Mice Parade @ Echoplex, 6/07/2007
It’s 1035pm. No bands have taken the stage. Four bands are on the bill. I am seated on the bench directly in front of the upstairs soundboard. I hear a ruckus on the PA. “Excuse me.” I turn around and am now facing a guy with a grizzled four-day-old beard and my bloody valentine t-shirt addressing the room. It’s Adam Pierce, aka Mice Parade. “So sorry for the lateness. Not our fault, we came here to do a show and they weren’t ready for us. We tried to do a soundcheck at 7pm and nothing was here. And you guys, I don’t mean to be a soundcheck bitch or anything. So then they say they have a space downstairs, but there’s no power downstairs, their soundboard exploded two days ago, this is a brand new board, etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum. But we’re ready to go now, so please file downstairs and the bar says your tabs will carry over.”
As one, the room of people files down the stairs to (hopefully) fill the cavernous and presently empty Echoplex. A few notes on each set follow. Photos to come.
Kira Kira has flown in from Iceland just for this show. She’s making noises on gadgets that are (a) known noise-rock staples (you got your requisite melodica, your requisite kalimba, or “african thumb piano”, your requisite “box of screws and shit that makes a pleasing sound when shaken near amplification”), (b) normal instruments (laptop, guitar), or (c) modified objects not of this world. She “sigh-sings” wisps of notes over the entire mess but the laptop, with its harlequin costume mask, carries the weight of the set. Kira Kira’s also got the requisite possibly-crazed Icelandic vibe, and that is not a bad thing. She’s dressed in red from head to toe: red dress, red hose, red boots. One red outfit. As I am currently sporting a red t-shirt adorned with Porky Pig, I grasp an immediate bond that only the red-clad-in-public can possibly share.
Caroline croons with Mice Parade regularly, and she’s got a great voice. She’s accompanied by a guy with a laptop, a guitar, and a hat. ’Nuff said.
Tom Brosseau is folktastic, quiet, reserved, ridiculously modest, and talented as hell. But now I’ve got the requisite loud-as-shit-couple-in-a-quiet-unforgiving-room standing next to me. Eventually somebody walks up to them and by way of introduction says, “I don’t mean to come off like a dick, but could you guys just go over to the bar?” He motions to the bar, some 30 yards away in this former beauty salon. “Naw, man, it’s a rock show,” comes the reply. “I know. It is. And we can’t hear it. I am really not trying to be a dick but I’m pretty much speaking for a lot of people over here.” Eventually they acquiesce and …surprise! The whole room can now enjoy Tom Brosseau.
Mice Parade takes the stage just past midnight, and just in time to wake everybody up. Adam Pierce’s patience has been tried this evening, this much is clear. Feedback keeps spiking ears, mysterious bass rumbles emanate at inappropriate times and, to top off the numerous sound problems, he now has a beef with the overhead lights. “Man. Those lights are bright, they’re RIGHT THERE,” he grins. I can’t see a damn thing in here!”
Seven people are on the stage. They dive into the set, but sound problems continue to plague the show. Feedback is harsh and frequent. Pierce is pleading with the sound man. “Take down the highs! All of them! Help us out here, man…”
It is now 1245am. By the time he gets behind the second trapkit next to the massive vibraphone, Pierce is resigned to the course of the evening. “The moral of the story is: Fuck it. Just play.”
Mice Parade’s most recent album was released by FatCat Records on May 8. Buy it here.