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A Spacerock and Avant-Prog Festival
Memorial Day Weekend (5/27-28), 2000

Wow! What a festival....  every band kicked ass, Columbus has never seen 2 nights of quality experimental music like this since Roland Kirk died.  If you weren't there, you really missed out!

Stay tuned for reviews, photos and the like!

Mike Sary of French TV created a top 10 list of reasons why one did not attend Quarkstock.  Enjoy....

1)Too distraught over collapse of Bruford/Fripp working relationship to leave house.

2)None of the bands spoke Italian or Hungarian.

3)The sooner Paul Williams goes bankrupt, the sooner he'll be forced to join Hawkwind.

4)Saving up to buy $89.99"Transatlantic Deluxe Boxed Set Edition "[Disc 1:Roine Stolt changing strings and tuning; Disc 2:Neal Morse going "Check 1,2,test,test..."for 72 minutes; Disc 3:Pete T. practicing 8th notes; Disc 4:Mike Portney's attempts to isolate squeaky bass pedal].

5)Attacked by toy robot at previous BORN TO GO gig.

6)Bought David Lynch's "piece of shit" car recently.

7)Had frightening premonition of FRENCH TV's bass cabinet blowing up.

8)Showed up at wrong "Ruby Tuesday's" and ate chicken wings all night instead.

9)Couldn't afford industrial-strength sunscreen to cope with Solaris Light


I will add an eleventh....  

11.  Your ZIP Code begins with 432 (i.e. Columbus!)

The bands who played....

Tombstone Valentine

Dark Aether Project

Architectural Metaphor


French TV


Born to Go

Alien Planetscapes

visual effects provided by the

Solar Fire Lightshow

Review #1 by The Kobaian, Christian Vander's Lovechild

Well, gang, this weekend I attended Quarkstock
down in Columbus, Ohio. This was a two day event,
featuring 8 psychedelic bands (four each night),
all apparently working hard ripping a hole in the
space/time continuum. No one quite succeeded at
that, but the music was AWESOME! A quick run down
of what went down:

Tombstone Valentine: A band from Indianapolis
opened. They kinda remind me a bit of Amon Duul
II, with the female vocals, violin playing and
Middle Eastern influences. Doug "Dr. Synth"
Walker of Alien Planetscapes sat in with them on
flute. Great set. I bought their album, as well
as In The Summer Of The Mushroom Honey, an album
featuring Richelle Toombs, the group's lead
vocalist. The band's website can be accessed at:

Dark Aether Project: This band was sort of
Crimson-y sounding, with some very Fripp-y guitar
playing. Very heavy sounding. Hard to comment
really, here, but I thought they sound pretty
cool. I wasn't able to get any of their albums
(they have two, plus their guitarist has a side
project and they had the albums that group has
done as well) because I had run out of money, but
if you dig sort of Red-era type playing, I might
suggest you take a peak at: www.darkaether.net.

Architectural Metaphor: From Massachusetts, I've
seen this trio once before, and was really jazzed
to see them again. The group consists of Paul
Eggleston on keyboards and synths, the very
pretty Deb Young on drums and vocals, and Greg
Kozlowski on guitar and possibly the biggest
Shatner Load of effects pedals I've ever seen
being used by one single person!!! As some of you
may know, Greg occasionally makes his presence
here known. The band sounded great, though I
couldn't tell you which songs they played except
for two (well, I have had a combined total of
about 11 hours of sleep since Friday afternoon,
let's see how well YOU recall set list details
after that). At one point in the set they did a
very sweet cover of Pink Floyd's Echoes. I once
tried to get Greg to tell me how he gets the
seagull noises in the middle, but he wasn't
devulging any trade secrets! :-) The other cover
was a VERY happening version of Tangerine Dream's
Ricochet. I was so stunned to hear that familiar
sequence that I yelled out "RICOCHET!!!!" and I'm
pretty sure Greg heard me! :-) The band doesn't
seem to have a webpage, but further info can be
found at:


Side note about Arc Met: later, I was talking to
Paul, and he asked if I was on their mailing
list, and I said no, so he got out a piece of
paper and I wrote down my address and put down my
e-mail as well. He took one look at it and
cracked up laughing. I guess he knows Kobaian.

