Stranded In Stereo: Bang! Bang! Eche! at R-Bar 10-22-08

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bang! Bang! Eche! at R-Bar 10-22-08

I parked in Hoboken out of habit. It’s something I’d live to regret around 3:00am. It smelled better than I remembered, the Hudson River almost drinkable and that was probably pure nostalgia. China-town still overflows into the Bowery, Little Italy is still gentrifying and that end of the Bowery by the R-Bar is still peppered with kitchen and industrial supply stores. It’s just a few blocks from Joey Ramone Place… right where it belongs. I arrived at the Big Noyes Showcase while Bang! Bang! Eche! tuned up.

The R in R-bar stands for Red. Red is describes a set of colors evoked by light in the wavelength range of roughly 625–740 nm , a frequency of about 480-405 THz. Color perception varies across cultural lines, They always begin with perceptions of darkness and light, but Red is always the first color; and that is enough to see the inside of R-Bar. The lamps and ceiling fixtures cast a thick red light on everything. The stripper poles glowed slightly pink where the chrome gleamed. The pleather padded walls further glowed crimson looking more and more like an asylum as the room filled.

Charlie was already grinding his crotch on the one pole while eating a slice of Lombardi’s Pizza. He would repeat the maneuver later in the evening while playing guitar. Mary-Elizabeth from the Underground Management introduced me to T'Nealle Worsley. “This is Jose. He called you a slut.” They both looked at me. I was probably guilty. Worsley just shrugged and finished a last bite of pizza crust.

Zach was jumping around warming up. His tight black pants squeaked as they crushed his testicles. The sound guy said something unintelligible to the crowd, but audible in the stage monitors. Zach grabbed the mic and said something that sounded like “We are Bang! Bang! Eche! and we gotta play this one fast.” With that they tore into the first song. The operative word here is “tore” as in to pull apart and to destroy, to rend asunder. Josh Burgess stepped back as Zach flung himself across the stage wrapping his throat in mic cord.

They never let off the pressure. The stage was narrow constraining but not stopping Zach. He ran back and forth like a caged dingo tangling mic cord around drum mics, mic stands, tuning pegs and Charlie’s legs. There was no escape. Band members had to untie themselves to trade instruments.

I’ve had their EP for months now but seeing Worsley’s fingers crawling like a spider up and down the neck of her bass reminded me of great basslines of yore: White Zombie- Black Sunshine, Stone Roses - She bangs the drum, Bjork -Army Of Me, Muse- Hysteria. The idea crawled into my head that she already plays like this and she’s only 18 years old. And goddamn doesn’t that make us all feel old and unaccomplished.

They played a couple new songs I’d never head before, then ended with “Finger in the Till.” Josh said “You can turn it up now.” He might have said it to Charlie or to the sound guy or to himself, but then the low end of the synthesizer started vibrating the cartilage in my sternum. My neoprene earplugs were squeaking in my ears. It was an intense sensation, like they were testing the durability of my prostate in a quest for the brown note.

Now, days later, the most striking and enduring detail about Bang! Bang! Eche! is that after that burning 45 minute set, they broke down their amps, wound up their cables, folded their guitar stands, packed up their guitars and carried them across the street to another club, Crash Mansion. They walked onto that stage still glistening with sweat from the last one, and played another set that was if anything; harder, faster and louder than the last. Maybe a dozen of us crossed the street with them, and that second time we just stood in dumb-faced in awe.

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