Dear Dudefest Forum,
A friend of mine asked if I wanted to go to a concert the other night. She didn't say who was playing, because she didn't know any of the artists performing. All she knew was that there was a show that night. The venue was The Silent Barn in Brooklyn. If you don't know where that place is, you will walk right past it over and over in the dark before you find the door. There's no sign, just a handwritten sheet of paper with the order of bands that night. Even if there had been a proper sign, you won't have heard of the artists unless you are their friend.
We got there around 9:30 and about 10 minutes later, the first artist began to perform. She wore a knee length jacket that looked like Buffalo Bill had gone on a date with Big Bird. She started off by setting up a shrouded music apparatus that started making industrial beat noises. The shroud looked like it was covered in pieces of casserole tin. At first I thought it was just a decoration, until Big Bird started running a violin bow along the edges, producing a sound that can only be described as painful. While she was doing that, she started choking herself with her other hand and screaming. This continued for several minutes. I won't go so far as to say I enjoyed this. But, I was super intrigued about what would happen next. I was not disappointed. She stopped everything very suddenly and started playing a clarinet that was electronically lowered to a pitch that sounded like a dubstep song's fart. When she finished up, I couldn't wait to see who was up next, because in theory they would be better than the opening opening act.
During Big Bird's set, there were three people in the room other than my friend and I. One was the sound guy, another was the next act. This dude brought a lot of friends with him. When he started, there were suddenly 20 people in the room. They had all been chain smoking cheap cigarettes outside or something. His music sounded like a spaceship during an alien invasion. He had all kinds of explosion-y drum machine noises and a weirdly entrancing beat. I actually liked this guy. That thought made me feel weird. The cherry on top of this industrial-rape-nightmare sundae were the vocals. He was screaming—and I mean screaming—an endless barrage of obscenities at the audience. And they were fucking loving it.
Despite all the anger in his performance, when he was finished the dude was all smiles. He even said what's up to me. That was a surprise because during the literally one quiet moment of his set, I was in the process of telling a joke to my friend that culminated in me screaming "Fuck You Man!" Everyone heard. I guarantee you at least one person thought that was part of the show.
There was a pretty long wait for the next performer. I was still pretty revved up from the last performer and was hoping that the trend of the stuff getting better and weirder would continue. One of those conditions were met. And it wasn't "better." What the headliner lacked in quality, he made up for in sheer ballsiness. This was one of the most dudefest performances I've ever seen. We're standing around waiting for the next hip young looking guy to come on stage. That guy never appeared. What we got instead was an elderly Asian man. He sort of wandered around the stage for a while before going over to a table and picking up an alto saxophone.
That got me really psyched because I play the saxophone too. And for some stupid reason, I thought he was going to play the sax conventionally. That was really, really stupid. Right off the bat, he turns on a simple drum machine beat. It was a little ominous, but nothing compared to the last guy. Then he put the sax in his mouth and started to blow. Instead of playing a melody, the elderly Asian man started squeaking as loud and shrilly as he possibly could. He didn't even attempt to change notes. Or even play notes. He just kept on playing the same note over and over again for like twenty minutes. There was no rhyme or reason to what he was doing, but every once in a while, he would change up his cadence and move to a different part of the stage. I have to imagine that was on purpose. It was at that moment I realized I was watching dudefest history. He had actually thought this all the way through and was proud of it and stuff. Not everyone in the crowd was enjoying it. But some of them were, including the bartender. I went over to order a beer and while I was waiting asked if she knew that this was what he was going to do. AND SHE DID. She even went so far as to say she was a fan of his and that lots of people in the art community dug his stuff. I have no idea how that is possible. His whole shtick is that he squeaks high C#'s at the audience for as long as possible.
The highlight of the night was when I saw a girl bedecked in hipster attire dancing furiously along to the "music" with her fingers stuffed in her ears. She was REFUSING to not enjoy this man who was trying to burst our ear drums. When he was done, a sigh of relief went through the whole crowd. But he was not finished yet. He had played the hits, now it was time for some deep cuts. He did the same thing for another half an hour. I paid $7 to see this. He made sure we were getting our money's worth. In some ways, I wish he hadn't. I only stayed through the end because I was sure there was a big finish coming. I really hoped he was going to play the brown note. Instead he unceremoniously stopped and abruptly walked off the stage. I'm like 80% sure he got some from a groupie that night. More power to him if he did.
Smigoversen reads the words and drinks the beers. He twitters here.