The last band on Saturday was the group who
hosted the event, Quarkspace. Their set started
with most of the group jamming for a few minutes
as drummer Paul Williams (who uses pretty much an
entirely electronic set up) had difficulty
getting his gear to work (tell me about it -pw), but after a few
minutes, things took off suitably. Again, toward
the end of the set, Dr. Synth brought his flute
and added it to the spacy trippy swirl of the
Quarkmusic. Eventually, Tom The World Poet,
Australia's answer to Dr. Seuss and Quarkstock
MC, took the stage and recited some poetry before
leading the entire group (with Dr. Synth still in
tow) into a version of Neil Young's Ohio, in
honor of the recent 20th anniversary of the
slayings at Kent State. More info about
Quarkspace can be acquired at www.quarkspace.com.

I'm not sure exactly when things finally got
going on Saturday (they were supposed to start at
6:00 pm but I think TV were a late getting their
soundcheck and everything straightened out), but
the Quarkspace's set didn't end until nearly 2:30
am, at which time everyone who wasn't directly
connected with the bands or the light show had to
be thrown out by state law.

Sunday night got off to a great start, as we came
in out of the rain to hear Escapade, a cool band
from NYC that I was hearing cold, for the first
time, preparing to take flight. Finally, and
again I don't know EXACTLY when they started, but
eventually, Tom came onstage and introduced and
they took the room by storm with their freely
improvised music. Think of a Grateful Dead style
jam, as played by 73-74 era King Crimson, with
maybe a little bit more of a noisier approach,
and I think that kinda gets close to where these
guys were coming from. Later, I got to talk to
their drummer, Hadley Kahn, who seems to be the
braniac behind the operation. Very nice guy. I
ended up buying all four of the albums they had
on sale. You can get more info about Escapade at
their label's website:

After Escapade, we got French TV. French TV have
been around in various forms since the early
90's, and have released numerous albums. Group
leader and bassist Mike Sary was selling the four
most recent, and I bought two of them, one of
which was just because it had a cover of Van Der
Graaf Generator's Pioneers Over C (that almost makes up for always wearing that KISS shirt, Kobby -pw), and the other
was a live disc which Mike himself recommended as
a good intro to their work. So, what do French TV
sound like? The song titles, general lightness in
tone of the material, and also it's rather
intricate, ornate compositions seem to owe a lot
to the Frank Zappa and Canterbury schools of prog
rock that you can't tap your foot to, because you
can't find the ONE!!!! :-) They did a cool quote
from Yes, someone said they hit a little bit of
The Ancient, but the only bit I caught sounded
more like that little riff they play just before
the drum solo in Ritual (actually, they also did
a sort truncated version of the drum solo as
well!). If you like yer Hatfields and yer
Caravans, and all that, I suggest you give these
guys a listen. Their website can be found at:

Born To Go: A band from New Joisey, fronted by
English bassist/vocalist Marc Powers. Marc's
lyrics seemed to deal with science fiction
themes, frequently relating to technology going
wrong in some way. For instance, the song Steel
is about a man falling in love with an android,
while Kamikaze Bat is about a mythological
project by the US Government to build a bomb made
of bats on Tokyo during WWII (I certainly HOPE
it's a myth, because according to Marc's version
of the story, they accidentally detonated the
bomb in New Mexico, someplace). The band has a
very punk/metal vibe, with Carl "No Muzic" Howard
and Louis "Professor Electron" Boone on
synthesizers. This is now the third time I've
seen BTG in concert, and they were just
FANTASTIC!!! If you like the heavier Hawkwind
stuff, you might dig BTG. They have no albums out
as of yet, but hopefully that will soon change.
In the meantime, you can get an NTSC video of the
band, in concert at www.borntogo.com.

