Monday night at the Kitty Cat Club I saw what I think I expected from a noise show before I’d ever seen a noise show – but in a bar setting. I’ve been to a few noise shows now in basements and apartments or one of two noise bands playing with others at a bar but last night was all noise all night. I noticed a pulse throughout the show. Each performer picked it up or somehow incorporated a sound that beat like a pulse. Sometimes it beat like almost indiscernibly like someone resting – sometimes it pounded with rage, but it was interesting that while the waves of the pulse changed, it was always there. That being said, that may just be me trying to find commonalities and patterns where there are none.
The night began with Analscubahive (or Ash) with a laptop and keyboard of circuits and touchscreens on top of a metal circular rack, like the cover or a fan or top of a dishwasher rack. He wore a fantastic costume with an outer space feel. The sound began as a heavy buzz peppered with booming crashes. The sound was electronic and but not metallic. As the performance progressed into a pulse with screeches.
Next fire island AK took the stage next; I have wanted to see him since he helped me better understand noise for a story earlier this year. His instruments fit into two neat suitcases. With circuits and wires, cassettes and other moving parts, it’s like the inside of a dark music box. The sound starts as a high pitched droning beside a ocean-sounding wave. Like a creepier stretched out Love Reign O’er Me from The Who. The sound got clippy, like the fast blades of a whirling helicopter or racing heartbeat. A bonus is the bassy feel to the sound – so that you literally feel and hear the sound.
Delores Dewberry was another local artist I looked forward to seeing. Delores brings the sexy to noise. With black patent leather stiletto boots and a long dark leather coat, she looks and sounds the part. She seems to use and manipulate recorded sounds, from human voices to static. Again there was that helicopter heartbeat and droning waves, an undercurrent to the vocals that range from the raspy whisper to a growing growl. The lyrics were dark. Just having lyrics was unusual but intriguing. She alluded to the track being an earlier work, which was also intriguing to me. I always wonder how much of noise is improvised and how much carefully pre-constructed. There seems to be a range of approaches depending on the artist.
The night capped off with Indian Burial Ground and I have to say there’s nothing more disorienting than a man with a full beard, long pretty hair in a shimmery disco dress. Not disconcerting in a bad way at all; just throws you a little off balance. Like Delores Dewberry, the art of noise here was in the visual presentation as much as the sound. The sound was a buzzing, rotating sound punctuated with angry shouting and pounding – recording pound and drilling as well as stomping and pounding on the stage. The theme is anger and borderline violence, the music gets faster and louder until the singing goes from angry shouting to a sort of mournful crescendo. The show ended with Indian Burial Ground on the ground and the pulse stopped. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I wish I had a better picture of Indian Burial Ground but while on one level I appreciate the passion of anger on the stage, on the other level I don’t want any of it directed toward me and a flash camera!)