It was disgusting. My cigarettes melted into the back pocket of my pants. My matches sopped up fluid like a sponge. And I could feel rivulets of sweat flow between my buttcheeks on their way down to my socks. With eyes stinging and mood irritable, I pushed my way through the sea of hipster humanity with equal parts stomp and shove, and whenever I got a cock-eyed stare, I broadcast my death glare, the same glare you get from Satan before he sodomizes you with a baseball bat. Unfortunately, everyone brought that look tonight.
In an overcrowded DIY space in scenic Bushwick, Deerhunter, Awesome Color, and two bands I missed because I was pounding beers and getting chiefy, dove into this stew of human humidity and tore through manic, if rambling and incoherent sets. Me and mi amigo Carlo arrived just in time to have the doors shut behind us and the human body count ceased increasing. Silent Barn was fucking packed, one of those shows where you constantly feel on the verge of freaking out with claustrophobic paranoia. But there’s nowhere else to go, so you swallow your fear and your beer and hope the building doesn’t collapse. We slithered to the front as the crowd reluctantly split to allow Awesome Allison to the “stage” (read: carpet on the floor) with her drums in tow. After a seemingly endless tuning session with “Mr. Me Too” bouncing over the loudspeakers, Awesome Color announced that it would start with a new one, and off we went.
For being here only three months, I’ve seen Awesome Color five times, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident. This occasion falls in the “by accident” category. As it delved into the stoner solos and rumbling drums of this new number, the crowd spilled into the Color’s personal space, and lead singer dude didn’t mind a bit. By the end of it’s set, Awesome Color had played four songs for over 30 minutes, and not one of them recognizable as anything but a drawn-out jam. Sure, the élan was there, but once again they brought this extra (annoying) dude up to sing while the crowd hoisted the guitarist and itself atop its collective hands. But I can’t complain- some girl rubbed her huge tits on my back and handed me a pounder as her fat ass stampeded passed me. I still feel I got the better end of the deal.
After a quick reprieve in the refreshingly cool basement, we wandered back up to find out why Deerhunter, five young upstarts from the ATL, kept sucking up hype like a media vacuum. The lead dude is Holocaust skinny, but I think I read somewhere that he has some genetic bone/skin/face disease that renders him this way. Cool. I can dig that. Carlo fought for a spot on a table behind the band and we lorded above our indie subjects like King Bungholes of Asshole Mountain. Not a bad spot to nab, I tells ya.
Having only heard its songs from MySpace, I thought Deerhunter’s live set would be much more ethereal. Instead, it attacked its shoe-gazer-esque tunes with punk abandon awash in noisy abrasion. Our skinny leader spent much of the set perched above the drums standing on something or someone as the band stood in a semi-circle around him in a vain attempt of transforming into some sort of retaining wall. No dice. The crowd flopped into the Deerhunter compound as each member reveled in his instrument and the attention. And the group didn’t let up. Running through a solid 30 to 45 minute set (give or take; the heat first attacks one’s sense of time before it even sucks saltwater from each and every pore on your body), both band and fan released whatever frustration plagued them as each had suffered in this semi-sauna. The arguments about Deerhunter’s originality, whether it loots or loves its inspirations, evaporated into the air as the set steadily increased in lunacy and energy. The band strolled within inches of an apex, ended the set, and swam through the crowd to the fresh air outside, never again to return to the stage. That’s it. Over. Thud.
In the end, I was glad I spent $8 to be uncomfortable and hit on girls that were (and still are) way out of my league. Maybe the show lacked some final, indescribable ingredient that I was subconsciously hoping for. I don’t know. I’d rather be introduced to Deerhunter this way than picking up the album (which I didn’t). But the moment I knew everything would be ok, for me, the bands, and the masses, was when the same fat chick that so graciously handed me a beer caught me in her gaze from the front of the crowd and gave an excited, sloppy wave, raging and rocking all the while. If her fat ass could reach the action on the front lines, crushing one pucker-lipped hipster at a time on her way, then we all can. Fucking life affirming.