this past saturday was one of those nights with too many overlapping attractive choices. in hindsight, i'm sure i'm forgetting a few. as josh said, there was ikue mori and charles cohen at the tank. however, i'd already seen cohen at dogs blood rising last summer, in an amazing duet with michael of sporangia/leisure muffin. i'd also promised my friend seze i'd see her friend's band flaming fire at galapagos, and she also said something about a wild crazy party elsewhere in brooklyn afterwards. feeling adventurous, i decided to go for the road not yet travelled.
it turned out that flaming fire were just one of several bands in a well-named night called ruckus. my friend bianca and i arrived mega-early since i mistook the door time for the band's showtime. i'm kind of glad i did; it meant i got to take some pictures, including the one above of a painful post-relationship poem installation floating on the water near the club entrance.
we also got to experience the bludgeoning attack of a duo called squaw. one man twisted hideous electronic squelches from his synthesizer while another pounded doomy minimalist grunge on his bass guitar. sometimes the bassist also added drowned-sounding baritone vocals. reminding me of godflesh without the drum machine or merzbow with a bassline, i preferred their take on noise-rock to others i've heard lately.
flaming fire started off with a spaced-out twangy bass guitar accompanied by laptop and an electronic device called the dewanatron, manned by the two musician/technicians who operate under that name. they dressed in shirts and ties under black judges' robes and added backing vocals to their glorious analog mayhem. the rest of the band came through the crowd chanting and writhing until they reached the stage. once there, they attacked the semi-free-form songs and didn't let up much for their entire set. shouting, shaking, mock-religious fervor, costumes, makeup, techno-voodoo rhythms, and general craziness ensued.
somewhat inspired by the wild abandon onstage, we were determined to turn things up a notch and headed over to the rubulad party. we cabbed it in the rain over to a dodgy spot near the bqe, and entered a small nondescript warehouse. nondescript that is, until we got inside. if nothing else, the decorations were a feast of overkill for the eyes. the blacklight paintings in one stairway (above) were only one example of the visual smorgasbord. decorations of various types hung everywhere, couches were covered in all manner of patterns, and the place was like a maze leading in and outside. the music was pretty diverse too; one room was all dancehall, one was classic soul, one was kind of techno/house, and there was a live band in another. we tried to get into the techno groove, but we were craving something a bit harder-edged. there were a lot of people there, including kelvin, the man who took part in the "human canvas" installation at the last choking victim. it was definitely worth checking out, but bianca and seze thought we should cut our losses and go to contempt, the monthly goth/industrial club in manhattan at remote lounge. getting there was going to be half the battle though, as cabs quoted us ridiculous prices based on our being helplessly rained on in the middle of a bad neigborhood. all seemed lost until some wonderful friends of bianca's turned up in a car as if by magic and gave us a ride.
one of our main reasons for going was the last-minute addition of dj abstract, who promised to spin more of his trademark downtempo gems in the upstairs lounge. sadly, we were too wired to fully appreciate the goodness he spun for us, since we arrived late, half in the bag, and searching for some brand of fun we couldn't define. he has his own perspective on the night, and i have to agree with him all the way. once he passed the decks over to another dj (who it turns out i knew, since there is one degree of separation in that scene), he joined us downstairs looking for the perfect beat. a kind of release came with the song "what's on your mind (pure energy)" by information society, but it felt to me like too little, too late.
although i had fun overall, and i wouldn't have changed the night for anything, there seemed to be a lesson hidden in the way things went. it seems like we were chasing after some transcendentally amazing time like eyes trying to look directly at floaters; the goal could never come into focus or be grasped. still, i guess it's all about the journey, right?
the title of this post comes from a song by living colour.