Friday night may have been the hottest night in Brooklyn so far this summer, and since Shea Stadium doesn’t have indoor AC, it also may have been the worst time and place for a concert. Regardless, a decent amount of people braved the potential for heat exhaustion to sweat through sets by Magik Markers, United Waters, and Burning Star Core.
Burning Star Core
Burning Star Core is the moniker of solo artist C. Spencer Yeh. His set largely comprised of looping violin over basic electronic beats and building up layers of noise. He had a table in front of him with an array of pedals and samplers, that he one-handedly twisted and turned while holding his violin tightly under his chin. On his second song, he gave his violin a rest, and grabbed the mic to vocalize what sounded like experimental beat-boxing (is there a such thing as noise-boxing?). “This is a cover,” he announced for his third song, but since it was a very droning ambient cover, it was completely impossible to recognize.
Next was United Waters, the solo project of Brian Sullivan of Mouthus. Sullivan was backed with a second guitarist and drummer with electric drum pads, and together they created their own wall of fuzzed out noise. Sullivan’s sparse, muffled vocals were all but completely swallowed by the cloud of sound they created, and most of their set was instrumental. This show was United Waters’ debut as a band, and honestly, I’m impressed enough that they didn’t play like zombies in the oppressive heat.
At this point, the heat in Shea was almost unbearable, and most of the crowd opted to watch from the little balcony through the window. Largely due to this, Magik Markers played only three songs. Left-handed guitarist/vocalist Elisa Ambrogio for some reason buttoned up a collared dress shirt before the first song, but immeditely after the song ripped it off. She started off with simple notes, pressing strings with her thumb, building up sound along with the bassist before going crazy strumming and creating massive feedback. The Hartford, CT based trio reminded me of Sonic Youth in their more experimental noise-rock endeavors. Ambrogio swayed all over the stage, creating feedback in front of an amp and then slamming down to her knees on the floor of the stage, hair in her face, hands a blur. Sparingly, she screamed rhythmic vocals into the mic, looking red-faced and wild. Drummer Pete Nolan kept the beat through the broiling heat, and seamed ready to keep playing after the third and last song. “That’s it?” he commented to the bassist after Ambrogio had left the stage. As anti-climatic as the end of their set felt, it was unsurprising. I’ll expect the “one more song” chants to be answered at the next gig in less brutal conditions.
Magik Markers don’t have any further dates listed, but they have a wealth of recorded material to hold fans over until they do. There’s very little information about United Waters as a band in general, but their new LP, Your First Ever River, is now available through Arbitrary Signs. Burning Star Core also appears to have no further dates, but you can listen to recordings of Yeh’s various projects here.