Wed, April 23, 2014


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September 16, 2010

(Thursday, September 23, at Zydeco)

The hottest noise-rock band in America is based right here in Birmingham. Nobody knows that, but the members of Iwrestledabearonce aren't sitting at home brooding. They have been busy enjoying the continuing success of last year's It's All Happening, which became enough of a big deal to inspire a 2010 reissue with a bonus DVD and an added disc of remixes.

The band was living in Shreveport, Louisiana, when the hype began to build. Steven Bradley—who, with John Ganey, works guitars, keyboards, and sampling for the band—suggested they move to Birmingham a year ago. Never mind that Bradley hadn't lived here since he was seven years old. The important thing is that he doesn't expect anybody to care that Iwrestledabearonce is in town.

"We moved here," he explains on a rare day at home, "and then went on tour for six months. We've only been in town for a grand total of about two or three weeks. But it's not like we're Pantera or anything. Nobody should get excited about—hey, look at that! Sorry. A cool license plate just went by. You know, the entire band is kind of influenced by attention deficit disorder."

That's no lie. Iwrestledabearonce has been touring on the strength of a truly puzzling album. Some dismiss the act as trendy noisemongers. Knowing their annoying name comes from a Gary Busey quote doesn't really help. But Iwrestledabearonce is innovative in cramming plenty of styles into dense soundscapes. You can suggest that they're a free jazz outfit, but Bradley has his doubts.

"Don't give us too much credit," he warns. "We're doing whatever the hell we do. We all love jazz and electronic music and wussy music and death metal and grindcore. I've never understood why a band should limit itself. Why can't a band play everything?"

Iwrestledabearonce has plenty more to play. Sadly, their next album has to wait until the band completes another tour, which launches this month with their first Birmingham show. It's a welcome change after a summer spent in the punky climes of the Vans Warped Tour.

"I'm not hating on anyone," says Bradley, "but it's tough to be touring with 17-year-olds in bands that have management and everything. I'm the youngest person in this band, and I'm 25. We've worked as hard as possible in other groups, but this is the one that's exploded. Now we've got a headlining tour so we can play for more than 30 minutes. We'll sell you the three-disc reissue for $10, and everyone can enjoy our new $10,000 light show. I'm sure people will have seizures right there in the club. I'm not really sure because I've never been in Zydeco. I'm just hoping we'll be able to fit everything on the stage." &

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