I went to visit some friends in Kansas City a couple days ago.
While drinking several glasses of cheap sangria and watching excerpts from The Decline of Western Civilization we discussed going to a show that somebody said was happening at a place called The Green Desert. It was being hosted by someone from HŮMΔN ŦRΔFFIC. The facebook promo page was pretty sparse, but the groups/projects performing sounded interesting and it gave us a vague idea of where the place was.
I accessed google maps to sneak a look around the vicinity to see if I could find a visual clue of where our destination would be…
… I didn’t see anything that looked like it was The Green Desert venue, although I did find this dude walking around.
We eventually got an address for the place and were assured it would be easy to find once we got there.
The Green Desert conjures mental brain imagery of… a lush, sub-tropic oases in the middle of a dry expanse of hot sand… or maybe a pack of mentholated Turkish cigarettes… it turned out to be a house, actually.
I began to wish my house had a name. I began to wish I had a house. If I did, I’d probably call it something like John, The House.
“Hey, there’s a party at John tonight.”
“Um, you mean at John’s?”
“Nah, we’re having the party inside John.”
“Don’t worry, it’s cool, he’s a house.”
Anyway, we made our way out into the shitty, cold and rainy KC environ to find The Green Desert.
Once there, we found cars parked pretty much all over the place. We knocked on the front door and stood around on the porch nervously expecting someone to greet us with a shotgun or exposed penis, but instead we were welcomed in by friendly people with clothes and no guns.
There were a few people seated at a table in the kitchen. One of them was busy putting together a Simpsons puzzle, so I took a moment to chat with them about how puzzles like that are pretty hard and stuff. Of course, if I really take the time to sit there and work on one, it’s not bad, but of the world of puzzles jigsaws are probably my least favourite… they’re such a manual chore, and like a weird unclever-but-intellectualized replication of sex, the putting of knobs into like-shaped apertures in order to “create” some pre-figured design, like a kind of vulgar eugenics or something. In this case, Homer Simpson was the desired result.
Jigsaw puzzles can be pretty zen, though.
Pretty soon after we got there, a guy came in to tell us that 1) no smoking in the house, and b) this isn’t where the party is, we’d have to go to the basement.
So, The Green Desert turned out to be a basement.
It also wasn’t green.
It was dusty, though, and I coughed up a lot of green shite the next morning, so at least there was that. xD
~ premier (magicien absurde)…
In the basement, the first act was DJ Vicki, a very energetic guy playing loud and distorted rhythmic noise music using a laptop and what appeared to be either a smallish mixer/pa or a sampler type thing, all running through a shit Peavey amplifier! His set had some really nice, funky moments, though sometimes the grooves were kind of shit. Occasionally, there would be moments during which it sounded as if he were playing some diva house tracks, or chillwave or R&B or something through a relentless distortion module. He also had a mic, and would occasionally dance over to it and scream or make a noise of some kind, which sometimes worked and sometimes did not, but it was entertaining always. The most enigmatic aspect to the performance were ‘The Changes’… at times, very much at random, he would put on a motorcycle helmet, then for no reason remove it… then he’d put on a weed mask, then take it off. Once, he put on the weed mask, then put the helmet on over it. Then he took them both off. He also put on a coat for a little while, only to take it off a short while later.
I struggled with this… to find a key, a meaning to it all. It remains, for now, inexplicable.
People danced, and it was nice. I felt often that DJ Vicki was trying to implore me to dance, but I just had too much on my mind. A friend asked me at one point, “Where were all the young girls into noise when WE were doing this shit!?”
I don’t know. Somewhere out there.
Noise for me was always more of an inner journey of love, disgusting and brutal; harsh, even alien aesthetics. An obscure obsession. An illness.
~ boue rythmique…
The next act was a two-piece Sludge project called May 1968. It was really great, actually… the set was short, but was everything it needed to be. The drummer was intense, putting his entire body behind the sticks while profusely and unapologetically beating the drumset. The bassist generated dense bass tones with multiple diffuse resonant layers using a few fx pedals, it seemed to punch its way through the body. The set felt very tight, like they’d been working together for awhile. One thing I picked up on, though it was difficult to tell in retrospect whether it was a real thing or just imagined, was this subtle communication between the two people in May 1968 that seemed sort of like the drummer was antagonizing the bassist, like “What the fuck are you doing?” It was really hardly noticeable, though, but got me thinking about how it would be interesting for a project to play that aspect up, have two members antagonize each other with verbal abuse to drive up the tension of the set, like, “C’mon, what the fuck!? Faster! You need to go faster!” type shit. Just pure expressions of mid-west working class rage or something, in the face.
~ la fin…
At the end of that set, we had to go. We attempted to ghost out, but then someone reminded us we had to pay after we got to the front lawn. I was sad to miss the two headliners, but such is life.
In the aftermath, my ears were ringing, which I hadn’t had happen since seeing Ministry live in like, ’03 or ’04. And then, I ate a burrito.
But, the story does not end there! I must share links, so that you can hear for yourself the sounds of the artists who performed.
~ endroits externes…