an awesome show that you missed

February 18th, 2009 · 7 Comments · By

OK Charlottesville, what the fuck?  Seriously, you missed a rad show last night. Three fascinating and worthwhile acts threw down a serious aesthetic gauntlet and there were only like, 20 people there. I mean, I had a great time and all, but y’all need to quit snoring on this.

Diamond Black Hearted Boy was absolutely nothing like my cursory Myspace investigation might have indicated. He was on some serious low-fi art-damaged retro-apocalyptic post-Nintendo glam Afro-Futurist rock star business.  He had the MJ jacket and the Prince dance moves and the hi-top fade, and he played what sounded like a 20-minute warmup to a dance party that failed to materialize (either musically or literally).  It was Afrika Bambataa multiplied by the weirder ends of the Digital Hardcore spectrum, but minus anything that anyone might actually dance to.  It was a funk show without any funk, a noise show without any aggression (although he did get Parisi in a headlock at one point), and a bizzare basement-grown performance art project from a person who is clearly working with an entirely personal and unique set of cultural signifiers.  I won’t say everyone would have loved it, but I will say that everyone should have seen it.

Then Brian Narwhalz did his whole schtick, i.e. thrashing about to charmingly stupid high-end freeform chiptune screeping bloopage while frequently unplugging his own microphone and firing lasers of sarcasm out of his ass. You might think he’s merely on some immaturity tip, but that dude is nothing if not an Entertainer. His short, exciting set ended with Brian curled up into a ball on the floor, berating Charlottesville for failing to bring the frat party he had imagined. (He called us “the Wyoming of Virginia”).  Both those dudes should totally play here more often. I’m trying to get ’em some shows.

Oh, and Mahjongg were totally ridiculous and amazing and sick.  It was sublime, catchy, forward-thinking dance music for people who like energetic art-rock. They had three suitcase rigs (possibly containing laptops), four keyboards, a drumkit, several other synthpad setups, and one bass guitar, plus they all sang and chanted through vocoders etc. My first thought was: “this sounds like big-A little-a playing chicago house music,” but as they continued it became apparent that they also had a whole 23-Skidoo / Cabaret Voltaire thing going on. Except more catchy and better to dance to. It was pretty much impossible to tell where any sound was coming from at any time (one guy told me later that his rig was basically modulating all the other ones, Faust-/ This Heat-style) but it was the complete opposite of the boring-DJ-presses-play paradigm; it was music that was super-high-energy, very live, very fun and stimulating and rad. If only we’d had enough critical mass of audience members to start dancing, it would have been one of the best shows of the year.

At one point Danny said to me, “There are at least 200 people in town who would have loved this show.” I totally agreed, although I believe my drunken response at the moment was, “this is the gayest show I’ve seen all year!” (that’s an endorsement). But despite the low turnout, I’m pretty sure everybody had a good time.  I don’t think the musicians were too disappointed, especially since we hung out and got them drunk immediately afterwards. Nonetheless, I felt embarrassed on Charlottesville’s behalf… next time these guys roll through town, don’t sleep on it.

Tags: feature

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Andyz // Feb 18, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    I tired to get my c-ville homedawgz on this show but sadly i’m not sure if any of them made it out for the show
    I was sadly stuck in richmond doing exam work / If it wasn’t for that shit I so would of been their

  • 2 Sho // Feb 19, 2009 at 10:57 am

    See, this is why I am kinda pissed off about the amount of information provided about events going on in Charlottesville. Very few blogs, sites, or papers cover half the events going on in town until the day of… the other half… Who knows besides the close friends of those people hosting. It is maddening that I keep hearing about events AFTER or right before they take place.

  • 3 Sho // Feb 19, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Submitted too soon. Although in terms of music I have figured out how to find what I need, just takes a lot of effort and nailgun helped a lot. Just very hard to find stuff not regurgitated by cville or the hook.

  • 4 James // Feb 19, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I’ve received more than a few complaints about the last-minute nature of Nailgun posts recently, and here’s my response:

    1) I’m reluctant to write about things TOO far in advance, because I always want the thing at the top of the page to be the thing that’s coming up next — it would be a shame if someone looked at the front page right now and missed the fact that the Ayler / Hand / BelRio thing was happening tonight, because I wrote about it three weeks ago and the top article was about something happening next month.

    2) I write for and update Nailgun in my spare time, unpaid, outside of my regular job(s) and many other time-consuming obligations, so I often don’t have the time to write about something until the afternoon beforehand (or sometimes not at all). Plus I work nights (and attend shows when I’m not working), so early-AM posts are pretty unlikely.

    3) dudes, just look at that calendar thing over on the right. I update it 4x a week AT LEAST, with literally as many links and posters as I can find, so if you want to know about what’s coming up, take some time to investigate that calendar. I guess apparently people can’t see the calendar if they just get the RSS feed, but like, dude I don’t even really know what an RSS feed IS. I just write this shit.

    Plus, I used to write the weekly Bridge mailing list, and I now co-run the Rock Calendar on WTJU, I hang up posters in my Theater (and often design them msyelf, at cost or cheaper) and I always tell my friends about concerts when I see them. So in short: yes, I do understand that it’s frustrating to find out about shows after they’ve already happened, but I’m literally doing everything I can to get the word out about events in a timely fashion, both here and elsewhere.

    Not trying to snap at you specifically, I’m just trying to clarify things in response to some complaints I’ve been getting. Your continued patronage is appreciated.

  • 5 Invisible Hand // Feb 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I’m sure Mahjongg was really good and I am disappointed that I had to work that night. However, I do not think I can forgive ’em for sleeping naked in my bed. Bad rocker etiquette.

  • 6 DIAMOND BLACK HEARTED BOYQ // Feb 26, 2009 at 12:49 am

    : )

  • 7 DIAMOND BLACK HEARTED BOY // Feb 26, 2009 at 12:59 am

    so well written