Scott_Williams on 01/12/2011 at 05:59PM
Brooklyn's Oneida has long occupied a large engorged chunk of the collective heart of us freeform freaks in Jersey City, so it's with much excitement that we're finally able to share with you three full sets (and then some) that the band has performed over the years on WFMU. I'll introduce you to the two I was fortunate to host.
Oneida's first appearance, on my show in June 2000, introduced us to their homebrewed blend of minimalist no wave, kraut jams and freedom rock. Overheated farfisas and squalling guitars collided with the most propulsive and exciting drumming since Keith Moon, while the singers mined the classic lyric canon of rock music.
FMU history buffs take note of the answer to the question "who was the first band to play live on WFMU after 9/11?": Oneida, on my Sept 17, 2001 show. When you need a heavy fog-lifting and blast of clarity, you call Oneida. They delivered. Set opener "To Everything There is a Tyme to Remember Aaliyah" rescued the recently deceased singer from the historical black hole that swallowed Gary Condit and sharks, while "Sheets of Easter" provided the necessary peeling back of the sky and release of a lot of anxious, nervous, just plain bad feeling. Fittingly, when the radio show was over, the band kept playing, as you'll hear on "Double Lock Your Mind". This set, by the way, was one of my all-time personal favorite WFMU experiences.
Five years later, Oneida returned yet again, performing on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic, and we've got that set here as well; then there was that amazing collaboration with Alan Vega, doing Suicide's "Rocket USA" at one of our FMA launch shows in October 2007. Annnnnd, we've got their May 2009 performance on the banks of the ol' Mediteranney, at Barcelona's annual Primavera Sound Festival, recorded and broadcast by WFMU. Whew... Dig in!
hiptran on 01/11/2011 at 05:00PM
One of the selfish (but great) things about being involved with WFMU is how it's repeatedly granted me the opportunity to interact with my musical heroes. I'm no starfucker, but there's something to be said for dancing right nextdoor to the fantasy, and how doing so often reveals details of Our Most Exalted Rock Gods which are strangely absent from the written histories. For instance, did you know that Joe Strummer smells of tobacco and peppermint, Donovan is a bit like a leprechaun, or that Anton Newcombe is actually a really sweet guy?
In other words, there are the people, and then there is the mythology. But within the sacred confines of WFMU, the crossroads of those two competing concepts never resonated with greater poignancy for me than in the case of Nikki Sudden.
In the early 1970s, Nikki started a band with his brother called the Swell Maps, who somehow married the disparate influences of Krautrock and T. Rex to spectactular and lasting effect. His next band, the Jacobites, made no less a statement, albeit with very different ingredients in the cooker. And then there is the decade's worth of amazing solo albums and the memorable NYC-area shows that Nikki played in support of them. I made it a point to see him perform every chance I got, so by the time schedules finally granted him time to swing by my radio show for a live set on March 20th 2006, it felt like a meeting that was long overdue.
Nikki Sudden passed away unexpectedly less than a week after that performance, and it remains a crippling testament to what was a truly wonderful night of music in Jersey City. I wrote a short piece about the evening for the Brooklyn Rail several days after the news broke, so no need to go into all the sad details again. I'm just glad the tracks from that session are finally available for everyone to enjoy. Hosting Nikki on the radio was a years-long dream of mine, and I'm still humbled and honored to have spent some time in his company.
Eternal gratitude to Rob Watts and Danny Hole. Thanks be to Nikki. Stay bruised.
Also added to the Free Music Archive today:
>> Nikki Sudden's April 1998 live appearance on Stork's show (where he joined The Chamber Strings)
>> Nikki Sudden live on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic, aired January 2002
>> Oneida covering "Back to the Coast" live on WFMU in tribute to Nikki Sudden