Sunday, June 3, 2007

Blectum From Blechdom - Detrecht Warping

Blectum From Blechdom - "Detrecht Warping"

The second to the last show I ever saw at the Fireside Bowl was in August of 2001 during the annual Ladyfest gathering. Until the formation of the Pitchfork/Intonation festivals, Looptopia, and the return of Lollapalooza just a few years ago, Chicago's idea of a "festival" (aside from city-sponsored events like the Jazz and Blues festivals) was holding various week-long concert series, all on different nights and in different locations, maybe with some kind of overarching theme that would supposedly bring people out night after night. Of course, this necessitated paying the same admission fees night after night, not to mention bus/train fare or parking fees. This was a nightmare for anyone in the suburbs, and I have no idea how I actually made it out for three nights during Noise Pop earlier that year. It's a wonder that it took so long for people to realize that this model just wasn't working for anyone.

Ladyfest wasn't even a "music festival" like Noise Pop aspired to be (and successfully became, in other cities). It was more of a week-long conference, with various readings, demonstrations, and performances scattered throughout Chicago. Bringing all of these activities together in one place was apparently deemed radically inconceivable or undesirable by organizers, so the concerts were booked in different locations on different nights. Workshops were largely closed to guys, shows open to all regardless of sex chromosomes. These mostly ranged from riot grrrl to post-riot grrrl bands, but somehow Blectum From Blechdom managed to get a headlining spot without having any guitars to speak of.

By the end of the night, half of the original crowd had left, satisfied after seeing The Slumber Party and some other band featuring ex-members of Sarge, so getting a spot close to the stage (if you could really call the slightly-raised platform at Fireside Bowl a stage) was easy. Kevin and Blevin appeared and took their place in front of a folding table full of keyboards, samplers, and lots of other things I don't understand, and then proceeded to perform most of their set with their backs turned to the audience. This would have reeked of insulting pretention if they both weren't wearing red bodysuits, connected together at the hip, keeping them conjoined for the entire set. They turned to the audience for "Boob-A-Q" ("There's a boob-a-q in here, my tits are on fire!") and their cover of "Private Dancer," and I was actually able to talk to them for about 30 seconds after the show, which I've never done with a band before or since. I wish I remembered more from the set, but most of my memories from that night were of missing my train home and then having to call friends I hadn't spoken to in months to try to find someplace to stay for the night.

I know that's not exactly a compelling story, and probably sounds like a normal night out for most of you who actually live in Chicago. But I could only brave a few trips into the city on my own each year, and it would have to be for a good reason. This was good enough for me. I'd been into Blectum From Blechdom, and all of Tigerbeat6, for that matter, for most of my junior year and was incredibly psyched to see one of their signature acts playing at a venue that I was somewhat familiar with. I don't even remember how I got into the label, but it was probably the first time that I felt I was discovering something important all on my own, as it was actually happening. The Messy Jesse Fiesta had been freaking out my suitemates for all of the spring semester, which alone made it worth the cost of mailorder. A few years later I'd burn a copy of it, along with The Re-Releases Of The Un-Releases by Chicks on Speed, for a coworker who loved John Waters movies and trashy electropop. He found both incredibly disturbing and a little too wierd.

"Detrecht Warping" is the closest to a "normal" track as there is on The Messy Jesse Fiesta. This really isn't saying much, though.

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