THE NATIONALE BLUE, CANCER TO THE STARS
The Sky Bar - 5/28/02
Cancer to the Stars is simply three guys, a bassist, a guitarist and a drummer. As standard a lineup as this may seem, these guys always manage to blow the socks off me with their effect driven, sonic assault. Tonight is no exception as Cancer to the Stars makes another solid attempt to push the boundaries of songwriting by incorporating rich melodic textures and hyperactive rhythmic pulses bordering on schizophrenia. A dumbfounded audience stands captivated, partially stunned, partially impressed as if they had just seen Hello Attack!, Fa5hion Colt or even Sonic Youth for the first time.
The Nationale Blue, like Cancer to the Stars is also a three-piece avant-garde rock band. However, in addition to the standard guitar-bass-drums fare, they load the stage with percussion and keyboards. To my dismay, the gear pretty much sits untouched for the bulk of their set, making me wonder if it's there as props. Finally they let loose mid-jam after a series of key changes and tempo shifts and attack the percussion on stage. The overall sound is pretty good, too technical for rock 'n' roll but too raw for Berkeley students. The Nationale Blue announce that this is their first night before heading out on a national tour. I'd like to hear the tune they're playing when they get back.