Sunday, July 8, 2007

How I Got Bored

Saturday started late, but well. Around 3.30 pm, I rolled into DUMBO for the Boredoms performance/spectacle/extravaganza, only to find a line snaking six or eight city blocks - certainly more than I expected to turn out for the more avant end of the indie rock spectrum. Needless to say, the queue of big-haired Japanese rockers, tattooed-indie chicks, and aging, bicycle and dark-rimmed glasses hipsters made for quite a scene. My favorites were easily the getting older, frazzled, and somewhat whiny ex-hipster mother who asked to cut us in line, after we waited for two hours, but whose precious children, probably four and six, one clutching a Harry Potter hardback to his chest, refused to cut until we gave them explicit permission and promised no hard feelings.

As it was, thank god to NG for showing up early and fixing me a place in the queue.

The show itself was good - transcendent in the enormity of its conception (77 drum kits laid out in a spiral, and 77 drummers playing in orchestration), all under the backdrop of Empire Ferry state park, between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges at sunset. The 77 minute performance was about what I expected - intensely, even tribally rhytmic, awash in the Boredoms' hallmark pitch-shifting waves of sound, and loud. Some people have been lavish in their praise. I'll rank the performance as the sort of thing they should do in Brooklyn every Saturday at sunset, as it was both rocking and beautiful, but not so profound as to make you change the way you live your life - other than going to Dumbo every Saturday at sunset.

I did wish that they were able to add a few dimensions given the uniqueness of their set-up - specifically, that (at least sitting ten yards from the edge of the spiral), the physical dynamism of the arrangement was not compelling until the last movement of the act, and also, that while the "one drum" aspect of seventy seven drummers playing in unison was overwhelming in some respects, adding elements of rhythmic interplay - frankly, a backbeat and some funk, would have gotten the hipsters off their asses. But small complaints of an otherwise very cool performance.

If you're unfamiliar with the Boredoms, a quick perusal of the crazy metaphysics underlying the performance is worth your time. Also, Pitchfork has some photos and videos worth checking out, if you are interested. Photos above from Flickr user TomVu.

No comments: