It occurred to us that what was happening at The End was pretty much the exact opposite of what was happening across the way at Exit/In. While My So-Called Band and friends were playing covers of songs everybody already knew, the good ruffians of Buzz and Click VI were playing songs no one knew. In some cases, they were songs that the bands themselves didn't know until they played them.
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Next up, Buzz and Click's John Brassil introduced co-founder Jeremy Dickens, who quickly transformed into his musical alter ego Logickal, tweaking knobs, headbanging and getting all IDM on our ass. He was joined by a friend (we missed his name) who had driven up from the spring training home of the Mets to...uh, to do interpretive dance in an Affliction T-shirt? There were some swoopy Tae Kwon Do-style moves and yowling that happened. We're pretty sure dude's gristle was throbbing during the stage-humping part. It was not understood by us, exactly. But! Logickal unloaded some awesome, evil-sounding machine-noise-music-craze-wave-fractal-jams (there's a German word for that), like Brainiac's cracked machine about to blow its brains out using a gun loaded with the future. And the one guy who was dancing was wearing JNCOs--unironically, best we could tell. Like we said, the opposite of what was going on across the street.
(Pause for you to tab over to Facebook.)
OK, so the thing with improv noise bands is that instead of catchy pop hooks, there are moments. Moments of serendipitous clarity, like when you burn your toast and it looks like Jesus, or when a Chinese farmer pulls up a giant root in the shape of a human being. Guitarist Brady Sharp and saxophonist (and Scene
contributor) David Maddox, playing as Bluff Duo, produced some of those moments, and it was cool. Like overhearing two people talking in a foreign language and then suddenly knowing what whole sentences mean without really understanding them. And Maddox hit the opposite of the brown note, whatever you'd call that. The white note? It made one of the Blues Hammer dudes drop his beer. Or maybe that's because he was shit-faced.
Matt Pusti's DAAS was up next, and we were told that the name is a computer joke. Get it? Em ess DAAS. Someone referred to the Make-Up and Vanity Set side project as "brain dance," which made it sound less good than it was. It was like buh-craaaack-uh-bah-boom-boom-boom craaaaack-buh-bap, and Pusti said after the show that the whole thing was made from one MIDI sample of a steel drum. We think he was kidding...or do we?
It occurred to us that the bathroom door at The End is not the best place in the world to post a menu, since it's not a location well suited to thinking about food, but whatever. We were getting hungry as Leslie Keffer played perhaps the most accessible set of hers we've ever seen, which is to say she had a table full of electronics, candles and a grid of 16 unmarked cassette tapes that she swapped in and out throughout an extended, sometimes arpeggiated drone.
It was almost 2 a.m. by the time Forrest Bride went on, and we will admit we were starting to fade at this point. Even the after party at Exit/In was over before the Buzz and Click headliners took to the stage. But they were undaunted by the lateness of the hour. The Amy and Ben Marcantel-fronted collective started on the drone-y side but were soon blasting away at some big, Krautrockish skronkedelia that made the whole room feel like a swiftly twirling planet. We had to call it a night before they finished, but we were thankful for a great night of counterintuitive beats, wow and flutter, glitches, hisses and deformed melodies. Can't wait for next year.
With all apologies to the bands we missed, we walked into The End Saturday night to see Jensen Sportag's Austin Wilkinson sit-dancing in his chair and pressing buttons on a vaguely '80s-looking controller that made it look like he was piloting some kind of abstract disco spaceship. A projector was projecting something over his face as he and bandmate Benji Craig whipped up some serious space funk. People were dancing in their minds. We think. It's kind of funny to see a room full of people look very studious and thoughtful when very, very danceable music is coming through the P.A. Well, maybe not funny, exactly. But the Sportag sounded awesome, and they probably represented the closest thing to musical enjoyment for the little gang of Blues Hammer fans slumming it at the corner of the bar. Didn't they know there were Jock Jams happening on the opposite side of the street?