The Skaters Solo / P.A.R.A.
Modern Tower; Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

Mordern Tower is a cosmic, low-key music and poetry venue set into a super old Roman-era stone wall, now out the back of Newcastle's Chinatown. Naturally, these three expert noise adventurers -- P.A.R.A. (a.k.a. Labanna Bly) joined James Ferraro and Spencer Clark, who were playing solo sets rather than as their usual duo Skaters -- made the place even more magical.

Once the sun had gone down, P.A.R.A. changed from double denim to ephemeral gowns (and wig) and filled a table with a buttload of weird New Age jewels, bowls, incense, a MacBook covered in fur, keyboards, and one amazing Gridiron or motorcross helmet pimped out in feathers and fur -- all with pickups attached. Tapping the bowls, for instance, caused a strange resonance, exemplifying pristinely the paradox between the organic and the digital that seems at the heart of her dreamed-out noise wanderings.

Tonight, Spencer Clark, one half of Skaters, played as Monopoly Child Star Searchers. He sat at the desk, now sans those mystic adornments and replaced with a couple of small keyboards (one only had like five keys left!) and some pedals. There seemed to be a slight malfunction with the PA during his set, causing an intermittent and weirdly percussive clicking sound that only built on the skattered rhythms that eventually wiggled out of his blunted tropical noise. It was real head-nodding material, and paired with massively psychedelic imagery via layers of squiggle, it was absorbing and salubrious.

Skaters' James Ferraro ended the show as Genie Embryo Garden, sitting around his keyboards and pedals. It's always struck me as amazing that his myriad CD-Rs and tapes of liquidy textures are all created from scratch, aside from the odd Beavis and Butthead sample. For noise so obsessed with pop culture, it's incredible how otherworldly and just plain bizarre these ’scapes are, channeling tack culture and and cereal boxes as much as intergalactic feelings and astral vibrations. His set focused on a twinkly and busy ambience that had a constant scruffy grandeur, shimmering in a similar way to those dozens of recordings. His particular sort of mystery was still all over his improvised set; even seeing him embark on those insular processes right in front of us, it was, fittingly enough, still unclear how exactly it was happening.

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