Alien Planetscapes: of all the bands I was
looking forward to seeing, I was especially
anxious to see the premier of the new AP lineup.
AP is led by Doug "Dr. Synth" Walker, a
keyboardist/flutist/saxist who has been playing
music for over 30 years. The original AP was
founded in 1980, as an electronic group, focusing
on synths and doing material not unlike Tangerine
Dream or Klaus Schulze. As time went on, to get
into different areas, Doug eventually expanded
the group with a conventional rock type rhythm
section (i.e. a drummer and bass guitar) and
experimented various lineups throughout the 90's.
But now, Doug's reverted back to the earlier type
of thing, now joined only by synthesist/guitarist
Richard Orlando. The set they played at
Quarkstock was based on a science fiction book
called Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson, and
featured the two musicians taking off in a pretty
intense musical scene. If you've ever heard the
mid 70's Tangerine Dream albums (say, Ricochet or
Rubycon), or Heldon, this was very much in that
same vein. In fact, Richard's guitar playing
remind me a LOT of Heldon's Richard Pinhas. It
was fantastic. And for you tech heads, Doug was
using a lot of vintage synths, including an ARP
2600 (which was linked up to an ARP Sequencer),
two ARP Odyssey's (one black face, one white
face), an EMS VCS 3 (with Dave Brock's autograph
on the back), and an EML 101. Richard used a
Roland JP-8000 and Sequential Circuits Pro-One.

I have to tell ya, Doug is one of THE coolest
people I've ever met, perhaps having the most
encyclopedic knowledge of music of anyone I've
ever met. He's also been up for a good
conversation whenever we've met up, and he does a
lot of tape trading too (the guy has an 80+ page
tape list). In fact, as I recall, he once told me
he was trading with some of the Ozric guys back
in the mid 80's (so THERE!!! Now you have your
Ozric content for this post). Anyway, they've
released over a hundred cassette releases, and so
far have one CD out that's a couple years old,
and thusly doesn't quite represent what he and
Richard are now doing (there's also a track on a
compilation put out on Escapade's label, Mother
West). Doug also tells me he's working at
releasing some other stuff on CD soon. In the
meantime, you can get more info (including where
you can get information about ordering AP's CD or
any of their tape releases) about AP at:

Well, there you have it!! That's the important
details about the bands I saw this weekend. If
you wanna know I enjoyed the best, well, I liked
them all!!! They all sounded great, and I was
glad to have the chance to hear some bands I
hadn't heard before, as well as hearing Arc Met,
Born To Go, Quarkspace and AP again, and also
hanging out with my pals from BTG and AP and a
few others.

Oh, I should also make mention of Solar Fire, the
cats who put on the awesome light show. They do
an amazing show that really works well, and I
frequently find myself not being able to look at
the stage because the stuff they're doing messes
with my mind!!!! :-)

Also, getting back to Tom The World Poet, Tom
basically recited poems during the intervals
between bands, and basically held the audience
interest in a way that no CD player (irregardless
of what's being played) could possibly do! Tom
has a very open ended approach to his
performances, and frequently goes off on some
tangents. At one point, while cheering on his
right to be fat and to eat and all, and talking
about how being skinny is "unnatural", Hadley
from Escapade (who's REALLY thin) ran up and
playfully grabbed the mic stand from him. He also
encourages frequently audience participation and
also plays off spontaneous remarks from the
audience members and others. He's a great guy and
was really the best man for the job!!!!!

Well, that, I think pretty much covers everything
that went down in Columbus, unless you wanna hear
about how I embarrassed myself during the interval
between Dark Aether Project and BTG (sic) in front of
the whole room! :-) But I don't think I'll do
that! ;-)

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