Glitter freaks, leather-clad fops, half-naked gender benders, and normal-seeming nerds and geeks will all descend on Churchill’s Pub for this year’s International Noise Conference. This free four-day long “music” “festival” features over 130 acts that test the ears as much as the spirit, and is guaranteed to shatter egos and spur its fair share of existential catastrophes. Celebrating its 10th year, INC is one of those rarities that entered the canon of Miami Mythos and actually kept going. It even has the stamp of approval by the Knight Foundation. You could call it the city’s most illegitimate-legitimate cultural institution.
Featuring every color in the experimental-music rainbow, INC has delivered harsh noise, ambient electronics, dance performances, puppetry, self-mutilation, other-mutilation, punk, rap, and stand-up comedy. Although this noun-parade might make it sound like a crappy carnival put on by art-school kids, INC is in fact a collection of some of the most seasoned and freshly innovative musicians and performers from around the world. Put on by local noise overlord Rat Bastard, the conference, according to Rat, is a “near-constant succession of 15 minute-or- less performances performed back-to-back, no-breaks.”
INC is not only international because of the acts that come to Miami: the conference itself also travels the globe and has jet-shitted all over Australia, South Korea, and Canada, with plans for a Japan tour in March and a China tour next year. With the Knight Foundation’s grant, Rat will be building a formidable recording space in the back of Churchill’s at the newly minted Dan Hosker Studio. The conference has also expanded to four days, starting officially on Wednesday, February 6 with a procession of South Florida bands and soloists, including the face-shredding metal of Devalued, post-dub/primordial techno act Dim Past, and the taking-hallucinogens-in-a-garage stylings of The Jellfyfish Brothers.
The rest of the conference features a roster of musicians who hail from Madison, Wis., to Melbourne, Australia to the little-known town of Elephant Island, Antarctica. The genres — if they even exist anymore — at INC span widely and include technoise act Unicorn Hard-On from Nashville, glitch-hop duo Bang! Bros from Boston, and the intimidatingly heavy squall of Columbus, Ohio-based Sword Heaven. It’s impossible to adequately list the variety of sonic and performance groups, so just know that the only rule for the conference is that no laptops are allowed. There’s a lot to see and hear, and if this year marks your first INC, Mr. Bastard suggests, “you should just hang in there and catch all the acts. If you go to the bathroom — you will miss something, so pay attention.”
International Noise Conference starts 9 p.m. Wednesday and continues through Sunday at Churchill’s Pub (5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami). There will be a pre-part Tuesday at Lester’s in Wynwood (2519 NW 2nd Ave., Miami). Admission is free. Call 305-757-1807, or visit churchillspub.com.
–By Rob Goyanes