Saturday, June 13, 2009

Noise vs. House (show review)

Last night I went to a show at Club 1808 entitled "House vs. Noise", featuring five House DJs on the inside and five Noise acts outside (missed the first one "Xathax"). I am not going to comment too much much on the House aspect of the show, I will say that Noise definitely won by a land slide... however, there was one girl who danced to the House all night non-stop. It was quite an effort, but Noise still prevailed.

The first act I saw was called "Bubblegum Shitface". I had heard good things about this guy and I discovered he used to play with Rotten Milk (from Stress Ape and CAVE, both bands I am quite fond of) so I was excited to see him but, I was sadly quite disappointed. To spite their impressive mountain of home-made circuit bent pedals and gadgets the performers seemed disinterested in their own performance as they ate slices of pizza, smoked a joint (which they shared, the only highlight), and turned a few knobs. Over-all a yawn fest and the lack of anyone paying attention to them was evidence of that... but don't worry, it gets better.

The second performer was some kind of noisy DJ named "Ashela" (I think???) and his set was outstanding. He spun records on two turn tables and used the effects on his mixer and a chaos pad combined with his more tradition DJ skills to create a barrage of interesting sounds and a few beats here and there. What was interesting (annoying) about this set was that for some reason Bubblegum Shitface never got off the stage and was doing some sort of impromptu "jam" with him during his set, which did not seem consented even though Ashela was nice about it (I would have told him to fuck off). Then the other two shit-faces' joined on stage for their little bonus performance. The hilarious thing was that I believe these three guys were too stoned to realize that nothing they were doing with all there little gadgets was effecting the sounds the audience was hearing WHAT-SO-EVER and yet somehow they were noticeably taking ownership over what Ashela was producing by himself, as if they were helping and it was some great spontaneous moment. I personally thought it was silly and a little disrespectful... They had their turn and failed. Ashela did a great job and deserves 100% of the credit for that.

Then "Aunt's Analog" was on and that's when the show really started. Since I have lived in Austin I have been waiting patiently (not really patiently) to see a true noise act that could come anywhere near the type of stuff that's been going on in Richmond, VA in the last few years. This guy was the first contender. His setup was pretty basic for a noise act, analog tape player, a few effects pedals, a chaos pad and a contact mic for vocals and feedback... but his execution sucked me right in and spit me back out. It was intense, harsh, weird and energetic and you could tell he actually liked what he was doing and so did the audience. I finally got the fix I've been itching for since I moved here in October. You can check out Aunt's Analog
on Myspace but I feel like the recordings on there do not do the live performance justice, so go see this guy!

And finally, the money shot... "PETER PANIC". I believe this was only the fourth time they had played live and these rowdy mother fuckers blew me away! First, I was handed a pair of those cardboard framed glasses that look like 3-D glasses but they make all the lights look like rainbow prism star-bursts... pretty trippy dood. Then they started setting up their elaborate video projection where they put a contact mic on the kick drum, ran it to a MIDI controller and into a laptop where the guy doing the projections had written a program (earlier that day) so the video would change every time the mic was triggered. Once they were all setup a half naked man in psychedelic war paint started blowing huge fireballs into the air which looked amazing through the special glasses. Then they started their sloppy, spazzy, beautiful set. There was a drummer, two guitar players and a forth guy that I did not understand, who just sort of walked around and bumped into people. I thought it would have been a lot tighter as a three piece, but maybe I was just upset that the random forth guy stole my magic classes. Dick. I was also really excited to see their projections but that Bubblegum Shitface guy again invited himself into the spot light, picked up their projector and moved it around for their entire set after they had it all setup. Crave attention much Mr. Shitface? The set ended with one of the guitar players on the other ones shoulders while they continued making racket, then a wrestling match, then one of the guitar players dumping the other one into the trash can. I had an ear to ear grin the entire time. Peter Panic is probably my new favorite local band. They don't have a web site that I can find, but a lot of their members and friends are involved in EYEPLUG // HUNTING MAGIC, a really cool video-artist collective that I am becoming friends with. The drummer of the band, Chris Reed, put out an incredible DVD called "Head Cleaner" featuring clips of video art and experimental animation, original video clips, a collage of thrift store vhs tapes and other cool shit that you can buy from their myspace page. Head Cleaner is MOST DEFINATELY worth checking out!

Here are some clips/video samples:

So, over all I am really glad I went out last night and checked this show out... I would like to see a lot less layed back country fried indie bands, and a lot more stuff like Aunt's Analog and Peter Panic here in Austin... I'm still looking.

MAKE Austin Weird!



  1. Wow, I had a totally different experience... everyone was glowing and hi-fiving at how awesome the noise+house mixmashup worked so well. great concept for a show, kudos to polly booked a good lineup!

    next time we need to have uniforms for house/noise teams, so people won't get confused when someone turns coats like bubblegum did when jesus bass/(dj ashela?) asked him to keep playing during his set. This might have been the awesome move of the game, resulting in the most f*kd up glitched out housey noise beats that had people dancing in the rain...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hey! Spork here. I am glad you enjoyed the show. I did want to make some corrections on the lineup: ASKELA played first and twice to fill up some time, xathax couldnt make it for some reason or another (mentioned the location not being safe?) and Jesus Bass was the house DJ slated to play outside inbetween noise sets. When I mentioned that Bubblegum Shitface (second to play) might be interested in an actual battle (Noise vs House being the real theme here) They both went to town, and as I like to call it had "musical sex." I am really happy that there was such a diversity on the noise stage. I agree that noise probably did come out the winner, but in all honesty I think a rematch is in order due to thye inclement weather and the potential for a serious competition.

  4. Mr. Shitface responds:
    Thank you for the detailed review.
    I remember handing you the spliff, sorry to pass nicotine off to you but it was loud and what with the price of good kind going through the roof these days, we just have to strech.
    Details: Xanthax was a no show,
    Ashela was Dylan-He played first, fully represented the solo harsh noise set (I'm from the Midwest, where this sub-genre of Noise has produced some of it's most beautiful flowers ( Ghost Ice, Aron Quinn, Andy Ortman, John Wiess, Lemp Arts Center, Disthroned Agony ) so I was happy to see him represent for the noise team)
    DJ Jesus Bass spun outside, btw, he's a good sport and consented before hand.
    Oh whatever I was going to say some stuff about how actually you were spot on about my deep seated need for attention (which is the only reason I'm writing this), noticing deep shit that stems from my fucked up childhood which is true but I have a monkey on my back and he must be fed...... oh whatev er ok here's the link to some videos of the show.....

    bubblegum video #4 full on jam

    bubblegum video #3 i like this one a lot, bend matrix doing house music
    peter panic video #1 dude blows a couple fireballs about a minute in, very PRDF
    peter panic video #2 the video projector was pointed away from the band
    that annoyed me. I pointed the projector at the band, the reviewer thought it was lame but I had fun
    bubblegum video #2 is better, later on in the performance, which was more than an hour
    they clapped, it seemed forced we kept playing

    > here's bubblegum video #1
    also you can check out free .mp3 's from me, Rotten Milk, Cave, and lot's more noise (7 gigs of data) at

  5. This was a great post. I really like all the responses, too. Especially the response from "Mr Shitface". Thanks for all those links. Especially Really awesome stuff going on on that site. If anyone would like to post to our blog please email me at and I'll send you an invite.

  6. man, i bought a terry plumming cd back at apop (great rec store in STL) last year. i fucking loved it. it was on the rec of one of the cave guys who was in the store. in any case, thanks to everyone involved with the show; i enjoyed the whole thing. there should be a peter panic show at rancho relaxo this friday too so contact me if you want mo' info.