So, came day Tetema was to play here at the MOFO festival as part of MONA. I hit all the major things I wanted to see yesterday and then some extra luckily!
But today meeting Patton was the goal and mission. I have been psyched up and hopeful and nervous and doubtful and such and so on about managing it.
Tetema was to be on the mainstage and a lot of great stuff before that, so I spent most of my day sitting or lying on the grass watching things there, as another post will describe.
Earlier by accident I got to see their soundcheck as I was wondering around outside MONA looking at the various goings-on and the market area and then I heard a kind of crunchy metal music sound and paused to listen. Heard some vocal sounds and more of that crunching and reviewed in my mind who else was to play and nobody else fit that profile… so IT MUST BE TETEMA!
I dashed up the hill and looked down and, sure enough, it was them setting up and doing soundcheck for the day. As I came down the hill to them I took pics and video around from different angles and found my “spot” to be against the rail close to Patton during the performance.
The gear setup was great for my geekery. The mix of arrangements from Mike’s 3 hundred wires and plug ins to basic clean of drums with the spectrum in between of the other artists was an interesting view and consideration.
I loved watching Mike Patton set up his own equipment with handy help of others here and there, to include being sure to have his “sheet music” stand placed correctly while a roadie used electrical tape to secure the base from the wind.
He was largely grey showing and what I like to call his “grandpa glasses” that are a cute pick while in a pair of faded jeans and large checked shirt, nodding, agreeing, concerned scrunch faced, distaste registering at times, and so on as he adjusted the behavior of his equipment while crawling and bending and reach around and over and under the table being used.
It was cool to see a guy do his own shit on stage and be concerned and look to be a “don’t touch it, I’ll do it, hand me that, I only trust me to get it right” sort of mood or personality. I’m biased as that is how I am built.
But a “rock star” doing his own setup rather than roadies and then just come in to do their individual “job” while others make alterations as needed was a “normal guy” sort of thing I liked.
And lord was he chewing gum like mad. I’ve seen this back in waaaaay ago past FNM one-on-one interviews and then considered I’d not really since it in those or ones I’ve caught up with in various band or project interviews when in a group. Rarely. I came to assume this is a nervous habit. No clue if right or not, but it seems to fit. *shrug*
He also struck me as smaller than I’d considered/assumed from tv/YouTube interviews and performances. He’s normal size, he’d just come across as a bit taller and stockier than he is. Makes me think back to the day when he was really young and bare a lot with basically just muscle… he must have been a tiny guy at 18, build-wise. I can understand why I’ve read that FNM, when hearing a Mr. Bungle demo tape, assumed the singer must be a “huge fat guy”… that much voice coming out of that size kid/adult.
Makes me think of Bjork, in similar. She’s a tiny female compared to the sound that comes out of her.
Anyhoo, soundcheck was awesome to see.
I spent the day chilling around and eventually it was Tetema’s turn up. Again they put up their own gear with Mike doing all the ducking and plugging and some irritation showing at others and the equipment as he worked to get it running right for everyone.
Then they began.
It was an amazing performance. In that it was a very chill/empty/quiet feeling performance with everyone behind their instruments standing or sitting (or in Patton’s case standing or doing the sort of positive-anxious crouch and wrap his arm with mic wire thing beside or behind his table). It was a performance and not a show, so to speak. The music and his singing were amazing, really, I mean it.
Tetema are definitely a band that is magnificently better in playing than when listening on tape. The music I wasn’t giantly into on recording. It was a case of “I like some of it, other parts I find grating/annoying but can appreciate the quality in it”.
Live the music that came across in interesting ways that I found the parts I had liked to be even moreso but differently or done differently but still loved; I can’t remember any part that annoyed or grated. The harsher or crunchier parts that compositions and artists’ abilities I could appreciate on tape came across as intertwined, weaved, shifting, and emotionally bewildering as it took you along.
You could see cringes at times on Mike’s face and then other times big-happy-thrilled looks sent to other members when something came out great, apparently, at certain times. It was neat to see that, too, with him and with the entirety of the band… it was the first time they’d performed live so their was a lot of nerves, as mentioned above for just him but all, so there was a lot of expressions of feelings and thoughts going across faces. Especially his as he’s so animated and also because, duh, Patton was my primary focus. I’d landed a spot that was 15 feet from him due to the distance of the bar placement. Awesome.
I placed a video of the soundcheck on a jump-forward post and am gonna link it here, too, since it fits.