The TCO Terrace: Music + Madness
by Bart Gazzola
One of my favourite memories of the summer of 2015 was being on the Craig Oliver Terrace at NAC listening to – or being immersed in – an environment of audio / noise / performance and film / video projections. The musicians / performers created an audio experience that wafted over the rooftops and the architecture of the nearby buildings – like the church tower – seemed to be part of the environment and cinematic scenes illuminating the terrace.
Summer is nearly back: and this Saturday, Simply Saucer, TV Freaks and the lesser known (for now) but definitely unique Rocking Horses will be taking to the Terrace, with what’s alternately been described as “spastic punk” (TV Freaks – punk is not so much dead as angrier and more nihilistic, a failed steeltown rage) or calmer Syd Barrett infused tones (Saucer) that bring to mind how many people I know here and other parts of the Ontario Rust Belt listened to “Welcome to the Machine” by Floyd while staring out at the wastelands….This will be a CD release event for Simply Saucer, as they mark more than forty years of their unique music.
In talking about the The Rocking Horses, I’ll paraphrase one of the members: he plays the coconuts and doesn’t need a microphone. And I’ll even put out the warning that though many performance audio interventions can be painful to endure, any group that presents interpretations of commercial jingles intermixed and creatively combined is guaranteed to be entertaining. (I may actually appreciate the “Pizza Nova” ear worm radio ad, and my lord, my mother used to shop at “Fabricland”, so the Horses’ are another version of local histories through insistent familiar “songs”). The set will only be twenty minutes (this is apparently a singular rule of performance), but the singular nature of the instruments used (one of the group may be employing a “bucket of oats”) should ensure that you don’t want to miss it.
Past instruments have also included cereal boxes filled with beans, and the randomness of the tools is echoed in the randomness of past actions by The Rocking Horses: some of you may have experienced their impromptu liveliness / interventions / audio acts in Montebello Park.
An interesting phrase that came up was grooveyhooves: I like to use it as one word, like a compliment. It brings me back to the aforementioned performance where the back projection mixed flaming apocalyptic landscapes with a reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica, with its white horse looking gigantic…couldn’t tell you who was playing, but those images and that aural assault is etched in my head. The best thing about performance art interventionist noise music events is that they are indescribable but often unforgettable. Simply Saucer has been hailed internationally as being in the ouvre of Nico / Warhol era Velvet Underground, whereas TV Freaks are fellow denizens of the industrial wastes, hailing from Hamilton; The Rocking Horses add a bit of odd local flavour, an unpredictable player in this not quite summer Saturday night mix.
It all starts at 8 PM: tickets at NAC or Mindbomb records, $20 (+HST) ahead of time, and $22 (+HST) at the door.