"Are they playing in there?" commented some random person next to me at Rhinoceropolis last night. Yes, they're playing. Someone is anyone. "Who" is anyone's guess. But there is definitely someone playing. And so it went throughout the evening, which started around 11 p.m. and ended near 4 a.m. It was a constant stream of spooky noise music, from the chaotic to the mundane, and eventually, it reached a point where it felt like the mouth of Hell had opened up to consume us.
First up was Syndrome of a Down, which consisted of Warren Bedell and Zach Baur making noise-electronic-goofiness. This was one of the highlights of the evening, partially because it was so inane, it warranted a smile and partially, because it was the only time I saw a single person smirk during the entire evening.
I have no idea what the hell crawled up noise-kids asses and laid a melancholy egg, but finding a single person with a smidgen of happy on their face was next to impossible all evening. Thankfully, Syndrome of Down was ridiculous enough to make every one laugh, at least on the inside.
Or maybe not, it was so dark people could have been frowning -- but the band's blend of breakbeat and noise with utter nonsense was enough to make me grin. They called the whole thing "jumpstyle," which made perfect sense the second Warren pushed play on his laptop and said, "I'm not even going to do anything," and then proceeded to jump around. It was weirdly honest.
After Syndrome finished up, some guy in a Scream outfit started to walk past before he stopped, turned, looked at me and said, "America is fucking bullshit." Ah yes, the political drunk, a rare breed but when they're spotted in the wild it's best to agree with them and slowly back away, which is what I did.
Solypis was next. He sat behind a laptop and made harsh noise. It was noise in the literal sense of the word. Loud, ahem, noisy and tinnitus inducing. It was callous and could rupture an eardrum if you weren't careful, but it was all being done on a laptop, which, in the game of noise, just seems like cheating to me. I'm not a purist, nor am I a technophobe, but rolling that dirty just seems unnatural behind a keyboard.
Somewhere around the middle of Solypis set, some jackass lighted a cigar next to me. Normally this would be mildly annoying, but combined with everything else that was going on, the cigar smell was too much. I needed to make my way to fresh air for a bit.
Stepping out onto the patio, I was able to get a closer look at a few costumes, none of which were particularly interesting, save for Milton Croissant III's cyperpunk ala-Syndicate costume, which was easily the best of the evening. I was expecting a bit better of the crowd. Not that I personally delivered anything but a hackneyed cop-out of a costume, but I figured everyone else would step it up -- most didn't.
It took ages to setup, but Hardcore Teenage Vampire Pussy followed a bit after. It's a mouthful to be certain, but it was an earful as well. The act crossed a few wires and split a few hairs to create a series of feedback loops though speakers, then threw a guitarist and a drummer into the mix. It was improv with a goal, if that makes sense. The end product was something like taking the rock out of Jesus Lizard and just leaving the feedback and drums.
No Funeral followed pretty quickly afterward, thankfully, since we were already hitting about two in the morning. This time is was Warren Bedell by himself playing a weird homage to pop culture as filtered through the brainwaves of a serial killer while seven different lasers blasted the audience in the face. He cranked some White Zombie at one point, and eventually finished off with what could be considered a cover of the Misfits' "Halloween." Somewhere in the middle of his set, a drunk dude made sure to yell loudly enough that everyone could hear as he screamed, "go back to New York you hippie faggot." Clearly people were getting restless as three o'clock was rolling around. Just one more band to go though: Page 27.
Or at least I hoped Page 27 was the last band, because I couldn't take it anymore. Too much time in a loud, foggy warehouse in the middle of nowhere was getting to me, and Page 27 was about to exploit the shit out of that feeling. If you've ever seen or heard traditional renditions of Hell, then you'll understand what they were doing.
It wasn't clear if Page 27 and Novasak were playing together -- they very well may have been together -- but I couldn't see a goddamn thing. Rhinoceropolis was filled with fog. You couldn't see two feet in front of you. The only thing I remember, save for some dissident and chaotic noise, is a three-pronged knife popping in and out of view in my peripheral vision. It could have been a person for all I knew. It was that impossible to see. The music didn't help much either.
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On top of being completely hellish -- and, well, fitting for the night -- it destroyed your senses. Up was down, and down was up. The whole thing felt like a panic attack wrapped in a stroke, with a migraine for good measure.
The fog was thick enough I had to daisy-chain with a few people to find my way out to the door to leave. I may or may not have left before all the bands were done, but it was 3:30 a.m., and I simply couldn't take it anymore.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Staying out until four in the morning has not been my cup of tea since since 2005, and I'm absolutely exhausted right now. By the Way: Denver alumni Dugout Canoe canceled, which was an epic bummer. Random Detail: The haunted house next door was on the more disoriented and claustrophobia-inducing things I've ever experienced.