Cloaca Melodia

My life in concerts, by Mike Sauter.


Big Audio Dynamite II/The Farm

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

I'm not 100% on the date for this show, and I can't find any corroborating info on the web. I've finally found documentary evidence of the date and other details of this show! It was one of the most fun concerts I've ever attended. I've been to perhaps better concerts, on a number of criteria, but rarely have I enjoyed myself more at a show.

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This was an outdoor concert at Deiner Park, a lawn built over Route 18 and overlooking the Raritan River. It was beautiful September night, with that sort of coolness which, when mixed with activity, is neither chilly nor hot.

Mick Jones' B.A.D. II's album The Globe had just connected with the cultural zeitgeist in a way that he hadn't managed since his days with The Clash (and, at this writing, he was not to do so again). Fueled by the big-beat dance-rock sound that was soaring to ascendency during 1991 (in what was also to be effectively its swan-song, as the hammer was even then being cocked to fire grunge's gun square at American musical tastes), "Rush" was just then becoming Jones' only U.S. post-Clash Top 40 hit; at WHTG, we had been playing it since late Spring. But the entire album was as good as that single, and I was listening to it more than almost any other album around that time.

The Farm was also achieving unique success with their terrific Spartacus release (justly proclaimed "100% groovy" on the CD's cover).

As I recollect, it was a free show and the place was packed. The entire field of people was bouncing and dancing throughout this show--enough so that, at its apex, I kept imagining this field build on what was essentially a glorified highway overpass was actually and perhaps dangerously moving in earthquake-like fashion.

As a fan of this musical style, and given its tremendous success of late, I can perhaps be forgiven for thinking of this night as a figurative--and nearly literal--tectonic shift in American culture. As it turned out, it was alas, a mere diversion before grunge, the actual headlining act in (and eventual destroyer of) '90s alternative rock. Either way, though, a damn great time.

The early opening band was  Downtown Science.

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The Wonderstuff/Milltown Brothers

Fastlane, Asbury Park, NJ

sorry, I haven't yet written about this show... feel free to post your own recollections if you were there!

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Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians

Tramps, New York, NY

This was a showcase for Hitchcock's new album, Perspex Island. Most of the audience was radio people, journalists, A&M Records staff, various music industry types, and 25 members of Hitchcock's fan club. As a radio DJ, a former A&M employee (mail room), an a bona fide Robyn Hitchcock fan, I was in my element.

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Prior to the show, A&M's promotions staff had a dinner for radio guests at a restaurant up the street from Tramps. It was the first time I was able to see some of my former A&M co-workers. I saw Wayne Isaak there, who ran the New York A&M office (then located in the Fuller Building, at 57th Street and Madison Avenue) and who reluctantly had to fire me when they had budget cuts. I was able to tell him with absolutely no rancor, "Remember when you let me go, you said 'This might be the best thing that ever happened to you'? Well, it was! So thanks!" And it was true, since my firing at A&M indirectly led to my hiring at WHTG.

I and my FM 106.3 colleague Matt Pinfield both attended this dinner had a quite enjoyable time. Matt had a quite an enjoyable time, with a rather heroic consumption of cocktails. When the time came for the stroll over to the venue for Hitchcock's performance, we encountered Dave Kendall of MTV's 120 Minutes with a camera crew in front of the club attempting to tape a piece for the show.

Matt decided it would be amusing to heckle Kendall, which he proceeded to do, loudly and repeatedly. Kendall finally placated Matt by interviewing him, man-on-the-street style, about Hitchcock. This wound up being Matt's first appearance on MTV, long before he would eventually take over hosting 120 Minutes himself (this incident is referred to here).

David Fricke described Hitchcock's show in Rolling Stone:
"We'll start with the first song and then continue with the rest of the set," Hitchcock announced dryly as he and his Egyptians -- bassist Andy Metcalfe and drummer Morris Windsor -- took the stage, "and then we'll finish at the end with the last song." He introduced one number as "an old song written by my mother, Ruth." It was, in fact, a Robyn original, "Acid Bird," from his classic 1981 solo album Black Snake Diamond Role. And after the exquisite, Beatlesque "Lysander," he sailed over everybody's head: "That last song was about a reconnaissance aircraft in World War II that drops people in occupied France. This song is about the same thing. It's called 'When You Hold Me Like Toothpaste, There's No Comparison.' "

It was called no such thing. The song was "Balloon Man."
Songs also performed include "Oceanside" and "Freeze."

Also catching the show was King Missile frontman John S. Hall. We chatted in between songs, having met a couple of months earlier when Hall and his bandmate Chris Xefos came by WHTG for an interview with Matt before a woefully underattended show at the Fastlane.

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