Spanking the Noise Beast

Fishhead!
Fishhead!

Most common question about noise:

“What’s that?”

I found this page about noise rock on Wikipedia, but I don’t know if it’s really complete or, actually, accurate. If anyone has a better source for a definition, feel free to add it as a comment. Better just to check out some performers.

Five guys and me hit the road Friday, Denver and bust, both vehicles stacked to the roof with gear and people squashed between amps. We’re a segment of Albuquerque’s cobra//group . The drive up was long. I kind of hate road trips. This is unnerving, because everyone I respect seems to really dig them, saying they get some kind of nice zen thing out of it.

We played the Rhinoceropolis in Denver’s industrial sector. The only hint that a venue’s there among the clutch repair shops and garages is a tiny spray-painted stencil of the name on the door.

The front is the performance space, walls covered in sketches and art, one devoted to mutated porn. In the back are living quarters, couches, kitchen, walls still covered in art, cool junk dispersed throughout. One c//g member said the whole converted garage felt like someone’s messy bedroom.

Maybe that’s why Rhinoceropolis won Best Underground Mixed-Use Venue in the Westword, Denver’s weekly.

First up at the show, Princess Army Wedding Combat, a guy with a record player and a bunch of effects pedals. His set was eardrum-destroying loud, but that’s the way of these things. It’s surprising how well stuffing toilet paper in your ears works to stave off the assault. Next, Spellcaster took a drill to a bass and a beer can, but not before rolling a bunch of unopened Pabst across the floor. Way to make friends. His show was short and sweet.

cobra//group happily did its thing, followed by two psych rock acts, Prostitute (who formed nine days before the show) and Clipd Beaks. I highly recommend the Beaks’ disc. Prosty and the Beaks rocked a showdown, alternating songs from opposite ends of the room. That’s a great format for live music, because even if you love a band, it wears you down after a few songs.

Saturday we played Ft. Collins in the basement of a bike co-op/house. There was something like seven sets, so I’ll just tell you about my two favorites. Nova-sak started his performance blind, a black trash bag pulled over his head, fingers feeling around the millions of knobs on his folding table. Halfway through, he rips open the bag to reveal a giant fish head. Page 21 (I stupidly can’t find their site for the life of me. Help!) used clips of an overly dramatic newscast about a killer to awesome effect.

But the question in my mind this weekend:

Where are all the women of noise, or “noise babes” as one might have it? These shows were pretty sausage heavy, real dude parties. Sexism lives, no matter how far into the alternative underground you go.

Thankfully, c//g founder Raven Chacon’s sent me a quick list of female noise performers. Here’s some links, if you’re interested:

Cant, from Boston

16 Bitch Pileup, from L.A.

Gowns, from somewhere in California