O.K. Hole 4 Year Anniversary
Better than: Electroclash.
Abraham Lincoln held his pistol to the girl's head. By the way he looked, I could tell he would shoot if I tried to make a move. I stared down the sights of my Walther, thinking about the absurdity of the situation and the five .32 Auto rounds that would get me out of it. I didn't have time to think, so I moved fast. Time collapsed into a zen-like expanse. My finger met the trigger and traced a deliberate backwards line. Imagine a voice in slow motion: "I don't care if you were a president. Die you zombie son of a bitch--"
Temporality violently rebounded back towards the local norm -- the slide was stuck. I was dead, and so was the hostage. Abe had won, or he would have at least, if he wasn't a piece of paper. I realized everyone else at the indoor gun range was looking at me. I was up in San Rafael with Avalon, working towards a meditative state via some target practice.
The standoff in Marin was a memory by the time we grabbed a cab. Racing up Guerrero, the window offered a video blur of multicolored neon signage punctuated by stretches of shut-down residential nothing. The kitschy glamour of classic Bollywood fought with the speakers, coming out scratchy from some forgotten corner of the radio dial.
Tablas, '60s guitars, and foreign wails carried us to the corner of 20th and Mission. It was almost midnight and we were headed to Amnesia, a venue perhaps more known for its acoustic performances than electronic dance music. However, every month the space is converted into a techno-centric disco to host the long-running Mission party O.K. Hole. Now running for four years, last Saturday marked the passage of its latest anniversary.
Kornél Kováks' "Baby Step" provided the backdrop to a crowded scene. Founder and resident DJ C.L.A.W.S. was posted up in a cramped DJ booth at the edge of the room mixing vinyl records with a steady hand. Long octopus tentacles inexplicably twisted out from the ceiling just above his head, providing a surreal counterpoint to the beer bar below. I caught the eye of the bartender and ordered a round of IPAs.
"Oh, it's okay. It was like having sex for the first time. It was dark... I didn't really know what buttons to push. It was fun though." Thus said a friend who had just gotten off-stage. I felt bad, we'd arrived too late to see the two opening acts.
By then the venue was packed and buzzing with anticipation for the raw sounds of headliner Rude 66 (a.k.a. Rude Lekx). He was on stage with Bobby Browser, connecting his equipment into a web of cables. Turning to grab a glass of Coke, he revealed a long floor-length dreadlock (singular) that dropped down from the back of his head. Moving around, he exuded an impressive aura of self-confidence. Though I guess that comes with the gig when you've more or less committed yourself to looking like an extra from The Matrix Reloaded. He wasn't the only one sporting cyberpunk gear, either. A girl walked by in a large-collared pink coat straight out of Blade Runner, jet black lipstick floating above a loud drape of color. C.L.A.W.S. made a switch and the smokey notes of Rick Wilhite's "Blame it on the Boogie" filled the air.
A black-haired woman got on stage and Lekx signalled to the bar. The house music faded down into the din of ambient conversation. Blasts of sampled AC/DC-style rock guitars tore out over a resonant kick drum. It sounded like the beginning to something epic. But as soon as it began, it became obvious that something was wrong. Lekx was frustrated on stage, trying every fader on his mixer to make some change in the music. The rock hits kept coming. Minutes went by -- it was one of the most epic intros I've seen in recent memory. A hipster couple in front made the most of the situation by dancing around in circles together, emulating moves from hip-hop music videos. Bobby Browser rushed the stage and began testing cables. The rock guitars were still hitting. A heated conversation on stage, some more glasses of Coke with lemon, and we would soon be in the throes of Lekx's set.
Creeping the slider forward, a chugging Italo-bassline emerged beneath the rock. His female accompaniment got on the mic and began chanting "I AM GOD" in a vocoded drawl. Industrial-strength hi-hats hissed as they shot out electronic steam. It must have been 105 BPM, but with the build up it was enough. The whole front of the room erupted into enthusiastic movement: a guy next to me ripped off his shirt, girls jumped up and down, and things approached mosh pit conditions.