Originally published by SF Weekly May 17, 2000
Live From the Afterworld --Recordings at the Afterworld Lounge 1991-1993
(Electro Motive Records/ Qualipy)
The Bay Area has seen many fringe music venues come and go in the last decade, the Afterworld Lounge being one of several establishments that provided an outlet for more adventurous performers before falling victim to legal snafus and/or unfortunate circumstance. Located at a downtown Oakland Vietnamese establishment called Heinz Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, for some 17 months the Afterworld Lounge hosted a world-class cavalcade of cutting-edge music, local and beyond.
Unpaid rent and no cabaret license reportedly helped padlock the Heinz;
the After-world Lounge carried on for a short while in other venues. A
"fairy godmother" handed Afterworld booker Lexa Walsh two grand as a sort
of renegade arts grant, and the end result years later is the recent release
of the vinyl double-LP Live From the Afterworld. As Walsh notes,
it's a fractional document, but one that captures the flavor of a watershed
period in the local avant-garde scene. Side A is locals only, devoted to
some of the stalwart indie types who were pivotal to the East Bay scene;
tracks by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Fibulator, Little My, Three
Day Stubble, Vomit Launch, O-Type, and the Molecules represent each band
definitively. Side B features combos from other parts: Sun City Girls (Phoenix
via Seattle), Mecca Normal (Vancouver), C.C.C.C. & the Ruins (Japan),
and Caroliner Rainbow Scrambled Egg Taken for a Wife (18th-century time-travelers).
Sides C and D are crammed with the spaz-jazz and avant-whatsit the East
Bay so prolifically spawns, with Vacuum Tree Head, Pluto, Rova Saxophone
Quartet, Splatter Trio, Crawling With Tarts, and others providing an engaging
variety of bleating horns, angular improv, and esoteric experimentalism.
Far removed from straight-from-the-board flatness, this anthology is colored
with exuberant crowds, passing sirens, onstage banter -- a bittersweet
flashback for those who were there.
Hot off the presses! All adventurous musicians, music fiends and budding musicologists should get their dirty paws on the newly released "Live from the Afterworld: Recordings at the Afterworld Lounge 1991-1993." You see, back in the day when the East Bay live music scene crackled with randy improvisers, squalling noise bands and hard-edged performance rock, the place-to-be was the upstairs room at a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Oakland called The Heinz. Now, nearly six years after an unidentified fairy godmother handed former club booker (now Toychestra member) Lexa Walsh $2,000 "to continue what you’re doing," the exquisitely demented and passionate 21-song double album is finished, thanks to Walsh, Mono Pause's Peter Conheim and a plucky host of East Bay music minds. Tracks include a handful by long-gone and sorely missed local legends like The Molecules, Vomit Launch, Fibulator and Splatter Trio, and represent a fair share of those still alive and kicking, like Three Day Stubble, ROVA Saxophone Quartet and Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. To get your very own copy in full vinyl glory, contact Electro Motive Records at http://www.wetgate.net/elemot.html or check your favorite indie record shop.