The brainchild of Radio-Active staffer Richard Vergez, Friday’s inaugural event was one hell of a debut. Robbie Brantley, aka Human Fluid Rot, kicked off the line-up, grabbing the audience’s attention with an audio clip from the colorful slasher film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. What I could catch of the clip’s dialogue, which was muffled under Brantley’s heavy layering of bells and static, was rather indecent, consisting of plenty sexual innuendos. For about five minutes, noise also came from a table covered in tangled wires, pedals, and switches. The performance was chaotic and grotesque – a show befitting his stage name. But it also seemed to function as a release of his pent-up musical tension; Brantley’s passion resonated throughout the intimate shop, leaving some dazed, some confused, and even a young patron covering up his ears.
Had you never seen Raphael Alvarez perform under his guise Chrome Dick, you would have guessed his partner for the night, drummer Chris Aschbrenner, was a permanent member, but that’s not the case. It wasn’t until after their set that I found out not only was it their first performance together, but it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. No practice sessions were held, just a talk earlier in the day about what they wanted out of their set. Aschbrenner’s drumming was melodic, while Raph ripped listeners back to reality with a frantic drone of electronic blips and drawn-out notes, accented by haunting vocals.
Next up was Richard Vergez and guitar-wielding Kelvin Mitchell K. as Mothersky. A Library Of Congress talking-book player hung from Richard’s neck and played back his looped recordings, which he manipulated by slides on the player. Vergez’s continuous noise paired with Kelvin’s perfectly erratic guitar playing came together to keep onlookers anticipating some grand disaster.
The next act on the bill was someone I’d never heard of: Low Level Laser Radiation. Upon asking a group of friends who was behind it, Richard Vergez chimed in, “Nelson [Hallonquist is] great, he runs a record label out of West Palm called West Palm Beotch.” Hallonquist took the stage with a modest set up of two keyboards joined by an analog effect processor. The experimental soundscapes that came forth were refreshing and less abrasive, but still managed to maintain the musical suspense of some of the other performers’ rougher sets.
And then there was long-time avant-garde musician Kenny Millions. I’d seen photos and videos of his past performances – including documented evidence of him spitting up on himself. Pair this with a sort of brusque, though playful, misanthropy I’d witnessed earlier in the evening – “Everyone is an asshole,” he said. – and I was convinced I was ready for what was in store.
He set out a collection of pedals and amps, a custom guitar with a fire alarm bell, and even a saxophone, all with the intention of assaulting our senses. But what came next was a level of intensity that none of my previous insight could prepare me for. Joined by an inflatable sex doll, Kenny set forth to offend and mesmerize – but probably more to offend. His performance antics, including foreplay with his inflatable lady friend and then sharing her with the crowd, drove even my most perverted friend to blush and turn away. It was so loud, you could almost feel the decibels in your teeth. But I smirked pretty much the entire time anyway. Never a dull moment with this crude showman.
Wrapping up the evening’s performances was Florida Noise legend Rat Bastard, joined by experimental music artist Sharlyn Evertsz. The two worked together seamlessly: Rat’s unique way of making a guitar sound like a handful of different instruments simultaneously, and Evertsz’s handy work on her instruments of manipulation and series of pedals on the floor around her, brought a proper dark ending to the evening.
– By Paige Place
All photos also by Ms. Place:
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