March 25, 1997
The Electric Lounge, Austin TX


Review and photos by Greg Nelson. Check out the setlist.

Austin, TX - I had my doubts about the Austin show because of the lack of advertisement and the fact that no tickets were sold prior to the day of show but the promise of seeing the cranes was too alluring to pass up. So, around 4pm, i loaded up the car with my wife, Xtna and my zine-editor, Zom for the hour and half trek to Austin. We made the drive in plenty of time and grabbed a quick bite to eat... The directions to the venue were a bit on the vague side but eventually, we hacked it out and arrived at the Electric Lounge... My first impression was... small... The club was tastefully decorated with various works of art by locals and seemed very cozy... a very intimate place to see a band like the cranes... we made our way in at around 8pm with the good graces of the club employees (who were uber-helpful and nice) and met Lauren (the tour manager) and the various members of Rasputina and the Cranes... i managed to overcome my shyness and approach Alison for an autograph on my Rough Trades Singles Club CD featuring the three Inrain songs on which she did vocals... I felt extra special because it appeared to be an item she hadn't seen before (its a japanese pressing, never seen it in the U.S.) I also got all four members to autograph my Population4 cd... while getting Jim's autograph (he was sitting in a booth in the room with the stage, away from the other members), i managed to strike up a conversation with one of the most personable people i've ever met... i don't know what it is about English bands but they tend to be much friendlier than their American counterparts... I asked him about the J.G. Thirwell remixes of Clear and he told me that there was yet another remix that was to date unreleased called the Davidian Memorial mix (or something very close to that). He expressed some dissatisfaction about the size of the venue. The last stop in Austin the Cranes had made was at the Voodoo Lounge, a considerably larger venue... but we chatted and eventually the opening band came on... they were fairly good, consisting of a violinist (Shane Madden of the gypsy-techno group Govinda) and Sxip Shirey who played the flute, accordion and various other wind instruments... he played the flute in an entirely unorthodox manner, making percussive and breathy sound at the same time... their sound was very reminiscent of Foetus to my ears but perhaps that was because of lack of a better frame of reference... their set was short but sweet. There was a short break and Rasputina abruptly took the stage... the started playing with little or no preamble, the music just began pouring from the stage... i had purchased the CD the night before to see what i was in for and didn't fall for them immediately on CD... but after hearing the live delivery, i'll definitely give them a closer listen... the three cellos in perfect point and counterpoint was something to see... the music weaved dreamlike off the stage and over the crowd... there was probably between 100 and 125 people in the venue, and it seemed more like a gathering of friends than a concert... there was a very positive vibe... the band was absolutely sensual in their performance, from the haunting melodies to the hilarious between song banter... my favorite bit was the rant about the evils of rollerblading... do not even think of arriving late for the show and missing them... after their set, there was a short presentation of a birthday cake to Rasputinas lead singer and a cello rendition of happy birthday... i didn't count the candles and it would be impolite to ask :-) Another short intermission while this and that was set up for the Cranes set and i ran into Jim again... he missed Rasputina's set because the club management wouldn't let him back into the club with the beer he was drinking (which the club provided) so he drank his beer on the bus... sometimes i'm amazed by the ludicrous actions of people... But then, the main course, the Cranes took the stage... i was in awe, it was my first Cranes show... after a minor mishap with a spilt beer near the drum kit, they launched away into an awesome set with beautifully precise guitars and that voice we all love...

the crowd swayed to the music, all silence with the exception of the applause between songs... there were numerous sound problems resulting in occasional bursts of feedback and hot levels but the sound to my virgin ears was bliss... it was amazing being so close to the actual performance in such a small club... several people (myself included) photographed the set and at least one video was made... the set seemed to end all too soon and the band exited the stage... the crowd pleaded for more and after a short eternity, the band retook the stage and played two encores, Tangled Up and an awesome rendition of Lilies... after that i felt i could die a happy man... it was such an enjoyable experience that its hard to find the words... i just urge you to definitely not miss the show... the band was unhappy with their performance but if that's their idea of a bad show then a good show must be positively nirvana... photos of all three bands are forthcoming and will be available to all those who wish them...


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