Whartscape 2009, Sunday night

Post Author: Nate Dorr

The final delirious gasps of Whartscape could perhaps be catalogued by types of light: Child Bride’s lamplit deer, Nautical Almanac’s light orbs and backlit sheets, that one guy (name lost to 3am insensibility) with the blinding, heavy-duty spotlights synced to his keytar-like board of electronics, and of course, the eerie glow of burning bird. Wait, what?

Yes, the Shams set deserves notice for pushing the closing night sensation of unreality to its furthest extent: chalked sigils on the floor, a dead bird burning at the center, pungent feather-smoke opening gaps in the crowd as it wafted towards them, eerie black polaroids whose subjects tried to hide from the flash (anticipating Jonathan Shams’ later claim that those photographed in that way no longer possessed souls). Basically demonology, or some kind of cult ritual. Eventually Dan Deacon confiscated the smoldering bird, for fairly obvious and reasonable reasons, certainly, and the set moved on into more expected Shams territory: pitch black dance music (sample lyric: “I want to cut your face / while I’m fucking you”) with icy beats, warped vocals, and, this time, sax skronk punctuation.

Just before that bizarre interlude: DJ Dogdick‘s most precisely warped hip-hop to date. It seems unlikely that weird, detuned sirens have ever fit so sleekly into a beat. Just after: resumption of danceparty with Teengirl Fantasy, and finally, an excellent chop-pop set by Smart Growth, whose Denny Bowen (also of the Dan Deacon Ensemble and Double Dagger), along with Greg Fox (Teeth Mountain, Liturgy, Dan Deacon Ensemble, GDFX) probably deserves some kind of medal for tireless multiple appearances.