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GIG REVIEW: Fennesz and Mike Patton, Dublin the Village, 4th June 2007

When I first contemplated going to this gig my initial worry was about the Fennesz - Patton collaboration. None of their music has been recorded and, as I'm not a big fan of Mike Patton's various projects I was worried in case Fennesz's compositions might suffer. A quick web search put me at my ease, when I found some positive reviews and a couple of interesting youtube clips of their gigs.
The worry was only removed until I arrived at the venue to find the Faith No More fans out in force, and the chinstroking-massive taking a backseat. There was some alarming chat in the queue to get in as well - people wondering if Patton would do any FNM material. I mean, how big a fan are you?? Even I know he is working with much more left field music these days.
Inside on stage it is obviously going to be laptop electronica all the way. There are many support acts, which was good for me as I'm not from Dublin so i got a chance to be exposed to their scene in handy bite-size chunks. Apologies if I get the names and identities wrong here but no-one spoke from the stage all night so it was hard to follow.
I only caught the end of CHEQUERBOARD with JIMMY BEHAN but they seemed to be the mellowest of the three supports, pretty guitar lines and a fairly gentle take on electronica. The rockers I was standing with near the bar were aghast already. ZAKKER were up next and were more lively, with hints of Aphex Twin and especially Autechre's shifting rhythms, they got a bit techno and got some good beats going on. Finally, ZOID finished up the support section and I thought he fell a bit flat, some pleasant noodly guitar and some folkier influences, but not terribly memorable.
I watched all of these in a reasonably comfortable spot at the front, but the Patton fanclub soon descends in anticipation. Whatever way you look at it, even if you have got to grips with Fantomas and the Bjork collaboration, if you are a Mike Patton and you have never heard the music of Christian Fennesz you will be in shock - and some of them obviously are!
As far as I can tell, this partnership is rooted in Fennesz's music; he does his normal, often beautiful, post-MBV guitar and laptop manipulations, and Patton's impressive vocal dynamics propel it into a slightly different realm. The opening is quiet and spooked, Patton emitting some truncated yelps and Fennesz taking them somewhere ambient but haunted, not unlike his live Ep with Ryuchi Sakamoto. The main body of the set is one huge piece, which is probably a bit too long, but still pretty impressive although at times you do forget that Patton is there such is the presence of Fennesz, staring unblinking into his macbook.
The duo really gel on the second piece which ends the set, Patton whooping and screaming, swapping mics and FX, although never being really intrusive. His delivery tonight actually reminds me of Blixa Bargeld the last time I saw him with Neubaten. The encore is deserved and is just as good, I really hope they commit some of this to a permanent record sometime soon. Hopefully they will record it in front of a different audience than this one, a few of whom left early, a few of whom booed and one wanker even saw fit to throw a plastic glass as they were taking their final bow. Ultimately the reaction was very positive and the minority discontent in the audience didn't really spoil it for me, as I was just excited to see one of my heroes in the flesh at last.

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