MIAMI, FL: Feathers, flurries and fury, as the world of noise coagulates in a Florida pub
The owner of Churchill’s Pub, Dave Daniels, lives in a small house that stands in the outside portion of the establishment. You’ll see his stocky white-crowned frame drinking cider at the bar and watching a football match beamed in from one of the dozens of satellites hanging near his quarters. Originally from Stoke, England, Mr. Daniels has run Churchill’s for over 30 years here in Miami, something rare in a city of pop-ups and glittery ephemerality. And for the last ten years, he’s allowed Rat Bastard, the 55-year old noise musician of legend, to host the International Noise Conference, a 4-day-long melee of experimental music and sound by over 120 acts.
Rat, also known as Frank Falestra, has played with Thurston Moore and Robert Pollard and has led countless ensembles, including To Live and Shave in LA (named the Worst Band in America by Spin in 1993) and the Laundry Room Squelchers.
Rat, also known as Frank Falestra, has played with Thurston Moore and Robert Pollard and has led countless ensembles, including To Live and Shave in LA (named the Worst Band in America by Spin in 1993) and the Laundry Room Squelchers. His free-jazz guitar work and squalling orchestration is substantial sediment in the US noise rock foundation and I.N.C is his feral brainchild, unleashing a multi-genre shitstorm of sound and performance not only in Miami but also on tour in Australia, South Korea, and Europe. All of these concerts are free and adhere to the no-bullshit philosophy of Mr. Bastard. The performance rules include no droning and no laptops (“to keep things interesting”), though several have used their computers, iPads and iPhones the past few years. Bands, peddle-twiddlers, puppet troupes and the classically trained came together for the hygienically offensive and exhilarating festival that defies categorization and tests the attendee’s aural and metaphysical tolerance.
The 10th anniversary I.N.C showcased a scope of avant-gardist music, from aging pioneers and young innovators, who graced and defiled the stages dutifully through a range of methods. DJ Fucked Up (AKA Kenny Millions) – a notorious and acclaimed sexagenarian jazz musician – wailed hellishly on his saxophone and played his guitar with a blow-up doll bearing pornstar and noise musician in her own right Sasha Grey’s face. Dim Past, arguably Miami’s most promising live electronic act, forced bodies to writhe along to his deep, post-dub grooves, crystallizing the growing preponderance of electronic and dance music made by underground musicians. Holly Hunt, profiled here, shook the venue with their cacophonous sludge metal while Nicky, the Irish barkeep, revved his motorcycle on the floor and let out a noxious smoke, filling the place with a nearly unbearable fog. Pro Bro Gold and Toe Ring played raucous brands of technoise, while T-Func performed a stand-up routine of alienating insider jokes and audience insults while parading in pantyhose and getting willfully struck by full beers. Clang Quartet, Scotty Irving’s solo act inspired by his Christian faith, consists of Irving’s handmade objets de’art that produce industrial throbs and blaring clamor. The sculpted instruments include masks, depictions of the seven sins, and a cross that Irving bears at the pinnacle of his turbulent, ear-piercing passion play.
Some revelers consumed near-lethal amounts of ketamine and other unverifiable substances. Faces and orifices bled, other people hugged out their differences, and unspeakable acts were performed in the laundry room where Dave Daniels washes his unmentionables.
As it is every year, INC was a mess of malefactors, drug-induced prophets, creeps, poets not wanting to be touched, and some innocent bystanders. Some revelers consumed near-lethal amounts of ketamine and other unverifiable substances. Faces and orifices bled, other people hugged out their differences, and unspeakable acts were performed in the laundry room where Dave Daniels washes his unmentionables. After Diamond Hymen played her soulful take on experimental dance, her three scantily clad underlings ritually passed around and consumed hunks of animal meat. A vacuum cleaner was then used to expel thousands of feathers that choked the throat, clung to the hair, and followed you for days afterward.
The Laundry Room Squelchers, composed of a gang of hired guns deployed by Falestra and armed with mobile amps blasting various radio stations, closed out the second night of INC. The amps were indiscriminately thrown, as were tables and stools, while the audience threw their soiled bodies to the floor, reverent to the chaos. All the while Falestra – the eponymous Rat Bastard – stood behind the soundboard, relishing in his creation.