I just recently attended a live show where the majority of the crowd were devout fans. There were a total of about 15 of us standing in the Courtyard Cafe at UIUC
. The US Maple performance was fairly excellent in my opinion and must be seen by any fan of experimental
/avant-garde performance art
I expected the show to be pure improv, however I was suprised to discover these fellows really know their songs, no matter how wandering they become on their studio albums. I also discovered the songs actually have lyrics, not just gutteral gusts of noise from Al Johnson.
Part of their method seems to me is that they attempt to make the crowd slightly uncomfortable by 'acting' uncomfortable on the stage. At one point, they started to yell at the top of their lungs to each other total nonsense. I once heard the guitarist say, "you fucking ham bastard" to the singer and the singer responded by pushing the guitarist off the stage. They recovered and then the other guitarist made some classic rock kicking motions while playing one note over and over again. It basically went from there. At the end of the concert, the band broke into a rolling stones cover and slowly moved off stage, while tripping over equipment.
The best description of the music I've heard is "a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs." Do with that what you will.