The full title of this limited edition CDR documenting ST 37’s 2009 tour is Awkward Moments Tour Live: True Stories From The Untold. What the “true stories” refers to is the 6-page tour notes that accompanies the disc and includes such crazy accounts as that of Joel Crutcher being thrown out of the Hallandale Beach, FL Crowne Plaza Hotel pool after being mistaken for a homeless person, and Bobby Baker attempting to pee in a poorly ventilated and recently used restroom and vomiting on his… well… the title is, after all, Awkward Moments. But it’s more like the fun little tidbits that are all part of a rock band on the road.
Wow, ST 37 and their brand of Space Rock/Psychedelic/Punk have been around for getting near 30 years now. That’s real longevity in the underground. The CD consists of 11 tracks, is well over 70 minutes, and features a good cross-section of what ST 37 are about. The set opens with Number One Fan, a 12 minute excursion that ranges from Hawkwind Space Ritual styled alien effects to acidic psychedelic intensity. After the first 4 minutes the bass and drums develop a sense of rhythmic propulsion, though overall this is an exploratory spacey freakout piece through-and-through. Similar tracks include I Was Looking For My Digital Underground Grandpa Tape, a relatively short stoned freakout piece. One of the highlights of the set is Solaris, a track from the 2004 Insect Hospital album. Inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s film of the same name, this is 12 minutes of cinematic, theme-driven, white-knuckled space rock, something that ST 37 are no strangers to, having created their own soundtrack to the classic silent Metropolis and performed it on several occasions to screenings of the film. Another standout is Grandpa’s Birthday, from the 2010 High And Inside album, which is a down ‘n dirty, brain-splattering, space rocking acid-punk-metal rampage.
We’re also treated to live versions of ST 37 songs I’ve always enjoyed. Ghosts Of Tempera Nymphs, from the 1992 Invisible College album, is a tune I’ve played several times on Aural Innovations Space Rock Radio. From the 1997 Spaceage album, Concrete Island is dark and ominous but deep in space. This is an excellent version, capturing the combination of melodic flow and pounding intensity of the song, and has killer manic soloing psych guitar. Future Memories is another monster live performance, this one being the title track from the 2005 album of the same name, and is a kick-ass slab of stoned, metallic, acid-psychedelic mind-fuckery. Maroons, also from High And Inside, is a slow and mesmerizing song that’s both stoned and metallic and peacefully hypnotic, with beautiful mind-bending guitar licks alongside acid-metal guitar, all building up to a high intensity yet trance-inducing explosion. Another winner! These veterans STILL got it!
And just to show that ST 37 aren’t easily pigeonholed, we’ve got the short and nasty punk song The White Comanche, yet another from the High And Inside album, the blazing space-punk song Watch The Bile Come Out, from 2006’s And Then What, which would be right at home on an early Chrome album, and rounding things out nicely is Just You, a romantic 50’s doo-wop song served up ST 37 style.
In summary, HIGHEST recommendation to ST 37 fans, AND I recommend it as an introduction to the band is you’re a newcomer. Better hurry though because it was released in an edition of only 100 copies.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz