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Savage Weekend, May 17-18, 2013

May 21, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

Dromez at Savage Weekend 2013

Savage Weekend takes place at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and has become another DIY fest to draw a lot of the east coast jank bands together for a marathon of noise. There’s no doubt the International Noise Conference has served as the template for this, and like that 10-year-old gathering, this one also packs tons of varied acts playing 15 minute sets into a couple of days. The connecting thread is “noise” and there are plenty of straight-up noise bands, but like INC that term is left wide open. It’s an exhausting and intense experience which is a labor of love for Ryan Martin the organizer and for everyone who travels to play, almost certainly losing money and sleep to do so. But it’s worth it, as can be felt in the warm afterglow among all attendees after particularly cathartic performances or during morning-after hugs goodbye.

It would be impossible to summarize everything, and I missed some things which I heard were amazing (like Ciccio Boys and Mincemeat Or Tenspeed when I simply had to nap for 30 minutes in the car) so I’ll mostly just post a few of the best photos I got and a few vivid memories. If you have additional documentation, please leave a comment! Above is Dromez, an intense harsh noise act from Texas that went on early in the fest and was one of the first to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

Unguent at Savage Weekend 2013

Unguent (ex-Dick Neff) plays looping, garbled swampy sounds that resemble some kind of alien music, while watching a psychedelic maze morphing on a TV screen.

Lazy Magnet at Savage Weekend 2013

Lazy Magnet, unpredictable in the past, played tight, danceable electronic music – which he claims is his new permanent (?) style.

Tanz Praxis at Savage Weekend 2013

Tanz Praxis is a new and exciting team-up of C Lavender and Ellen Foster, both long-time noise makers on their own, combining noise, video, and dance performance. Spooky, loud, and cool.

Toe Ring at Savage Weekend 2013

Toe Ring plays what’s almost straight techno, but with a gritty, industrial? (I saw someone describing it as “grouchy”) flavor. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what he’s doing so right, but this got the whole crowd stoked and moving, even though it was happening at 3AM, after 9 hours of other acts.

hotel noise crew poolside at Savage Weekend 2013

Of course there’s a little time for relaxing, Saturday afternoon before night 2 starts. Many visitors are piled into local houses, but a large contingent of travelers staying at the Chapel Hill University Inn hung by the pool for the afternoon. A gang of Tampa noise girls even turned it into a regular pool party, but no noise boys were bold enough to approach…

Crank Sturgeon at Savage Weekend 2013

Crank Sturgeon, one of the more senior noise celebrities, doing one of his signature absurdist performances. Notice all the smiles!

Moth Cock at Savage Weekend 2013

Moth Cock. A few trusted people casually told me that I should probably not miss this one. They were right. Total confusion sound but with a bizarre kind of groove, it gets really layered and hyperactive and psychedelic. Really awesome, I’m a big fan now.

i_like_dogface at Savage Weekend 2013

i_like_dogface impressed people at I.N.C. and I think many of us were looking forward to it here. Some smart light effects and a relatively simple electronic set-up used to great effect. Shifted vocals and weird electronic sounds that built to a heavy rhythmic noise climax.

The Waitress at Savage Weekend 2013

The Waitress. Two ladies from NYC, Jane and Ciarra, who played to a short film about them – yes, as waitresses – taking grisly, protracted revenge on a really offensive restaurant customer in B-horror movie style.

Russian Tsarlag at Savage Weekend 2013

Russian Tsarlag dropped a hush over the room so thick that no one would even shoot flash photos, then made everyone crack up between songs with his deadpan deconstruction of rock band tropes. (He played a tape of himself reciting in a monotone loop phrases like “I love this venue” and “I hope you like my music”)

Humanbeast at Savage Weekend 2013

Humanbeast. Damn, what to say about these killers?! If one act could and should actually be giant, famous rock stars of this whole lot, it’s them. Tense, gothy noise-pop that’s seductive but frequently painful. They have an album coming out soon on Load, and even though I haven’t heard it, I’m calling it as one of the best albums of the year now.

Andrea Pensado at Savage Weekend 2013

Andrea Pensado’s wicked processed vocal noise had everyone shrieking and screaming in response.

Form A Log at Savage Weekend 2013

One of the most anticipated acts was Form A Log, the all-star, all-cassette band. Ren (of Container), Noah (of Profligate), and Rick (THE Rick Weaver) patch together absurd song-like constructs from found and faux samples. They had everyone throwing Benjis (it’s a Log Culture thing – Form A Log cultivates a whole language of in-jokes – only the band members understand them all) people tried to dance, and there was even crowd-surfing!

Kimberly at Savage Weekend 2013

Kimberly’s performance had her screaming into a turntable stylus (which, yes, will pick up the sound apparently) and smashing at least a dozen sheets of glass ON HER FACE. I somehow caught a before and after of this happening in this photo. She had already, as a member of Contortionist Jazz Exotica, destroyed a pile of household and industrial objects the night before, and somehow came away from all this without any visible injuries.

Lazer Slut at Savage Weekend 2013

Lazer Slut was spending his set (of blown out 8-bit techno) bent over like this, so his friends decided to balance objects on his back and pour various fluids on him.

Tinnitusstimulus at Savage Weekend 2013

Tinnitustimulus, the last act of the entire event, whipped those who stuck it out into a frenzy. Dynamics, momentum, raw energy, if you dig harsh noise, this guy is one of the best, period.

There are many more photos that I took HERE.

Just a few other strong memories: Hunnie Bunnies were off the chain, booty bass beats and harsh noises! Unicorn Hard-On showed everyone how it was done, hype electro-dance in a nice short burst. Spiritual Recess doing a total freak-out confusion act, it was impossible to know what was intentional, luck, or accident. Sagan Youth Boys’ deep synth sequencing. Pvre Matrix whipping up a noisy rave. A Misfits cover band (??) starting a room-wide mosh pit. Ironing’s radical anti-DJ style, piling records and record pieces onto multiple turntables.

