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It was a night of masked musicians in the semi-tropical non-paradise of Gainesville. The show took place in a shitty, sweltering one-room shack that someone had the balls to name The Ark Warehouse, just off the main Gainesville drag, right next to a garlic crab shack and across from an all-night Circle K. I think the place used to be a chicken n' waffles joint, as there was still a big fiberglass poultry sculpture hanging from the rafters. The convenience store came in handy, because The Ark Warehouse does not sell beer, or anything for that matter, apart from ear plugs for only a dollar a pair. Gainesville in May is already a hot and humid, and the lack of air conditioning made this point even more clear. I bought a 40 oz and staked out my position as Yip-Yip took the stage.
Friday, May 13th @ The Ark Warehouse, Gainesville, Florida

Yip-Yip is a duo from Orlando, playing whacked-out, low-fidelity, idiot savant electronica on clunky Casio keyboards and pawn shop samplers. They were both dressed identically, with bodies and faces obscured by white gauze hoods and masks that made them resemble Jawas crossed with white lab rats. The spokesman for the group talked through a voice box that made him sound like an alien chipmunk cartoon. They were bathed in weird neon light. Halfway through their set of increasingly more Nintendo-esque trash-techno, Yip-Yip began to distribute stapled brown paper grab bags to everyone in the audience. Every bag contained different contents, most of them mysterious, funny or just plain odd. Mine contained random photographs of anonymous families, puzzle pieces, thumb tacks, crappy dollar-store candy, some court documents, an undeveloped Kodak picture disc, a pinup of P. Diddy, some "For External Use Only" stickers and a cassette single of Gerrardo's "Rico Suave." My friend's bag contained an Urkel trading card and a Barry White tape. I must say that I wasn't sold on Yip-Yip until they handed out the bags. It's a really great gimmick that hopefully will carry them a long way in an overpopulated indie scene.

Bug-Sized Mind also wore a mask, one lone artist dressed like a medieval samurai via Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time. He played some rather unremarkable squalls of cyclical, aggravating noise with a synthesizer and a laptop. Everyone was pretty relieved when his 30-minute set finally ended. He didn't hand out any bags. What an asshole.

Very soon after Bug-Sized Mind was through, Lightning Bolt set up their drum kit and amps in the back of the room, plugged in and unceremoniously began their set. This was my first time seeing the Bolt perform live (apart from the Salad and Milkshakes DVD), but it was very much as I expected. Overblown, overamped bass guitar, spinning wild stop-start speedjazzprogmetal, weaving and bobbing all around the carpet-bombing of lightning-quick and precise drumming. The crowd was whipped into a sweat-drenched mosh frenzy by these masked Mexican superheroes, with undulating waves of radiating B.O. repeatedly slapping me in the face, as well as the odd errant foot of a crowd surfer. Beer and sweat spray hit me at irregular intervals, as Lightning Bolt's outrageously loud pummeling increased in intensity and ferocity. Quite a bit of what seemed to be new material was played, though it could have just been improvised on the spot. One element that this new stuff seemed to have in common was a more spiky, rhythmic, post-punk dance feel, perhaps indicating a slightly new trajectory for this most unique of post-post-mathrock bands. Whatever you want to call it, it was fucking great stuff. Their set ended with killer versions of "Ride the Sky" and "Dracula Mountain," after which everyone ran outside to breathe the night air free and clear.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 13:13  


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