On June 28, 2000 we had a really excellent—classic, even—punk rock show at Speak In Tongues, our D.I.Y. venue in Cleveland, Ohio.
Lightning Bolt, the headliner this night, definitely brought an art school edge to things. Formed at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), they were state of the art around this time—everyone was buzzing about them. Drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson brought Ruins-type thrash prog to American audiences. Just blew them away every single time. They were a sight to behold.
And the volume! Lightning Bolt always set up huge columns of amps in the middle of the floor, like they did this night at Speak In Tongues, and then started just hammering on their instruments the second the openers were finished.
Razak Solar System was drummer Kevin Jaworski, vocalist/synthesist Steve Peffer and me, Sean Carnage, on bass and—on this night—an old-ass Arp synthesizer. We were also keying off Japanese bands (Boredoms, Ruins) but also Roxy Music and King Crimson and The Mentors. Weird mix, I know.
Razak Solar System had been around for about one year at this point. Opening for Lightning Bolt and Numbskull felt like coming home for us. It felt like, these were bands that we understood and got us as well, so the crowd had to be great, right? They were. A very generous audience showed up this night.
Razak debuted our double synth attack in SIT’s new-ish basement show space, ‘The Ashtray.’ I’ve posted about that before—the space was christened the night Men’s Recovery project played.
By the time Lightning Bolt rolled into town, the basement was filling up with junk again—as you can see from the photos below. (This may have been the last show before entropy won and the area became impassable.)
Jake Kelly made the excellent (as always) flier. He and middle band Numbskull both seemed to be in touch with the dark history of Cleveland. Authentic Lake Erie grime and mystery and absurdity that you really don’t see or hear in non-Rust Belt cities.
Numbskull had a long history on the scene dating back to the 1980s (these guys are genuine punk rockers!). They were reemerging in 2000 as awesome, irreverent and gnarly as they had ever been. Honestly, it was a relief from the ultra-PC Emo stuff that most often passed for entertainment during these years. I was namechecking the Mentors—Numbskull had a bit of El Duce wasted swagger, mixed with a smart Nomeansno kinda thing.
I was so happy.
Someone snapped random photos of Razak Solar System. Who? I dunno. Are there any more? I dunno.
And here’s Lightning Bolt’s tour film, The Power Of Salad & Milkshakes, filmed the same summer as this show (but not at Speak In Tongues sadly):
Razak Solar System actually got a “thanks” on the DVD, and so did Jake Kelly (they montage a bunch of fliers on one of the disc ‘extras’—I miss extras). Classy. Thanks so much, Brian and Brian.
While we’re at it, can you help me with details about these other SIT photos?