UPDATE! Lots of excellent photos by David Kenedy found HERE!

Can’t wait for next year!

Rat Bastard, humanbeast, AIDS Wolf, Shawn Greenlee, Diamond Black Heart, DubKnowDub at Death by Audio 01/15/11

January 24, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: shows

HumanBeast at Death by Audio

HumanBeast at Death by Audio

Phew! Some kind of line-up, right? This is going to be the Brooklyn show to top in 2011. And there were lots of big cameras popping off everywhere, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this event has already shown up on a bunch of other music blogs. But hey, I was there, I took pictures, it was awesome, I may as well put my show review out into the virtual world too.

dubknowdub – live at zebulon

So first of all, I missed DubKnowDub, but they’re great. I know the show had 6 bands on the bill, but this being Brooklyn, I still didn’t believe the show would actually start before 9PM. So as a consolation, hit play on the above track and let it be your soundtrack to No-Core browsing. (Music starts about the 1:45 mark.) I don’t know who DubKnowDub are exactly, but they get on lots of great shows somehow and they’re tons of fun. Yup, it’s kinda dub, and also kinda noise. Great live. Don’t make my mistake next time!

Diamond Black Hearted Boy at Death by Audio

Diamond Black Hearted Boy at Death by Audio

I did get there in time to catch Diamond Black Hearted Boy, a guy I’ve met before though I didn’t mentally piece together that it was the same person until I talked to him at the show! DBHB comes from the same Richmond freak scene that Narwhalz and Shams do and performance-wise you can tell he’s on the same page. Live, it’s kinda confrontational (for anyone who’s not into it) or just good fun if you are into it. Lots of goofy genre tags have been slapped on him, but honestly, I’d say his music is sort of proto-industrial. Claustrophobic, pushed-too-far-into-the-red samples and loops, usually rhythmic, sometimes with actual beats. Tonight DBHB also made ample use of a piercing whistle blown straight into the microphone which sounded pretty awesome (maybe a little tiresome after a while though) like it was hitting the resonant frequency of your eardrums.

Shawn Greenlee at Death by Audio

Shawn Greenlee at Death by Audio

Shawn Greenlee’s performance was really fantastic. He used some kind of camera to scan from a handmade book, and then what must have been custom software to turn the images into noise. Then there was a weird spinning disk, and he’d use the trackpad kind of like a Kaossilator, and… well, just watch him do his thing here. That’s my best guess as to what was going on. It sounded super-sweet too, better than it came out in this video. I was captivated.

And then, humanbeast. This was SO GOOD.

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 3

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 3

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 2

HumanBeast at Death by Audio 2

Last year at the International Noise Conference in Miami, I, like any mortal person, had to take a break and miss some of the acts. When I got back and asked people what I missed, everyone kept saying “Humanbeast! Humanbeast!” (I’m using the no-space spelling that appears on the tape I got) – so I was excited to finally see these guys. They did not disappoint! Their music was absolutely gorgeous, while at the same time being really dirty and messed up – which was also sort of how their performance played out – and how the theme of their lyrics go – taken together it’s cohesive, deadly effective, and totally entrancing. Amazing music meets amazing noise. Again, I couldn’t really capture the sound in full, but here’s my video of them playing “Come Through the Cloth.” I just watched it again and got chills at the point where she sings at the top of her lungs without the microphone.

Rat Bastard & Co at Death by Audio 2

I don't know if all those expensive cameras are safe there...

And then Rat Bastard of INC and Laundryroom Squelchers fame took to the stage, with his guitar with only 4 strings and 4 tuning pegs remaining. He was joined by Roger of Monotract fame and another guy who I probably should know but don’t, both on guitars. This was basically a performance following the Laundryroom Squelchers M.O. – a terrific squall that sounds at first like sheer white noise. The infamous Nondor Nevai made his trademark after-the-band-has-started appearance and took over vocals, striking poses but largely inaudible over the din. The thing about these Rat performances is that the beginning always seems just like random loud noodling, but if you’re willing to keep listening it starts to take shape and details come out at you. And these guys must have been listening to one another, because somehow they all knew when it was done around the same time.

AIDS Wolf at Death by Audio

AIDS Wolf at Death by Audio

AIDS Wolf went on last, and this was the first time I’ve seen their new(ish) 3-person line-up. (and Chloe’s new glasses!) Losing a guitarist has certainly not diminished the volume or chaos of AIDS Wolf live. In fact, I think I like the new sound even better. The band members really seem to be working toward some sort of Harry-Pussy-like psychic communication music that relies on feeling and intuition more than counting beats. They also introduced some sampled sounds and vocal effects which broadened the sound pallet. At least, I think that was an effect and not just a technical difficulty – but you know what? I really enjoy it when a band can make me wonder what’s intentional and what’s not. Living at the edge of chaos. I was also happy to see that the musical chaos inspired some physical chaos in the crowd. It looks like people are just standing around in the above photo, but there was some serious mosh action happening.

In closing: Awesome show. Good people, good times, great sounds. Show ran on time?!?! (props to Edan) Amazing. I went home feeling reinvigorated about music in general.

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      Did you miss me? I can’t guarantee this will be a regular thing again, but I got the itch and busted out another one of these podcasts. Some weird stuff in this one. Featuring soundz from Lightning Bolt, Profligate, Xerobot, Moth Cock, Skeleton Warrior, Pod Blotz, Mincemeat or Tenspeed, Mansion, Doomsday Student, Bromp Treb, Form […]
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