Geraldine Fibbers: 'hock' 'n' roll

by Michael Barthel

I saw the Fibbers first in the hall, sitting in a bunch, but didn't approach them. Carla Bozulich grooved enthusiastically to the opening group a little ways from where I was standing, but it was only after they finished their noise-rock set that I went up to her and Kevin, the drummer. I mentioned I wrote the preview. "Oh yeah, I read that." "You read it? You usually don't," Bozulich said with surprise.

A few minutes later they were on stage and playing the title track of their latest album, Butch.. It quickly became apparent that seeing the Fibbers live was a completely different experience than listening to an album. To watch the band form the music before it flies out makes the impact much more effective.

Nels Cline took center stage with an intense, incredible guitar solo that segued into "7 or in 10," and then "I Killed the Cuckoo" during which Carla whispers "pull the curtain doctor" Through all these songs Cline played a wild blast of noise that had him thrashing wildly back and forth between his pedals, his amp, and his various toys - including a carbon rod, an e-bow, and a toy gun (which just sounded ungodly).

"Does anyone have a tissue?" Bozulich asked after "Cuckoo." No one did, so she ended up blowing her nose on a towel supplied by a roadie; later she would hock into a cup. Bill just grinned next to his stand-up bass.

The Fibbers then turned to their more country-fried songs, including "California Tuffy," "Furs for the Trashman," and a cover of a Willie Nelson tune called "Hands on the Wheel." The crowd seemed unresponsive to these, but quickly woke up for the last 2 tunes, the raucous, loud "You Doo Right" and "Toy Box." These songs grabbed the crowd, shook it around, and left it for dead in a sea of feedback that continued even after the Fibbers left the stage. Bozulich (also on guitar) and Cline then returned for a "cool down" number reminiscent of an old Irish ballad. "I have to go write my review now," I told Kevin afterwards. "What should I say?"

"They sucked," he said. "They were horrible."

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Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 2, September 12, 1997

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