Alternate title: “Different Strokes For Different Folks.”
The International Noise Conference, coordinated by Laundry Room Squelcher’s lead man Rat Bastard, was one hell of a trip. Although several other INC’s are located anywhere from Austin, Texas to Seoul, South Korea, the one in Miami, Fl seems to be the most well known and most visited. I’ve already missed out on some crucial sets for over the past 6 years and deeply regret not taking the time off and effort to go to this once a year event. Going during a year without Byron House, Kites, What’s Your Damage? and Sword Heaven, I have no real ground to compare this recent INC with the others that I’ve heard nothing but good things about, yet being the beholder of it for the first time was still a foot in. The musicians, like loud moving trains, either kept on their tracks to slowly come to a screeching stop, end a set with a big crash throughout the venue, ride a different train altogether or not ride the train at all (this being a handful of anti-musicians that didn’t really play music at all.) Basically, there was something for everyone, and although more conventional band set ups seemed to dominate more over the actual noise acts this year, it was still, as one of the acts mentioned, a “private party” for people that take their passions of music, art, and record production seriously.
-God Willing @ INC 2010, video by skullastica
-Laundry Room Squelchers, video by xNOCOREx
I unfortunately couldn’t make it out to the first evening, so by all means, this is not an accurate portrayal of INC in any way over all, just what I caught and personally digged throughout the 90 bands that played. I really wanted to see Clang Quartet (a Christian harsh noise artist), God Willing, and the Laundry Room Squelchers, although I probably saved myself from getting a bad bruise and blasted ear drums. If you want to see and hear what I mean, check out the LRS video above. My only other snip of insight from the first night I gathered was from a found VHS tape recorded by Drew that had some scary first hand account of what it’s like to be in the middle of The Squelcher’s “amp throwing zone.” Painful is an understatement, but this is just how Rat and Co. due, and I can’t remember the last time I went to a show and felt like I was on a rickety roller coaster ride trying to dodge music equipment and fallen bodies.
After being in a car for several hours through some harsh weather, my friends and I arrived at Churchill’s on the day of Todd’s night, who coordinated the show that consisted of fellow current Cephia’s Treat and SAFG acts as well as a couple of Florida friends and requested northern acts. As I walked towards the entrance, I knew I was coming closer as I was lured by the dreamy goth twang through the walls that were coming from Tampa’s Haves and Thirds. After the H&T kick off, Tampa’s newest and hooded act Father Finger took over and used some sort of voice manipulation device over her mouth that added an eerie, echo-y element to her set of Albini-esque guitar strumming and loops. Cyber-Swarm (representing Orlando) played next, covering a Mario Paint song, and the only reason I know that is because I’m in the band. Moon Dust Plus, who I last saw during the solo tour ‘Beats and Creeps,’ dropped the drums and added harsh celestial melody and vocals to his set that not only had an amplifying aesthetic but sounded like a fallen angel’s lament of being rejected by God. Back to back was another “floaty” musician Ant Parade, who I talk about hear often and have had high hopes for since her first show. She opened with a brand new track of blissful piano keys, drum machine loops for better daze, and best of all, Brigid’s incredible singing ability that brings me to higher states every time, closing off with an Ant Parade hit that spellbounds the crowd into a sway every time. Once Diamond Hymen set up her arsenal of fog machines, strobe lights and black lights (perhaps party favors from Pro Bro Gold?), she started with a chilly, warped electronic intro that showed that even dance artists are capable of impressing noise nomads. Accompanied also by Orlando’s dance troupe Triscults, she pressed play on the sampler and broke out the ice in the crowd with her brand of dark 80’s electro.
The next acts I remembered being pretty cool was Erika’s new band (from Sarasota) and Copper Glove (from Baltimore), who represented what the original sound of INC brought to form in its beginnings, being an ultra out there musician that played some rad darkwave noise. S2K, too, created some intense noise that I’ve come to appreciate for the fact that you’ll never hear those exact sounds being played again at any other point of your existence, which I feel is what a lot of experimental musicians are all about. I couldn’t see what he was doing on the floor or what instruments were used, but it sounded like dimensions bending into each other full circle, and plus I’m really bad at knowing what the hell is going on anyways when I look at most bands’ set ups. It’s the actual output that counts in the end anyways. Lazy Magnet played sometime around the middle of the night, and for those that were scratching their head during his set, Jeremy wasn’t being lazy, just he wasn’t quite ‘magnetized’ into the right state of mind at the time, which he made up for later by playing coherently with MLU for a very mind shattering set. I can see where he’s coming from now.
Before I get there though, the tail point of the evening had two more out of state acts (not counting MLU) and Tampa’s loudest bands of post punk mayhem. Big + Tall (from Atlanta, GA) returned to Florida again after Bloodfest to play at yet another gigantic DIY event. They were pretty outstanding then, and I felt they were also tightened at INC as well, showing that dark, brooding repetitious music doesn’t always have to be in feedback, multiple pedal form. Boulders, a gloomy hypnotic post punk band of two tall skinny dudes, played stop-and-go rhythms that create a hostile like environment that only grew larger as other Tampa groups Neon Blud and Slavescene performed. I lost my mind somewhere between these sets, and I remember thinking I was in a hardcore hell for a moment and never heard something that was so loud yet had distinguishable punk driven sounds. Skeleton Warrior, who take the weird, alienation approach, played the best SW set I’ve truthfully seen… I don’t know if it was the addition of Erika drumming (one being an electronic drum pad), the state of mind I was in or the intense Fugs cover ‘Kill For Peace,’ but whatever the reasons, they flowed the room with their electronic doomsday marching beats that would make Mark Mothersbaugh grin if he was secretly an evil android all this time. T-Func joined forces with Edwin (of Fifi) to do an impromptu Gringos de Zapitos set that also included improv jokes between synth punk bizarreness. J. Zagers balanced all of this madness out with some soothing, psychedelic soundscapes that made me see patterns that I’ve never seen interweave before into a constellation that bridged glistening oceans with shimmering stars.
MLU, who formed and grew in Tampa, but now present in Nashville, concluded Friday’s evening. New additions to their sound evolved and involved Jeremy Harris (of Lazy Magnet) playing goth-dirge bass and more negative psychedelic nightmares of ghostly laced vocals, tribal drumming and pedals (think J. Zagers’ set but on a bad, bad trip). And to think of a band that runs a label called ‘Stay Away From Ghosts,’ you’d think they would sound like wizards warding off evil spirits rather than become them. Sean, as a way of saying a big “fuck you” towards Nashville’s Black Lips wanna-be music scene, started their set saying “Garage Rock’s boring.” The room shattered with MLU’s developed force and all I could think of while ‘in the zone’ was how the hell have my long time friends become this $*#&@’n good at music? They definitely made it to where they wanted, and even as I looked around the room of dieing, flickering lights and a floor covered in broken glass, I somehow felt not only satisfactorily stimulated but proud of these musicians including my friends in Florida that have kept doing what they enjoy doing and have crafted out a sound that they can call their own. That’s what I feel INC is all about, and although I came late into it and virtually know nothing about its origins, I now feel like I understand it better being there and my only advice to those reading this that missed out is: go to more shows if you like music and stop sitting around drinking and hating your life. I can’t really tell you how INC actually was, and by all means a blog post and a handful of youtube videos can’t truly show how an actual experience was. Live life a little and make some noise.
-Haves and Thirds
Next post: INC day 3.
Thanks to anyone’s videos that I’ve used for this post.
Also to note, there will be more videos related to this night once I return a VHS tape back to its owner.