LEE RANALDO and LARVAL at Lee's Palace, September 5. Tickets: $15. Attendance: 180. Rating: NNN
the unwieldy skronk of seven-piece noise orchestra Larval set the tone at Lee's Palace Thursday. Those wearing Sonic Youth tour shirts hoping for a quaint run through Eric's Trip by guiterrorist Lee Ranaldo would be disappointed.In town en route to a gig and lecture at last week's remarkable Guelph Jazz Festival, Ranaldo climbed onstage after Larval's fearsome assault, mumbled a few words about the films he'd be showing behind him and then sat down and began disemboweling his guitar.
As he played every part of the instrument, waving it in the air, scraping it down the walls and processing the sounds through a handful of pedals and gadgets, Ranaldo's 60-minute sound sculpture took over the room. The noise started slowly, with a few errant bursts and some brittle strumming, before slowly swelling into a throbbing drone that seemed to fit the flickering road films on the screen.
A crucial component of the textured wall of noise was local sampler manipulator Dave Diamond. Hunched over a tabletop box in almost total darkness, Diamond grabbed and garbled shards of Ranaldo's guitar lines and floated disembodied voices and phone messages over the din.
The collaboration didn't always work, and it's easy to say that the only reason a few hundred people came out to see an hour of improvised solo guitar was because of the name-recognition factor, but so what? How often do you get to see a guy named Lee take over Lee's Palace?