come across. They're not sit-at-home music; that's Suede. Mogwai are the sort of guys who sit around the pub talking about glassing somebody but never actually do it; cut-price musical Begbies who aim for some grandiose statement and come across sounding like twats who haven't shrugged off their Glenn Branca record collections yet.

Posted by: Graham Mon Mar 10 13:32:17 2003

Funny, I could say the same thing about the piano player in Black Heart Procession.

Posted by: acb Mon Mar 10 14:18:54 2003

There must be two bands named Mogwai, in that case. That's definitely not the outfit I saw last year at the Prince of Wales.

Posted by: cat http:// Mon Mar 10 16:16:25 2003

you can't even compare the dirty three and the bad seeds they're not even simmilar, not unless you count the bad seeds' last three albums (which are lame). nick cave's new stuff is all overworked empty cliché and about as emotive as cardboard.

Posted by: shauna Mon Mar 10 23:26:23 2003

shit! sorry about the double death threat. i can only kill you once, after all :D

Posted by: Luke Mon Mar 10 23:35:32 2003

Really? You must've seen Jellybean Jam on one of their harder nights, acb. Mogwai remain lamentably average. At least the pianist from the BHP manages to be grateful that people are listening to his stuff: Mogwai's biggest communicative gesture so far is making those oh-so-rebellious Blur t-shirts.

Posted by: datakid http:// Tue Mar 11 00:36:29 2003

wow - slagfest over a band - isn't there something useful we could be doing today?

Posted by: acb Tue Mar 11 00:39:12 2003

As far as the Bad Seeds go, I sort of stopped getting their stuff at Murder Ballads. (Nick Cave seems to have mellowed since discovering the New Testament, and artistically that's not necessarily a good thing.)

A more recent thing in a similarly emotive vein: Augie March's _This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers_.

Posted by: Peter Tue Mar 11 01:21:00 2003

I must say, with full willingness to accept death threats of my own, the Dirty Three are boring as all fuck. Always have been. All the bother about them is completely unwarranted. As you said, their arrangements are uninteresting, their chord changes and melodies, such as they are, are uninspired... So nerrr.

And Nick was much better pre-Warren ;) As Cat says, the last three albums have been mighty disappointing, although I thought Murder Ballads was kinda parody-cliche Nick too. Last really good album was "Let Love In", last brilliant album was "Henry's Dream"...

Posted by: Luke Tue Mar 11 01:54:50 2003

Well, personally I've never seen the sock-wanking appeal of Fourplay, in either version... but then I suppose I'm not remixing them, so I wouldn't.

Posted by: Luke Tue Mar 11 01:58:33 2003

I do agree, though, that Cave's Brill Building stylee work ethic now isn't as successful as his earlier stuff. But I still contend that _No More Shall We Part_ has some great stuff on it; I think his newfound "maturity" helps in some instances, purely because he doesn't have to be in SuperSmackSeedyFuckLand all the time. Though there's unevenness in everything he does, I suppose.

But hey. I'm probably a bigger fan of _The Firstborn Is Dead_ than anything else.

Posted by: Graham Tue Mar 11 06:04:33 2003

Just as well nobody's mentioned George yet.

Posted by: Luke Tue Mar 11 08:54:19 2003

Only 'cos I thought it was taken as read...

Posted by: acb Tue Mar 11 12:03:05 2003

Ooh, you *bitch*!

Posted by: Leon http:// Fri Mar 14 16:26:38 2003

yes... The Dirty Three were positvely *DULL* last saturday night. The world does not need another Warren Ellis high kick after a pretentious story about nothing at all.

The evening belonged to The Black Heart Procession...

Posted by: booger http:// Sat Mar 15 08:55:27 2003

The arrangements a bit on the random site! That's the best thing about them. The Tren Brothers are better.

Posted by: acb Sat Mar 15 13:17:52 2003

If I want to listen to randomness, I'll write a computer program that spits out MIDI events. Or go to What Is Music?.

I've done a lot of research into random music (I once started a Master's degree in computer-generated music). I came to the conclusion that random music is like random text; it may be grammatically correct as music, but it conveys no information and is boring as hell.

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