Cruel Summer featuring Wudun and A Drum Solo

by Jack Diablo

Show Review: “Cruel Summer” featuring Wudun and A Drum Solo
Venue: Eclipse
Date: August 25, 2009
Normally when I plan on reviewing a show, I have the date and time clearly marked on my calendar along with all the other things I have planned for the day. It can be hectic at times but it’s practically a necessity. Maximizing the fun, as I like to call it. However, it seems that no amount of promotion or planning is ever a guarantee of a good show. In fact, more often than not, it seems the most entertaining shows are the ones you stumble upon with little to no expectations whatsoever.
I knew there was to be a show at Eclipse and although I knew it would no doubt be worth the trip, I had planned on making an early night of it. Thankfully, a friend convinced me otherwise.
Before the music started I spoke with Taylor of the band Witch Porn who was supposed to be playing. Rumors were circulating that WP had canceled, so I asked him about it. Apparently the other member of the band had quit recently, leaving young Taylor high and dry. But rather than call it quits, cancel the show and begin looking for new band-mates, he decided to play a drum solo set and just see what happened, despite the advice of a friend who told him it would be a bad idea.
So much for listening to your friends. The performance was a shining example of what can be done with very little. The drum solo was not an elaborate Neil Peart-style display of technical prowess, but rather simple repeating rhythms on a three-piece set. To add a little theatricality, Jeremiah of Wudun performed a little interpretive dance with a tambourine (which he broke) alongside Taylor’s drumming. It was unrehearsed, pure improvisation and all the better for it. Afterward, I noticed that the signage listed A Drum Solo and suggested that Taylor either stay with that name or make an anagram out of the letters, but no matter what – keep doing it. One usually doesn’t realize the monotony of performing songs over and over until they see something unique and original that makes even the best of shows seem a banal affair.
Wudun played next, trading the stage for the floor, as they’re known to do. Wudun’s MySpace page lists their influences as “Decay. In all senses of the word. Rot, decompose, the sound, reverb, the process, the state, the colors breakdown, etc.” and that they have no musical influences because they “create music in a vacuum.” Although their music is certainly unique (and terrific), you can definitely pick out a handful of familiar elements. Or perhaps, it’s only our brains’ desperate attempt to associate something familiar and safe with something so clearly not. I suppose their music would fall under the general umbrella of indie rock, but closer to what indie started as and should have become verses the imitators and such that have flooded the genre in the past few years.
And if original and engaging musical performances weren’t enough to make this night a good one, there was great art from the likes of Clay Doran, Squid Dust, Crystal Floyd and others gracing the walls. Art and music mixers tend to be pretty hit or miss. But with talent such as this on display, Cruel Summer hit the bulls eye.