High Praise to the DIY Show

Arrington de Dionyso & the Old Time Relijun

Tues Jan 7 at Dirty Feet (Georgetown).

One of the reasons I loved living in the Bay Area were the warehouse shows. They seemed to take place right when the monotony of club life started to hit hard, reminding people that musical subcultures never stand still for long. It was just as inspiring to see how people converted industrial spaces into living quarters as it was to hear the bands on stage within those cement walls.

Last week's show at Dirty Feet, an old pottery warehouse-cum-living space, definitely made me happy. The all-ages "no alcohol or assholes" show was intimate, with two dozen people huddled around bottles of juice and a makeshift performance area. The first act to go on stage below rusted chains and an old hobbyhorse was Arrington de Dionyso & the Old Time Relijun (stripped down from their usual trio to a two-piece, consisting of Arrington and a percussionist), an act I'd never heard before. The music was wild, free-jazz-sounding, as Arrington mingled his own vocal theatrics with the reedy noises of his bass clarinet.

After a break from a DJ who jammed together songs like "Jessie's Girl" with loud radio static, Shoplifting was next. Featuring ex-members of the Chromatics (basically the whole band minus Adam M.), Shoplifting's Fall-influenced dark dance rhythms pulsed through the crowd as band members traded off as vocalists. As they played with the lights off, the band created great, angular, wintry-sounding punk that prompted fans to jerk around with pleasure.

Following Shoplifting, Cockfight showed videos of toy chickens smeared with ketchup as their two costumed members jammed out discordant keyboard and drum noise. The evening ended with the Bay Area's Lowdown, a trio that also banged out keyboard-damaged punk. I recommend seeing any of these bands (Shoplifting will be at the Crocodile on February 28) when they play around town, and look forward to the next living quarters-turned-DIY show. If only my neighbors weren't so trigger-happy when it comes to calling the cops....