Saturday, May 03, 2008

Looptopia = Looptastic!

About a month ago, I helped my Animal Law band mate, Dylan Posa, pull together some of the performers for an in-store show at the downtown Reckless Records store, as part of the City of Chicago's dusk-till-dawn Looptopia festival. I thought that since I had so many shows scheduled around this time that I should sit it out. Things did not look at all promising while I was on the "L" heading towards downtown, as the thunderstorms from earlier in the day returned as another massive downpour. The weather cleared up quickly, however, and as The Green Pasture Happiness (Aaron Zarzutzki, Dan Fandino, Brian Labycz) began to blast out of the ample PA that was facing out onto Madison Street, I began to get a bit of volume envy. Safe to say, most of the people walking around downtown had never heard anything as harsh as that, before. Augment was up next, and hearing Jeff Halls' deep Moog tones booming out onto the street and echoing off of the buildings across from Reckless made things even worse for me. While TGPH definitely freaked out many passersby with their harsh tones, Jeff's dark and heavy analog synth tones actually started to build a crowd of curious onlookers, who watched him play that sci-fi looking beast through the window. Vertonen was up next and Blake brought back the harsh fury. Happy Looptopia participants started scattering more, and the looks on some people's faces were priceless. Horror and pain. It was pretty amazing to take it all in. Bruce Lamont was up next, and with only minimal arm twisting, from him, Jeff, and Blake, it was decided that I would add some microphone feedback towards the end of his set. Now of course, a guy playing a saxophone downtown is not such an unusual site, so a bigger crowd started to build up to see what Bruce was up to. As his set got weirder and heavier, with vocal loops and electric guitar, some audience members got a bit uncomfortable. When Bruce gave me the signal, I grabbed a microphone, turned up my channel, and headed out the door to work with the two hefty speakers. As my back was to the crowd at that point, I did not see what was going on, but safe to say, a lot of people scattered to the wind. If the ringing in my ears this morning is any indication, I can certainly see why. Probably more people saw/heard these sets then at almost any typical "noise" show in Chicago. That was that. Or not. After it was determined that the scheduled DJ never showed up, Bruce and Jeff set their gear back up and did a bonus set of sax, looped (and increasingly aggressive) vocals, and Moog --- to an even bigger crowd! Their sounds really blended well, and I for one hope that they play together again. Thanks to Bruce, for indulging me. Thanks to Dylan, for his willingness to set something like this up at Reckless and for bringing in such a killer PA!