On February 6th my band and I played a show at my friend Logan's house. Mike Shine was out of town for the weekend so Zach, Pat, and I trashed as an instrumental group for the night. Logan has a big empty basement that has been converted into a bomb shelter-like venue that allows curious ears to trudge through the tide of snow that appears in one large falling, recedes and melts away, then cycles back to another onslaught. Those ears track water on the basement floor from the shoes that carry them up to the wooden stage built at the far end. The spray painted wall depicting outer space and a gigantic space monkey are illuminated by blue and green lights on the ceiling. Christmas lights lace around the stage corners. Build Us Fiction was in zero gravity on February 6th.
We played there once before with a couple of jam bands. The first set belonged to us and the crowd had not built up yet nor did we fit perfectly well with the jam bands. But this night, it was post rock night and that is our haven. EPIC.
The first act was a single person playing loops and samples. It was really mellow and a great way to open the show and get everyone's earbuds hungerin' for big guitars, bass, and drums. I had previously recorded dialogue from Donnie Darko and edited it together to make a creepy 4 minute clip. We turned off all the lights in The Spacement and began the clip. "I've been seeing stuff... like really messed up stuff," confessed Donnie and Frank the Bunny immediately replied with "Wake up," in his spine shivering voice. The drums and bass began their thumping forewarning of war, apocalypse, whatever else may come. As the pulsation of drums and bass carried onward, Donnie and his therapist discussed what would happen if the sky were to open up and bring the conclusion of the world. The thumping continued and Donnie asked Frank, "When is this going to stop?" in a childish voice.
"You should already know that."
I enter with bowed guitar and the sonic atmosphere truly is in outer space. The three of us slowly grow more aggressive. The drums become more sporadic and intense. The bass moves from its gradual thumping to the pounding melody of the entire song. My drones spin out of control, collecting anything in its path with an encompassing swirl of sound. The hairs on my bow split and lash out like tentacles. We went wild and ferocious and then calmed down, watching our storm blow away and the next one rearing in the distance.
The crowd made more noise and applause than I am used to. It was a warm feeling.
In came the ominous bowed guitar to begin "Sleep Is Gone." It's slow and wavering like the next storm holding back to build the fear of what might come. The rains came without an ounce of mercy so even the rocks and stones were waterlogged. The drums set the rhythm for a march towards war with our blood stained swords dangling next to our hips above mud that hasn't seen grass in years. The bass keeps the pace of our heartbeats that haven't known rest in a very long time. Bowed guitar circles around the entire scene, trapping the field in a vortex we can't escape. This is a song about war in your head. Conflict has torn you apart and resolution hasn't come. You can't find peace so sleep is gone.
I finally get to smile during the next song. "Waking Into the Sky," is my moment of realization. In this song I am content with the sorrow because it makes the happy times fill with so much importance. For the first time I leave my bow and wall of effects that I use to escape into another dimension. I strip it down and let it go exposed. People can now hear my mistakes, but it feels good and even when the song is bare of its usual otherworldly effects I like to build up to something bigger than realities we occupy.
Our fourth and last song of the night was a new one called, "Figment of my Imagination." It is made up of three movements and no repeating verses or choruses. In the first movement we groove. Imagine that, a post rock band grooving. But this song embodies a fascination of mine. I find wonder in the polar opposites of the scale. Really intense things and extremely delicate moments are spectacular to me. The middle ground is unbearably boring. My obsession with Sigur Rós is perfect proof of this statement. The only feeling I can muster while listening to Incubus is nostalgia. I listened to them everyday for six years and now it's like looking at old memories in a photo album. They fall into the middle ground while Sigur Rós is stampeding on the intense terrain and tip toeing through the tall grass. That is the core of this song. The ending is by far our most intense finale and I was in another galaxy while playing it. The applause at the end woke me up from my dream. I fucking love that alarm clock.