Traveling music

Boston techno hits the road with Zero G
By SUSANNA BOLLE  |  January 7, 2008

Fred Giannelli
I imagine many Bostonians have a woeful tale or two of a nighttime bus trip to New York for a show that’s gone wrong. The logistics — especially in the dead of winter — can be a nightmare. When Eddie Odabachian and Eric Gray of Zero G were organizing a show at the Bunker nightclub in Brooklyn with a trio of artists with close ties to Boston, they hit on a novel solution: chartering a bus and bringing a little bit of Boston’s techno scene (clubgoers and all) to New York and back again. Thus, the 808 NYC Bus Tour was born. Part road trip and part club night, it’s scheduled to depart next Friday, January 18.

According to promoter/techno travel agent Odabachian, the advantages of the 808 package go beyond removing some of the hassle of getting to and from Brooklyn. The trip is an extension of the party — and, he argues, a full bus all but ensures a good show. “There’s safety in numbers. People are guaranteed a rager considering they and their closest friends will pack the bus and the Bunker.”

The show itself, however, is the main draw: veteran Boston producer Fred Giannelli of Psychic TV and Plus8 fame, plus Smartypants and Eric Gray, both up-and-coming artists who’ve recently relocated from Boston to New York. The line-up is inspired by the first Zero G release of 2008, Stuff, a cracking 12-inch compilation with tracks by Giannelli (as the Kooky Scientologist), Smartypants, and Odabachian himself.

“The bus ride should be a good laugh,” Giannelli says via e-mail. And he should know, given his extensive experience touring with Genesis P-Orridge and Psychic TV. “It will be a far cry from the crazy bus tours I did of the US, UK, and Europe with Psychic TV between ’88 and ’90. Those bus rides lasted three and a half months! I do have amazing photos of those journeys, which I will get around to releasing one of these days.”

Local appearances by Giannelli are as rare as hen’s teeth (he played Boston just once in 2007), so a trip to New York to hear him at a space like the Bunker is not as daft as it might seem. In support of his first full-length release in 10 years, last year’s Kook Kontrol (Telepathica), Giannelli played a number of cities around the country and was amazed not only by the quality of the techno being produced but also by the excellent sound systems at clubs in even the most rock-centric cities. By contrast, he notes, the systems in Boston clubs don’t measure up . . . not yet, anyway. Which is especially regrettable given the wealth of homegrown talent.

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