by Jack Diablo
This past weekend I was faced with a decision. Two shows were held that both screamed good times. The first was the Evergreen Terrace’s tenth anniversary at Jack Rabbits which was also billed as Stretch Armstrong’s last show. The other was Cinema Sounds 5 at Five Points Theatre which featured four local bands performing to clips from chosen movies.
On the one hand, a local Evergreen Terrace show is (as I’m told) a guaranteed killer show. The band has reached the level of hometown hero in the hardcore scene making waves across the country and internationally as well. Coupled with the momentous occasion of celebrating ten years together and the final performance of another well-known act, there was really no way this couldn’t be a wild one. But on the other hand, the prospect of seeing something relatively innovative (at least for Jacksonville) and the caliber of the acts on the bill was tempting indeed. Decisions, decisions.
To be honest, I’m really not all that familiar with ET’s body of work except from what others have told me. The crowd would have no doubt been charged and excited but quite frankly I wasn’t in the mood to deal with it. That, and I had a feeling the Cinema Sounds show would be more up my alley so that’s what I did.
There are things about Five Points Theatre I love and things about it that I’m not quite so fond of. I love the direction they have chosen lately. When I do go to the movies I don’t mind driving to Regency or Tinseltown to sit in a comfortable reclining chair. At least for the blockbusters. When I think of a theater in a place like Five Points, I expect, no I demand to see something that I can’t see at a large movie house. If not in one of the most eclectic parts of town, then where? So I for one was pleased with the management’s decision to bring in more independent films, festivals and events like this one. But I really despise the seating. An office chair or a church pew is not the furniture I have in mind when it comes to watching movies.
I also hate sitting to watch live music most of the time. For this reason I avoid most shows at the Florida Theatre and the St. Augustine Amphitheater. I really like those venues, just not to see bands that are worth standing for. For this show however, sitting down felt appropriate. It wasn’t about watching the bands perform as the movie clips provided the visuals. The purpose of the show and the way it was set up was to focus on the music itself and how it affected the way the scenes took on new life from the musicians’ interpretations.
The event was put together by Roofless Records, an experimental music label out of Miami and Jacksonville’s Flat File Gallery. Apparently, the concept has been used before in other cities and it seems that Jacksonville has finally become ready to embrace something of this nature. It’s not that this sort of thing hasn’t been happening in Jacksonville all along but never before with such publicity and in such a public setting. My hopes were high as I mingled with friends before the show and settled into my seat.
The first act to perform was Bright Orange who played along to the climactic battle sequence of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Their combination of keyboard and effect-heavy guitar provided an eerier sci-fi mood than the original score. It felt more like something that would have fit within 2001: A Space Odyssey, all droney and atmospheric. Although it was well-performed and well thought-out, the fact that the music was played as would a movie score, I’m sure it lost the attention of some of the audience. I found it pretty awesome though and I was stoked to see what the other bands were going to come up with.
Diamond Hymen provided the accompaniment to the next clip, this one from Jesus Christ Superstar. This was the one band I had never heard before and ended up being a solo act. A fur-coated female played samples, beats and keys to what I’m guessing was the Palm Sunday scene of the movie. The concept of the movie is a bizarre one to begin with, leaving plenty of room for interpretation and manipulation. Certain parts of the set were spot on, building on cues from the movie and accurately reflecting a distorted sense of the original material but at other times missed the mark completely. Most of what was played was pretty close to electronic dance music which fit in with the dance scenes but continued sometimes into segments that didn’t match up. For the most part though, it was interesting and a worthy effort.
The band that I was most excited to see what they had come up with was Wudun. All Wudun performances seem to take on a life of their own and I knew that they would bring something unique to the table. The movie they chose was Metropolis, a perfect choice being a silent movie. In that way, someone unfamiliar with the plot could follow along thanks to the narration. The scene they chose showed mindless drone workers marching to the industrial complex that fueled the futuristic city as the privileged few frolicked in a utopian garden. Wudun’s music perfectly matched the action on screen, building tension and resulting in a cacophonous crescendo. The set was so good in fact, that several of us demanded a repeat and perhaps extended performance sometime in the near future. We’ll see what happens.
Jacksonville’s masters of doom, Civilization, were the final act. Rather than write original material to reflect what was onscreen, they chose to play their own songs along with a very strange and disjointed film called Destroy All Monsters. While it may sound like the easy way out, it was simply the opposite approach. Having seen them play several times before I can honestly say that the music took on new life with the film as the backdrop. The frantic cuts and visual chaos of the film they chose were the perfect match for their slow, loud and heavy metal.
Walking outside into the drizzling rain after the show, it really seemed like we were in another city for a while. This kind of thing doesn’t happen often enough (at least on this scale) in Jacksonville. However, I think with the reception this show received, we can expect to see more like it in the future. And I can’t wait.
Cinema Sounds 5 – Show Review
by Jack Diablo