The yellow rose of techno
Enormous ups to Austin’s AMODA crew for the great times in Texas rock city. My cholesterol count curses you (fried catfish… drool) but that’s surely counteracted by the adrenaline thrill of playing for a bona fide up-for-it crowd who bravely came out despite Ellen Allien’s tour cancellation and the fact that, as headliners go, I’m worthy of about 8-point type, and placement right below the weather listings (speaking of which: Austin is bloody hot).
AMODA, the Austin Museum of Digital Art, has been doing their thing for nearly five years now, and it’s beyond inspiring to see what an all-volunteer crew can do with scant funding and not even a permanent space to their name. The show, which also featured DJs 0x86, John Gomi and Alba, was a combination dance party/digital art exhibition, complete with fairly stunning computer-generated prints from New Mexico’s Keep Adding (soon to be working with Richard Devine, apparently) and several screens showcasing video work from artists from as far away as Japan and the UK. The video presentations combined a gallery ethic – complete with a lo-fi catalogue listing which works would be showing on which screens in a given timeframe, generously rescuing the work from the usual anonymity of club visuals – with a real-time VJ sensibility in the hands of the artists who processed their visuals with live audio feed.
Extra props to AMODA for managing to erase all traces of the venue’s goth decorations – complete with faerie posters and a plastic white picket fence lining the rim of the DJ booth (goths in suburban domestic fantasy shocker?) – by the skillful deployment of video screens and black bedsheets. (Sorry, faerie.)
Highlight: the dude who approached the DJ booth bearing two shots of Jagermeister – one for himself, one for me – and later returned with a proper fistful of shots, similarly divided.
Confirmation: the Chemical Brothers’ mix of Kylie’s “Slow” still kills it, and that other mix, with the “Save a Prayer” breakdown, kills it so hard you don’t even know you’re dead.
Bizarre sighting of the night: an actual tip jar on the DJ booth. (More bizarre still: people contributed $5!)
Number of 80s requests: one – but fortunately, the requester asked specifically for “Depeche Mode or Cabaret Voltaire,” so she’s off the hook. You can ask me for Cab Volt any day.
Number of indie requests: one – but it was for OutHud’s “Street Dad,” after I’d played !!!’s “Me and Giuliani,” so again, absolutely within bounds.
Undisputed highlight of the night: standing outside the bar after the show, a good two or three hours after the end of my set, and hearing what at first seemed to be the sounds of Bob and Doug MacKenzie’s “koo-loo-koo-koo” theme being sung by a foursome who came staggering arm-in-arm up the street. On further inspection it turned out to be none other than the nonsense chorus from !!!’s “Me and Giuliani,” and the ringleader of the quartet was the same guy who’d requested OutHud. He caught my eye, gave me a high-five, and the four continued on up the sidewalk, uninterrupted in their singing. All the Jagermeister shots in the world couldn’t produce the buzz of that accidental encounter. I felt like I’d unknowingly unleashed a benevolent rhythmachine (pace Eshun) on the world, and the Boomsday Device would go on ticking long after the subwoofer had cooled and the faeries had resumed their rightful place on the walls.