Tigerbeat 6 Paws Across America Tour:
Cex, Numbers, Stars As Eyes

First appeared in the Willamette Week, December, 2002

Back in the waning days of the 20th century, Oakland’s deranged electro-punk wizard, Kid 606—aka Miguel Depedro—decided he wasn’t content to simply scar the ears of unsuspecting listeners with his own unholy marriage of experimental electronica and punk noise. So, he founded Tigerbeat 6 Records to bring the musical antics of other likeminded miscreants to the masses.

In just under three years, the label has churned out dozens of releases by acts such as Blectum From Blechdom, Pimmon, DAT Politics, and others. In the process, the Tigerbeat 6 stable has explored the far reaches of contemporary pop—and not so pop—music: from funky to beatless, from reflective to barrage, from serious to silly. To further spread the Tigerbeat musical mayhem, three of the label’s finest have mounted the 45-day “Paws Across America” Tour of the U.S. and Canada.

Cex is the stage name of prolific and precocious Baltimore native, Rjyan Kidwell, who—though barely old enough to drink—has put out more than a half dozen releases in the last four years and is Depedro’s main cohort in running Tigerbeat 6. Though his output wanders through austere electronica and nearly ambient atmospherics, Kidwell’s true love is undoubtedly hip-hop. His goofy stage antics and complete lack of inhibition have made his live appearances legendary.

San Francisco trio Numbers add a bit of punk pungency to the night’s proceedings. Their short blasts of funky guitar, raspy synths, simplistic drumming and barked vocals declare a direct lineage to funk-punk godfathers Gang of Four. More recent reference points might include Add N to X or some of the K/Kill Rock Stars stuff. But whatever acts you compare them to, they are clearly catchy and fun.

Stars As Eyes kick off the evening on a more meditative note. Their two records for Tigerbeat find the duo from Providence, RI crafting elaborate compositions from treated guitar, strangled samples and other electronic detritus.

Rumor has it that the tour has been full of high jinks. But, even if you catch them on a subdued night, just the variety of styles on parade tonight would make this bill worth checking out. That and you’d be doing your part to assure total Tigerbeat 6 world domination.

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