Nate Denver's Neck / Mesh
Bottom of the Hill
July 2, 2002

Review by Squid

! In the words of They Might Be Giants, "He is our hero!" San Francisco, have you seen this guy yet? No?! Are you stupid?! Nate Denver is officially the hero of the SF scene, a Grim Reaper with a cardboard scythe taped to the end of his electric guitar. The majority of his songs are weird collision of Ivor Cutler and uh...Cradle of Filth. They're usually short, ingeniously written and sung in either a basso death metal croak or a sweet childlike ramble. Backed with only a DAT and shielded with Skeletor mask, Denver treated us to a guided tour of musical D&D. The highlight of the set for us was a Wagneresque monster of a song with something like 15 verses written from the point of view of a famous ballet dancer whose arch rival attacks him and renders him paralyzed. Said ballet dancer then sells his soul to a demon to seek revenge...and that's only halfway thru the song. It was ingenious microfiction written skillfully enough to keep the audience listening. And listening. And listening. Not since Bobby McFerrin's 'Ten Minute Version of the Wizard of Oz' has Squid seen an audience so entertained with a single premise. Awesome.

Ever stuck your head into the engine of a Boeing 747 while it was running? Then you have a pretty good idea of what Mesh can sound like. Mesh were two fellows and a wall of big, lovely white noise. At points when the noise ebbed away, there were twangy dissonant ballads that made us think of Cramps and Nick Cave. They definitely had great moments, especially at the end when they dispensed with the electronics and played a beautiful quiet song with only a singer and acoustic guitar. We dug the noise, but damn, we loved that last song.

Nate Denver's Neck
July 2, 2002 :-: Bottom of the Hill
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June 1, 2002 :-: El Rio, Mission Creek Festival
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