Written by Samuel Barker
Jun 01, 2003 at 08:00 PM
ImageLeave it to the man behind some of the most innovative music of the past decade, Mike Patton, to start a record label where one can actually tell the bands apart. Patton, with co-owner/creator Greg Werckman, have made a label that embraces diversity and gives music lovers something for all their tastes, which is unheard of in today’s world.One doesn’t have to look much further than up the road to find a fine example of this as Ipecac has it’s Geek Show on the road, displaying some of the brilliant musicians and artists who record for the label.

Headlining the show was Patton’s newest band, Tomahawk. Masterminded by former Jesus Lizard member, Duane Dennison, Tomahawk has the signature oddball traits that many of Patton’s other projects contain, but they’re in smaller doses. Tomahawk is actually more recognizable for it’s quality rock riffs and rhythmic base than anything else.

Live, the band more than anyone could expect from a so-called ‘All-star’ band. While most bands made up of heavy hitters from the indie music scene, Tomahawk doesn’t seem to be on the verge of meltdown, rather it seems they are riding a creative wave sure to produce more ideas than the two albums they’ve produced thus far.

Those familiar with Patton’s previous projects have become accustom to seeing him take refuge behind his podium-like arsenal of microphones, effects and samplers. Rarely moving from behind them, much of Patton’s passion gets lost as he drops from site when moving around. However, on this night, Patton left the refuge of his domain and showed a passion missing from some past performances.

Patton’s passion combined with John Stanier’s (of Helmet fame) driving drums, Kevin Rutmanis’ bass grooves and Dennison’s trebly guitar riffs, Tomahawk blew the uninitiated away and left those familiar with the band a ear and mind full of fresh ideas and quality sounds.

ImageOpening the show were Dälek and the Melvins, who each played separate, but seamless sets, never letting the sound from the one end to the other.

Anyone who says turntables aren’t an instrument has never seen Dälek. Combining one DJ going off the hook with effects driven turntables, another behind a computer kicking out beats and samples and an MC throwing down some rhymes on top, people were left with their heads bobbing, body thumping and minds blown.

As rap and mainstream hip-hop get increasingly more watered down, Dälek is a breath of fresh air and bit of light in the darkness. There is hope for hip-hop after all.

Rutmanis, playing double duty with the Melvins and Tomahawk, along with Dale Crover entered the stage just as Dälek was closing up. Crover began beating his drums in unison with Dälek’s beats, fire alarms sounded and Rutmanis began yelling into his megaphone and playing bass along with the rest of the sounds.

ImageAs Dälek broke their equipment down, Crover and Rutmanis kept the sound going until Buzz Osbourne came on stage and the rock began. Surprisingly, the Melvins covered their entire career, songs from the Fantomas split album like Night Goat and older tracks like Revolve kicked the set off and got the audience moving.

Many in the audience were surprised that the Melvins weren’t headlining the show, but none were displeased by the end of their set, which lacked nothing from their headlining set in terms of song coverage, energy and brilliance.

Shows like this are few and far between, definitely nothing like this is done by a single record label, but Ipecac pulls it off brilliantly and leaves everyone knowing there is still some people making music that is innovative and intelligent.