Tortoise (playing as Wööd Cült)|
O’Cayz Corral, Madison, Wisconsin
July 7, 2000
These photos aren't actually from the show -- (taken by Jon Whitney in 1998 at Chicago's Metro -- but should lend suitable atmosphere to the proceedings.
O’Cayz Corral is a bit of a legend, at least around here. The dive-y punk rock club has been around, on and off, since the
early eighties. Over the years, it’s been the victim of a number of tragedies, like the time a semi driver fell asleep at the
wheel and plowed his truck through their plate glass window, or the night that the dance floor collapsed beneath a sweaty
and overenthusiastic crowd of Royal Crescent Mob fans. My first memories of the club were visiting it from out of town in
the late eighties, when my boyfriend’s band came to town to open up for local faves Killdozer. Now I live here and I don’t
get out as much as I probably should, but when I got word that Tortoise would be playing under an assumed name, I
moved heaven and earth, found a babysitter on short notice and made it down to the club.
Billing themselves as Wööd Cült, Tortoise played a fleeting set of brand new material. As a casual fan of their work, I
heard the new stuff as moving toward more complex formulas, perhaps leaving rock still farther behind. More dedicated
listeners may have heard something different. Despite its having been labeled as "post-rock", when I hear Tortoise’s newer
work, I hear jazz. Certainly a number of Tortoise side projects, such as Chicago Underground Duo/Trio and Isotope 217,
are quite deliberately and clearly jazz. But Tortoise seem headed in that direction as well -- vibes take the lead in their
melodies more often. And while song structures seem pre-determined, they also sound more and more rooted in initial
More than listening to Tortoise, I spent the time during their set marveling at what the world has come to. Standing smack
in the middle of O’Cayz's beer-soaked floor, surrounded by many of the same folks I’ve been bumping into at O’Cayz for the
last nine years, I was listening not to primitive, loud rawk, but rather sophisticated, experimentally inclined jazz. And the
same folks who were there for the Melvins back in ‘92 were here for Tortoise now, and they were diggin’ it. Of course,
these days I’d rather listen to Tortoise than the Melvins, too -- perhaps it’s a sign of getting older, and maybe more tired. But in addition to the old-timers, there were lots of kids, glammy looking girls in gold lamé and emo boys with bowl haircuts and funny brown pants. I realized that, though the guys in Tortoise are at least my age, this is the kids’ music more
than it is mine. But that’s okay. The world’s changing, and I’m more than content to change along with it.
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Article by Beth Lucht. Photos borrowed from the Tortoise page at Brainwashed.