At Host Clothing, Mitch Garza and Pete of Army vs. Navy played acoustic sets, which eventually turned into funk and R&B turntablism, followed by some highly intricate wrestling, which lasted until a PA was knocked over.
Over at the Pilot Light, as the folktronics and sundry freaky exposés of avant-garde sounds and images were on display, a man draped in white linen stood in front of a video projection of religious miscellany. He played the Theremin and chanted high-pitched, eunuch wails. His act dared you to take it seriously, if you could keep yourself from laughing. It was high art, and meaning blurred, if meaning even existed in the first place.
When Bryan Baker and Adam Ewing took the stage, everyone went silent. Only an eerie metronomic beat filled the room, created when Ewing shoved a drumstick into a fan. Baker’s bass guitar, bizarrely hooked up to an inflated balloon, groaned fanatically as the balloon deflated. And then Ewing, holding a recorder that was also powered by the air escaping from a balloon, conjured some banshee wails out of nothing. The instruments, strangely enough, seemed to be played by no one.
Next, as the guys of Fecal Japan prepped for the next set, they inflated a giant plastic bubble and stepped inside. The house lights were dimmed, three strobe light turned on inside the bubble, and powerful pulses of sound came, growing in intensity with each perfect rhythmic wave.
Fecal Japan , scrawled in chalk, appeared on the floor in front of the stage, courtesy of Plain My Super Records ’ Daniel McBride . Later, after minds were obliterated, McBride wrote, Holy Shit! Where’d our minds go? Somehow, when we weren’t looking, Knoxville got more interesting.
“Knoxville really has everything,” one concertgoer yelled into his buddy’s ear.
Fistful of Crows , reappearing after a long hiatus, showed us that they haven’t lost a step and that there’s always plenty of floor for experimentation.
But it was Woman , a relatively new quartet fronted by Chris Lowe (with drummer Jason Stark , guitarist Tyler Mucklow and bassist Damion Huntoon ), that stole the night. As soon as they opened with “Flood Plain,” a primal chant that feels more like a consummate rain dance than a rock song, we were enthralled, powered by strange juju. Lowe, shaking a pair of maracas, looked like a shaman, summoning us into collective mind trip, inviting us to leave our bodies, and just move into something a little more sweaty and beer-heavy. Gravity lost its grip. Sounds jacked directly onto the cerebral cortex, shrouding reality in a thick purple veil. We were dancing, even if we didn’t realize it.
Friday, Jan. 12: Quick—name two Knoxville staples that deserve more credit than they get. How ’bout Lonesome Coyotes and the Knoxville Museum of Art? Catch ’em both at 5:30 p.m. for Alive After Five.
Saturday, Jan. 13: College student and old-timey folk singer Elizabeth LaPrelle will make her way from Rural Retreat, Va., to the Laurel Theater tonight at 8 p.m. She’s the spirit of the Appalachians in song. Don’t miss this show.
Sunday, Jan. 14: Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight and The Rarest Black Market Monkeys are playing tonight at Sassy Ann’s. Bands with names that long either rock hard or suck hard. Survey says….
Monday, Jan. 15: You are nowhere if not at Preservation Pub tonight to see Brett Dennen . His peace-lovin’ social commentary is the perfect way to cap off MLK day.
Tuesday, Jan. 16: Gone, going/ Gone, everything/ Gone, don’t give a damn/ Gone be the birds, when they don’t wanna sing/ Gone people, all awkward with their things/ Gone.
Wednesday, Jan. 17: If Memphis is Tennessee’s house of blues, and Nashville is where country hangs its hat, then Knoxville is the home of rock. And we’ve got Copper to prove it. See ’em along with opener Down from Up tonight at Blue Cats before they all get famous and move away.