The Emotron and Cut Throat Freak Show
July 28th, 2018
at The In-Between House
2017 marked a turning point for the Tampa Bay Noise scene: in April of that year, the long-running warehouse arts venue in St. Pete known as the Venture Compound closed its doors, and all of the noise/experimental shows have been taking place at various locations scattered throughout the Tampa Bay area. Just to name a few: Iberian Rooster, FUBAR, Sawgrass (sadly no longer there), Paper Crane, Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center, American Legion Post 111, Tre Amici @ the Bunker, and, most notably, the In-Between House.
The In-Between is an arts collective run by erstwhile Venture Compound board members Emmy Lou and Vallam Barrett. In addition to booking shows in the Tampa Bay Area, they also run the DIY tape label FIGURE RECORDS and can often be seen tabling their merch at various local fests (Blest Fest, Tampa Zine Fest.
Throughout 2018, they have been booking shows at their own house. Shows usually start around 7pm and end before 11pm, so you can absorb their show and still have enough time to go check out another late-running show in the area...or better yet, be in bed early.
The action takes place in their small living room, with a stack of television sets (collectively known as "TV MOUNTAIN") against the wall while playing various old VHS tapes on them.
There's another room with a giant tv and a gaming console hooked up, so you can play video games during downtime.
On July 28th, the In-Between hosted an event for nomadic touring performance artist The Emotron, and a collective of sideshow performers known as the Cut Throat Freak Show.
Local support came from Slime Queen Bingo, Sloth of Gulf Coast Florida, and Joy Lane.
Opening the evening's festivities was Slime Queen Bingo, the solo noise project of Emmy Lou. Their set consisted of screaming at their faltering equipment, and audience participation in the form of asking people what their names were and handing them duck and dolphin puppets. The set ended with a wall of feedback from a Barbie Karaoke machine, an Olsen Twins cassette, and a sped up 7" record of someone singing "Happy Birthday."
Up next was Sloth of Gulf Coast Florida (formerly of Northeast Ohio). Sloth has been active since the mid-90s. Starting off as a sludge/doom band, they have done splits in their early years with heavy-hitters such as Noothgrush and Miami's own Floor, along with various Seth Putnam side projects. As a result of their heavy metal origins, they have their own entry on Metal Archives. Over the years, Sloth's style has ranged from doom metal to noisecore to death and black metal parodies to noisy songs (in the vein of Happy Flowers and Sockeye) about cute animals to, most recently, harsh noise wall. Since 2012, they have been on Bandcamp and uploading a single track (usually between 6 to 10 minutes in length) of noise almost literally every day on there. These releases get added to their Metal Archives discography, infuriating the metalheads in the process. The negative reviews are worthy of their own Sloth release!
Since relocating to Florida in 2015, Sloth (which currently consists of founding member Dom Kaveliski and his partner, The Link) performances involve heavy use of a fog machine and a black metal backing track being played on an Orange amp cranked to 11 while the pair hands out either envelopes or ziploc bags full of various goodies (including candy, toys, stickers, and a sheet of paper with an interview and internet links on it) to every audience member there. This night was certainly no exception.
Following Sloth's set was some downtime to open the door and let the fog out. And then it was time for The Emotron.
The Emotron is a long-running performance art act that tours quite frequently. This was actually my first time seeing him play. His set had him singing in a suit and a wig (which reminded me of the late, great Dennis Flemion of the Frogs) over soulfully deranged music and, best of all, an Angela Lansbury workout video with the volume cranked up (to the Emotron's request), which actually fit very well with the music. The grand finale had the Emotron strip down to just a black speedo and lighting his crotch in fire during the final song of his set.
Up next was a trio of sideshow performers known as the Cut Throat Freak Show.
First was a magician from Las Vegas known as Jungle Josh. His set opened with a truck involving a trained bird (named "Cherry), followed a series of visual illusions, magic tricks, and mental connections with the audience, with a decent amount of deadpan humor scattered throughout.
Up next was Philadelphia burlesque performer Scarlett Storm. She came out in an outfit resembling slave Leia from Return of the Jedi, popped balloons, and rolled around in shards of broken glass...all without any bleeding, cuts or scratches on her body. And she did all this while dancing to "Holy Diver" by Dio, which was the icing on the cake.
The third and final act of this traveling circus was the namesake Cut Throat himself. He snorted a 10-dot Lego block up his nose and pulled out an 8-dot block from his throat, and ended his set by attaching lit firecrackers to his ding dong.
Of course, it's not a sideshow performance without having audience members volunteer to staple dollar bills onto the performers bodies!
The closing act of this epic night was the almighty Joy Lane, from Orlando.
Joy Lane is a fairly newer project (at least to me) that has had a number of members over their period of existence, although recent gigs of theirs has been slimmed down to core members Darren Crittenden and Millia Chandley.
Categorizing their music or comparing them to other artists wouldn't do them justice, but my interpretation is this: Martin Rev, Alan Vega, and Birthday Party-era Nick Cave go to a party and their punchbowl gets spiked by Flipper, leaving them Brainwa--nevermind, forget it, you wouldn't understand anyways.
Joy Lane's epic closing performance consisted of Darren crooning over Casio keyboard preset rhythms and Millia screaming her head off while body-slamming a mannequin torso with the words JOY LANE written on it with lipstick, and occasionally playing a circuit-bent toy guitar.
Towards the end of their set (and several broken microphones and consumed alcoholic beverages later), they did covers (in their own uniquely demented fashion, of course) of "Hot Freaks" by Guided By Voices and "Dream Baby Dream" by Suicide. I referred to this piece as "Suicided By Voices."
So there you have it. If you're in the Tampa Bay area and you're either a fan of weirdo experimental music, performance art, or you just want to find something to do and experience something you may not have before, then you owe it to yourself to come check out any event being put together by the In-Between. The hills are alive with noise!!!!!
(Fakebook page; if you're on there, give em a follow)
(The In-Between's DIY label)
SLOTH OF GULF COAST FLORIDA
(Their infamous Bandcamp page; updated almost daily)
(Their Metal Archives page; includes their vast discography even before they stated pissing people off with their Bandcamp shenanigans!)
(Oh look, He even has his own Wikipedia article, so you know he's a big-time celebrity!)
The Cut Throat Freak Show
(A live performance at Uncle Lou's, shot by Andrea Knight)
I started recording "noise music" in early 2004, completely unaware of any "scenes" or other individuals doing this sort of thing. A lot of lo-fi recordings on a portable tape player, oftentimes guitar or bass feedback drone and delay.