Cloaca Melodia

My life in concerts, by Mike Sauter.


About 9 Times

The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

About 9 Times was a trio from Texas, I believe from the Dallas area. We played their "Walking Through Elephants" (off the 1985 album Play Jacks) at WICB, and though I really liked the song I probably wouldn't have gone to the show had fellow DJ Glenn Raucher not talked me into going.
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When we got to The Haunt, it was so empty we momentarily thought we had the start time wrong and arrived way too early. But no, the band came out soon enough and began their set to less than a dozen audience members. Glenn and I pulled up chairs and sat to watch the show, a novelty since The Haunt had only a few tables with chairs and I rarely, if ever, snagged one for a show.

About 9 Times was a trio, featuring brother and sister Wendy and Chris Broadstone and Jim Cocke. Wendy was the flute player/lead singer, Jim was the keyboard player/backing vocalist, and Chris was the drummer. Of course, when I say "drummer" that only gives you a small impression of his role in the band.

His drums were more of a "percussion station" than a mere kit. It took up the left-hand side of the stage, not relegated to the back, and featured a few standard drums, a bunch of electronic pads, and a whole lot of homebrew and unique percussion elements. His gear included a skull, a shovel with screws fitted loosely into drilled holes, and a bucket full of chains.

Back then, synthesizers were not as robust as they are today. I recall that between songs Jim had to sometimes pop out a 5 1/4" floppy disk from his synth, jam in another one, and then punch a bunch of buttons before he was ready for the next song. Once when he had a particularly complicated setup (or his keyboard was fighting him) and Wendy introduced their next song, he shouted out "From hell!" Wendy explained that that was their code for her to stretch out the between-song patter to give him some extra time--since there were so few audience members that night, they weren't standing on ceremony and were giving up their secrets.

To conclude their set, they played a song with a long instrumental finale. Jim put his keyboard on autopilot and joined Chris over at the percussion station, grabbing some sticks and banging on some of the drums himself. This is when Chris brought the metal bucket out to the front of the stage and started wailing on it with a chain. With great deftness, he played the "wh-sh-ch" of the chain rattle and the massive "thwomp!" when he struck the bottom of the bucket with the chain in syncopation to Jim's drumming, Wendy's flute soloing, and Jim's keyboard chugging along by itself back on the other side of the stage. It was a breathless and exhilarating coda to their performance.

There's not a whole lot of info about them available on the web, but you can download a handful of mp3s (including my favorite "Walking Through Elephants") on Chris' website (he's now a horror writer and filmmaker--I guess those skulls on his kit back in the day were not for the sound only).

NOTE: after years of research I finally found the correct date for this show: June 14, 1987. About 9 Times performed on two consecutive nights at The Haunt, June 13th & June 14th, but the Saturday the 13th date featured The Winter Hours as headliner and I didn't see them so I must have gone on the Sunday show.

...and here's the Ithaca Journal preview:


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