By : Gannopy Urena
6 min read
I went to my first noise show on December 10th at the Tourist Trap. I go to the Tourist Trap fairly often, but I didn’t know what to expect from this show. I was a little apprehensive to review it, but I really enjoyed it.
The most striking thing about this show was seeing how important the visual and performance art elements were to the artists’ sets. Performers of every genre need a stage presence, and will often use visual stimuli such as lights and props to elevate their act; but at this show the visual elements were melded with sound to enhance the experience in a way I had never seen before.
During their performance, Pain Chain held up a sign that read “end all suffering,” emphasizing the poignancy of their set. The music was haunting- there was an air of sadness and I felt like I was vibrating internally for most of the song. Their ethereal, angelic vocals towards the end of their performance really drove the sadness into my heart.
Untitled Noise Night set up a projector that shone flashing images over drummer and vocalist Emerson Borkave, while Shiloh Blue was behind the projector and out of the light working a turntable and a controller. These visuals really enhanced their danceable punk rock/video game music sound. And on a side note, Emerson’s drumming was absolutely sick.
Luc Hendries of New Grasping Machina had this instrument that looked like a bunch of nails and coils coming out of a wooden plank (in a cool way) that they later told me was handmade for them by a friend in Finland. I loved that during their set they lit up a joint and passed it around the crowd.
The stand out performance of the night was definitely Pleasure Coffin. The set started out in pure red light; then, Sophia Re, the artist, made the basement venue pitch black. She walked through the audience with a flashlight while holding a noise gun (which she made herself). The noise gun made me feel as if I was surrounded as she moved about the basement, but in the darkness, I didn’t know what was there. Everyone was totally engrossed by her and the light she held.
I loved Pleasure Coffin’s music as well. I felt like it transported me to different moods, feelings, and places– in a different way than a lot of other genres. Because noise music has less structure and isn’t confined in melody or sonic beauty, I felt it could lend itself to changing the mood of an entire space so effectively. For so much of the night, I could feel the music more than I could hear it.
If you are uninitiated to the noise music scene, I would definitely head to a show and give it a try! Sam Gruca and Luc Hendries both run their own record labels: Mutual Aid Records and Mechanical Presence Records, respectively. Pain Chain and Pleasure Coffin are both local! I know I’ll definitely be heading to more noise shows in the future, especially if any of these performers are on the bill.
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #154 February 2023
Check out all the art and columns of February's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass