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Friday, January 23, 2009

Last Night: Ezee Tiger at the Eagle

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 9:24 AM

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Ezee Tiger (w/ Hank IV, Wooden Shjips)
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009
SF Eagle

Better than:
Watching a four-man band.

Ezee Tiger makes my ears bleed. And not just a paper cut trickle. I mean bleed like something's been punched/wrecked/punctured inside my head, and all this warm liquid is now oozing from my eardrums into thick pools at the base of my skull.

By this I mean to say Ezee Tiger is loud.

And Ezee's just one dude, Anthony Petrovic, who generally conducts his life at a reasonable volume. But onstage,  Petrovic stirs up the voluminous chaos like crazy people drowning out the devil by simultaneously cranking up the conversation, TV, radio, and CD player. If it's your kind of thing -- and it's definitely mine -- there's noting like standing in the middle of that shitstorm as Petrovic disorients you until he's ready to punch out a manic drum kit climax.

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It all starts, as it did last night at the Eagle, quite simply.  Petrovic picks up a single instrument -- often an electric or acoustic guitar. He dashes off a quick riff and loops it. Then he picks up a second instrument like the bass. Same deal -- speedy line of rhythm captured, repeated, he's already on to the next step. Last step is generally the drums. When Petrovic gets behind the kit, Animal from the Muppets has come alive: he's thrashing and bashing on his setup, slamming his foot down on pedals and effects controllers with calculated abandon.

It's quite the audiovisual experience. Ezee Tiger songs don't so much flow as explode and explode some more, like the finale fireworks on Fourth of July that pop into unexpectedly larger spectacles. Sometimes those fireworks hurt a little, like when his loops screech with repeated feedback. The tunes run helter-skelter for long stretches at a time until Petrovic jumps behind the wheel (or the drum stool, as it were) and gives his creations driving money shot momentum.

One of the aces up Petrovic's sleeve is that with all the berserk talent it takes to create a one-man noise punk act like this, his performances also offer streaks of humility and humor. He sits with his back to the audience (it's the only way he can hear what he's doing, he explains to me later) but every once in a while he'd spin around on his seat, offering the crowd a goofy grin. Or he'd start a song with a lopping doo-wop "chorus" that made the folks around me laugh. 

By the end, Petrovic was animated as his music. He busily reset his kit after every song as he'd hit and kicked things around so much.  He shot off a couple mini confetti poppers mid-song. He grabbed his mic and jumped from the stage into the crowd. Basically he gave more of a performance with one musician than most acts give with four or five.

When it was all over, it was time for the Tiger to hibernate. Petrovic jumped off his stool, leaned over one of control panels, and gave it a school marm's finger-to-the-lips shush before everything went quiet.

Walking out to the back fire pit, two musicians -- one from Denmark, the other a local-- who'd watched the performance for the first time had the same reaction. "That show," said one minutes before the other, "was inspirational."

By the way: Anthony Petrovic isn't averse to playing with other people. You can also hear him in Hospitals and The Drums  (with John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees)

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Ian S. Port


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