Friday, October 16, 2009

Recessionary Trashfest - Au Cointraire!

Every couple of years or so, TrashFest gets a little low key, and this was one of those years. Only the most hardcore of trashy TrashFest denizens made it out this year. "I guess with Obama being elected, we don't have a lot to complain about," mused Dan Mullen, who played bass with Mark Shurilla's Electric Assholes at the close of the night. Au Contraire, Mylz! That's why this year's Trashfest was so especially trashy! Haven't you heard, we're in the middle of a recession -- duh! --TrashFest is more relevant than ever, even if there were only about 20 non-playing or non-musicians piled into the smoky recesses of the Globe South (otherwise known as the basement of Liquor Sweets) to toast it.



Fly's Drumming Debut
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
Dynamic Improvisational Consortium (Dr Chow's Love Medicine disguised as a bunch of jam rock geeks, all playing instruments they don't normally play) started it off with some Steely Dan song that I didn't recognize (mostly because it sounded more like a Tom Waits song in both style and delivery). Then they played that old Fleetwood Mac song (back before Fleetwood Mac got all Californey on us with Stevie and all) "Oh Well" and perennial TrashFest dancer Primativa put forth one of her intrepretive modern movements. That bled into a chance for Dr Chow to step down while she gave it to us to a recorded Fleetwood Mac song, and to work out a deal with a couple of Kenocore bands.

Pistofficer
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
I need to explain, to non-Wisconsinites, or to non-white trashy folk, about Kenosha, Wisconsin. Remember the last big recession -- the late 70s/early 80s -- the "Roger and Me" recession? Remember when our part of the country got saddled with the nickname "The Rust Belt" because all our cities and factories just closed up shop leaving thousands job (and home) less? Then we all started beefing up our intellectual property, we re-tooled, we got ourselves some Starbuckses, and we all kind of bounced back. (Well, at least for a decade and a half). Well, um, Kenosha, Wisconsin kind of forgot to do this. They haven't hit the 2008-09 recession because they're still in the "Roger and Me" recession. Kenosha still has a crappy unemployment rate, they still have a reactionary police force, they still are governed by the three right-wing officials who haven't lost their house, and, well, Kenosha still sucks. Of course, all this breeds the one really great thing Kenosha has going for it: a drop-dead killer hardcore punk scene. Great hardcore punk doesn't come out of places where things are going great. And since things have been sucking in Kenosha for quite some time, the KenoCore scene has been brewing and growing for quite some time. This explains why I've written before about how great Pistofficer is, and how they're keeping KHCP (Kenosha Hard Core Punk)alive, But for many in the crowd tonight, this was their first exposure to the lively, tight anthemic stage show Frank and the boys put out. Frank starts off the set standing on his head, and they take it from there. Changing instruments, strutting all over the stage, understanding that getting crap thrown at you is a compliment at TrashFest -- people I talked to were overjoyed that this wasn't just a one-off TrashFest band, they're playing their regular set. TrashFest emcee Darrell Marten said afterwards that they can't hold a candle to the late, great king of Kenocore, Beautiful Bert, but I say "au contraire," Darrell! They've picked up that candle and turned it into a torch they carry well.


Nervous Virgins
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
It was during the Nervous Virgins set that the zit of this recession was finally popped. Eric Griswold and his crew played a standardly clever set (opening with an ode to a girlfriend who can pay the rent and bills), Eric's played enough of these gigs to know that anything can happen on the "dance floor" (what with all that trash strewn about) but one particular audience member really decided to take out her angst on some of the trash. Gripping anything she could find that was longer than it was wide, "Christine" whacked the living bejeezus out of a plastic christmas lawn ornament with such furor that the rest of us were all kind of worried that the band (oh, to hell with the band, what about us?) might get hit with some schrapnel. Really -- she started with a guitar, moved to an old mike stand, and with each whacking implement she would choke up on it between hits to make sure she got maximum power between the fulcrum that was her body and the target. This was indeed a time that the Nervous Virgins had every right to live up to their name.

Art Paul Schlosser
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
The only "artist" you could possibly put on stage after this was Madison's Art Paul Schlosser, who's kind of a cross between Wesley Willis and Jonathan Richman. He's gleefully oblivious to what just happened before his set, he's singing a song that goes "She's Really Pretty (But Her Boyfriend's Mean), and he's apparently gleefully oblivious to the recession as he valiantly tries to sell his merch. (Dear boy, he actually has CDs and T Shirts and artwork that nobody can afford to buy.) So while we're all wrapping our heads around this guy who isn't affected by the recession because he's ALWAYS been dirt fucking poor singing and playing his kazoo, "Christine" is taking a breather from beating the crap out of christmas ornaments, and Fly is wondering whether to give him more time, since two bands have yet to show up.



Do You Need New Eyes?
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
So Eat The Mystery performs the miraculous task of bringing us back toreality. Their schtick tonight is "Surgeons of Precision" and they offer the crowd their solution to "All Your Problems." Surgery! Anesthetized by god knows what in a pile of sinister looking liquor bottles, audience volunteers came up on stage to be operated on and receive anything from a new pair of eyes to a new asshole. I think Angie's been on a nursing kick in general, lately -- that's been her costume for a few ETM shows now. And who wouldn't let Paul Setser improve upon them? All I could think of the whole time was some old biblical quote about how if your eyes are your problem, plucking them out. Ouch.

And finally, even though it was kind of early (Midnight is kind of early for TrashFest, but what can we say? We're old, and this is the recession, even TrashFest has to scale back) the Electric Assholes, perennial TrashFest closers, hit the stage. No Mr Shiny Pants this year, instead Bob Jorin was playing bass, which meant they had to find a drummer. No shortage of drummers in this crowd. Andy Pagel joined the band for a few tunes, including a really painful "Cold Turkey" and then Rob McCuen took the sticks just in time to cover the Who (which is normally Andy's turf), and then a really sorry ass version of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll." Miles, who figured it out just in time, seems to have trimmed that atrocious beard of his for the occasion. (Yes, friends, he's my friend and I -- and all of his friends -- tell him to his face just how uncomplimentary to his chisled features that awful face hair is.)

We went home before 1 am (God, we're getting old). And so ends another TrashFest.

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