NOISE: O, we come in praise of those random acts of music


Yes, Virginia, there's much to catch up on since last week.

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Mars Volta for two, last Thursday at Oakland Arena. The scene was dumpy out in the parking lot before the show -- doesn't this look like the SUV pooped tin? Yeesh, clean up after yourselves, jerks.

Sloppy tailgaitin' Pepper-heads. All images by Kimberly Chun.

We got inside just in time to see the start of Mars Volta's set. Cedric was swiveling around like a mini-James Brown and the entire band got down admirably for some rad psych-prog jams despite the always-lousy arena sound. Nice pseudo-Satanic backdrops and occaisional sax skronk. For the finale the sax dude put his horn aside, sat behind a kit, while another player started wailing on a set of congas. Groooooovy.

As for the Chili Peppers, well what can I say? They are my guilty pleasure - I secretly love their pop hits and give them their props for being the first punk-funkers on the block. Yet why do all their other non-hit songs sooo similar. Despite the musicianship on Flea and Frusciante's part, I must admit I was downright bored for most of the show - must they jam endlessly on the most mundane riffs? Must Anthony Keidis cavort like a graceless goblin? His voice seemed just fine but his dance moves paled after the agile MV. I'd much rather read his recent, strangely fascinating autobio (which memorably kicks off with an injection by a sexy nurse).

Next up, Friday night: 7 Year Rabbit Cycle with XBXRX and Murder Murder. I'm sorry I missed XB but I got there early enough to see a new lineup for Guardian contributor Paul Costuros's Murder Murder, with Sic Alps's Matt Hartman and Comets on Fire's Noel Harmonson joining Costuros on sax and Ches Smith on vibes. Noise -and two drummers - t'was compelling.

Paul Costuros gets down with Murder Murder.

Then 7 Year Rabbit Cycle came on - and dang, did they tear it up. Ches Smith on drums has sort of become the centerpiece of the band, propping his foot up on a snare to reach a China cymbal, rattling and shaking, as everyone - partner Miya on bass, Rob on guitar, Kelly on vocals, fellow Xiu Xiu member Jamie Stewart, and Guardian contributor George Chen clustered around. Powerful stuff. Appreciative audience. Who could ask for anything more?


7 Year Rabbit Cycle don't go through the motions - they'll impress the fur off youse.

I took a break to head up north to Lassen volcanic national park. Awesome bubbling mud pits and cute bluejays. But then last night I was back to see Jean-Jacques Perrey - protege of Cocteau, Piaf, and Disney and Incredibly Strange Music star - play a special RE/Search event at Asphodel Records' Recombinant Labs in SOMA. Perrey fan Jello Biafra introduced the man.

Here's your Jello.

Perrey was a hoot - loved his jams particularly on "Mame" and "The Typewriter," his tribute to Spike Jones. I dare anyone not to crack a smile once during a performance.

Jean-Jacques Perrey shook his lil' stuffed pal along with the beat.

The man oozes infectious glee while pounding his beloved Ondioline, an early synthesizer - hard to believe he made so many of the sounds he creates with tape records, scissors and the sheer urge to splice. The much-sampled "EVA" was his closer - pure hip-shaking mod fun.

At 77 years young, Perrey proves you're never too old to mug for the camera.