Sunday, November 21, 2010

Exhibition/Screening Review #1: Extreme Animals


The Extreme Animals, a band, that in their own words, stand up when they  play but this night are going to be sitting down as this will be the unplugged version with plugs. David and Jacob preformed at the Joe Crawley Student Union theater and presented three songs, a bit of stand up and a few unexpected readings of poems. They are out of North Carolina and have been together since 9th grade, having worked in several bands up to this point. They brought along a few props to the stage: a Tazz stuffed animal to work sound, a green hand, a blow up beach ball of the earth and a human skull for the dark thoughts of death, of course. As for the set up of the stage and their dress it was indicative of the rest of their performance – eclectic, bizarre and a bit maddening.
The hour and a half show consisted of 3 songs and a guitar solo of Fortress of Amplitude. The first of these was introduced by informing the audience of what '2010' stood for. They did this by a presentation of YouTube videos of various music artists  including Millie Cyrus's younger sister in the Noie & Ems Show. This was basically a tongue-n-cheek talk to show what 'tweens' were doing today, making videos about absolutely nothing of their everyday and having fun with it. Eminem and Lady Gaga were also brought into the picture with the description of 'Marsic' and how they have both found a new revelation in bringing High Art into music videos. The feelings and thoughts of  confusion 'Where am I, which version of me is doing this, how did I get here, is something they showed to be common in the thoughts behind what '2010' meant.

This idea of confusion continued through the rest of the performance. The videos and music associated with it were loud, fast, intense and extremely over stimulating and to me a representation of the world today full of so much choice and  information, that everything and everyone is on overload. The images were usually rough and as if hurriedly pasted, almost as if without thought or care, or to get them in and down as quickly as possible before moving onto the next set of thoughts coming in. Images repeated endlessly along with sounds that beat out the same tune through the entirety. The sounds and rhythm at times elicited emotions of stress, excitement and in one case sadness as the video to me spoke of a need or want to be something different and something more, the fear of separation and division and of being trapped all colliding together.

I found a line from one of the poems that David read towards the end of the program to be insightful for what they seemed to be dealing with in their art. “Abstraction in the brain, creates a maze in another mans brain.” They're work almost questioned you as to how far you're willing to go down the rabbit hole with them. Then at times when nothing being thrown at you was making sense, words would flash up that reminded you “that we've become overly concerned with things that don't make sense” quickly making you let go of forcing any reason on what was being presented. And to remember “it's all in your head.”
By the end of it I had felt like I had been on a bad acid trip, but had enjoyed the entire time of it. It was a rush of energy, vibrations and motion. Although I questioned at times what was happening and why I was still sitting there, I had found myself staying to the point that he told us to leave as he was finished and nothing else was going to happen.
Has anyone suffered from an epileptic seizure from any of their performances?
Are they as mentally exhausted after a performance as the audience is after viewing it?

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