The Books, Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis / Knitting Factory / May 2, 2005
KFW + GD = Drone-o-rama! Big, pillowy swathes of sound pouring forth from a buncha computers, keyboards, mixers, percussion instruments and beards. They pushed buttons, banged on stuff and showed films of nature, toys and cats. Or at least I think they did. I couldn’t see everything that was going on because I was sitting in the balcony and that big pole was blocking my view. But the noize boyz I consulted with said it was awesome, man.
In between sets, we noticed that a girl down in front had taken her top off and was now wearing just a black bra. That was unexpected.
My only problem with the Books is their overzealous sampling. They have these gorgeous, lilting, folky melodies with just the right amount of glitch drizzled on top, and then they go and fuck them up with all these stupid dialogue clips. I found this to be particularly irksome in the live setting. Every time I saw that guy reaching over to push a button on the sampler, I wanted to scream, “NO! DON’T DO IT!” and then dive down from the balcony and bite off his hand.
The most fascinating member of the Books is vocalist/keyboardist/fiddleist (is that a word?) Anne Doerner. Spaced-out hippie earth mama chick with a husky voice, mad fiddlin’ skillz and even madder armpit hair. She looks like your favorite camp counselor or, if your brain has been fried by eating too many Nerds Ropes, the editor of Spin magazine. At one point she held up a jar of mayonnaise and said it was a portal to another dimension. Uh huh…
I thought the Books’ set was pleasant, relaxing and quite beautiful (samples aside). Yes, it was a bit long (I stopped looking at my watch after an hour and a half), but I was in total zone-out mode, lost in thoughts of the cosmos. Had I not been sitting in a comfy chair the whole time, however, my experience might have been different. Friends who stood down on the floor the whole time thought the Books were “some Phish bullshit I would have thought was cool in, like, ninth grade.” “It was like I went to see my favorite rapper perform all the great songs on his album but all he did was the skits.”