WFMU's Kurt Gottschalk recently forwarded a link to some amazing footage of The Ex performing live on a Paris streetcorner. Watching it quickly set me longing for the years in which I routinely saw The Ex perform knockout sets at the old Knitting Factory on Leonard Street. Let praise be freely distributed to whomever uploaded this 80 minute knockout video of one such concert, during which The Ex ably demonstrate why they are the single greatest and most inspiring band of current history. Any chance to see them perform live should be seized upon as though your life depended on it. No foolin', they are that good!
I'm sure I was at the Knitting Factory on this night—probably in my customary stance near the other side of the stage, knocking back a Maker's Mark and getting my head torn up in the most joyous manner possible: entirely at the hands of The Ex. The author of the original Blogotheque piece sent by Kurt summates this band pretty effectively when s/he writes:
"[The Ex] started their career in Amsterdam squats at the beginning of the DIY movement, played ten times in every single European and international venue, mixed their rock with the freest jazz, and then rooted it in the heart of Ethiopia. The Ex is a symbol for musical freedom in its most rigorous form."
The Ex frequently rotates the selection of free MP3s available on their website, so definitely grab these favorites while they're still in the mix.
Late note regarding the Knitting Factory video: DO NOT MISS the psycho guitar improv that punctuates the song "Lump Sum Insomnia" (pay close attention beginning at the 58 minute mark). The song is from their Starters-Alternators album (1998) and remains a much-anticipated element of their live show. No wondering as to why!