Lightning, Loogies Strike
The show went down on the sidewalk outside No Space (a new nonprofit gallery across from the Summit Public House), where artist Ryan Iverson was having an opening. As the start time for the evening's entertainment grew late, about 250 people gathered in the street, a number made all the more impressive due to the fact that advance notice for the show was limited to word of mouth and a couple hand-drawn fliers postered around Capitol Hill a few days beforehand. Some time after 9:00 p.m., Lightning Bolt set up outside the gallery, blasting out bottom-heavy, distorted noise rock that dropped down on the crowd like the ass of God. The frantic, complex art rock jackhammered the jammed sidewalk/street into giddy, vibrating euphoria. It's amazing that something like that could happen--on a weeknight no less--without a SWAT team of red and blue authority ruining all the fun. The show went on for a good 40 minutes before anyone called the police, and from what I hear, the cops were pretty cool about the whole situation.
Adam Miller of Chromatics, one of the partners behind No Space (along with Alena Okazaki, Gabriel Stromberg, and Ian Burnside), e-mailed me later in the week to say they're already planning more No Space shows--both art and music. "The idea behind the venue is to promote an alternative space to showcase creativity that we as a collective recognize as being progressive," he writes. "We feel that our tastes (and our community's) are not being accurately reflected by the galleries and performance spaces in this city, so it is our duty to improve this situation." Those tastes include "noise bands" and "weird, out there stuff," what Miller calls "the underground that is on the fringe but in twenty years people will look back upon as groundbreaking. We are about the now, [but] we have to be finicky about booking bands because of noise constraints," he says, adding that his ideal lineups would include acts like Black Dice and Wolf Eyes. Along with the creative spaces/lineups alternative booking groups like No Space and Loss Leader strive for here--and with new venues like the Fun House and the Hideaway set to open soon--this fall looks pretty damn exciting, promising all kinds of ways to break the standard clubgoing mold.
At a much more primal event, you could've gotten pregnant just from brushing up against your neighbor's sweat at Turbonegro last week, as the hedonistic rockers injected more get-it-on testosterone into the sold-out crowd than modern fertilization clinics could ever fathom. The evening was all about a loveless kind of coupling, though, as the Norwegian band projected nothing but contempt for everything American the entire night. In addition to berating us "stupid Americans," our "stupid sports," and our stupid lack of hooligans, the fluid-stocked band poured hatfuls of fake blood on the audience and spat loogies on those unlucky enough to be standing near the stage. And the band's negative attitude didn't stop with the end of their show. One fan told me afterward that, despite helping Turbonegro get their desired after-party going, his request for an autograph was turned down with a gruff retort that he should write down his address and they'd "send him one in the mail." Ah well, you don't expect pleasantries from hedonists who close out their encore with "I Got Erection," now, do you?
I missed the Helio Sequence at The Stranger's Genius Awards party (who knew the bands actually started on time, huh?) last Friday, October 10, but Lifesavas' engaging performance stole the weekend for me. The Portland trio are naturals at encouraging lots of crowd participation, and their turntablist/emcees spun out an uplifting brand of hiphop that launched the dance party for the night. Watching Lifesavas perform live, it was pretty clear that this Northwest act is, as Charles Mudede has written in this here paper already, poised to cross over into the mainstream consciousness in a heartbeat.