Official club business called Dave, Ellen, and me to the Destroy Compound in Detroit last weekend to check out AM900 Fest. "Noise" was the word, and we conquered the scene with open ears and minds (discreetly embellished with neon-colored earplugs.) Check out the list of bands at http://americantapes.tumblr.com/post/4084595494/new-at-release-to-support-am-900-fest. We sauntered in about half-way through the all day festival and got a taste of what the locals in Detroit are up to. We missed Wolf Eyes (regretfully), but were rocked out by the rest of the noise makers.
Our Reverend Secretary wanted a perspective on the experience from someone without very much exposure to "noise." Although we all bring the "Popular" to the PMC, I am not totally fresh on what's considered noise these days. Am I the only one that can't keep up on all the new labels for music genres? Screemo, Acid, Protopunk, Mathcore.... Call yourself what you will, just make sure to bring it. And these guys and gals did, for sure. Mostly everything was plugged in, warped, or mixed (with the exception of the girlies on the clarinet and drums), if not simply amped up for sheer volume. Many altered (or just straight-up busted) instruments and progressive vocal styles added a specific character to each band. That spooky improv-jazzy band (what's their name?) impressed me the most. But I really liked the one-girl show on the bass, too (maybe more for the aesthetic of it all.)
Most impressive, however, was the Destroy Compound itself. The AM900 had just as much to do with the environment as it did the noise--a total experience. Partially metal shop, residence, and trash-art garden, Destroy Compound is a functional work of art bringing together the progressive and surviving population of Detroit. Most of the materials to renovate and stylize the space were taken from the scrapyard across the street and manipulated by the owner and few residents. The environment complemented (if not, at times, supported) the noise artists. The night ended with a battle of homemade noise-robots--the Alien and the Robosaurus--and pyrotechnics. Rad. "Go there sometime," says the President.