On a mid-winter night in Seattle, El Corazon was completely destroyed. There were several inches of pillow stuffing, toilet paper and confetti all over the floor. Confetti filled every nook and cranny, lodged along the ceilings and around every cable and post. This was one of those “parties to end all parties.”
The Chaotic Noise Marching Corp set the tone for the evening—a loud tone. The 25 member band took up most of the lower floor as they played with just as much volume and gusto as they would during halftime at an open air sports field. They instructed the audience to join them on the main floor (this is a marching band after all), then marched up onto the mezzanine and proceeded through the crowd and back down onto the floor. Exactly how the horns could come within millimeters of each other without colliding and still play effectively is a mystery to me. In a frenzy of brass and bodies moving in every direction, a trombone would extend then retract just as a trumpet player would tumble into its space. Even the brief eruption of slam dancing that occurred when they circled back to where they started had visual elegance. The next act, Slow Bunny, seized upon the energy in the room and raised it a couple notches with their heavy, operatic sound and otherworldly stage presence.
The energetic Down North then brought an exciting blend of hard rock, funk and soul. Down North’s singer is a consummate front-man. He sings with the high vibrato that one might expect from a metal singer yet sounds like equal parts Cory Glover from Living Colour and Al Green with a Screamin’ Jay Hawkens feel at times. Watching him dance is like watching John Belushi competently deliver Michael Jackson’s moves.
Down North’s guitarist deftly maneuvers through different sounds and when prompted. He can showboat with an air of whimsy and jest while the bass player remains a pillar of pure cool and groove. The drummer creates a driving force reminiscent of the White Stripes with an added playful showmanship. During his solo, his floor tom began to fall, so he held it up for a time while his solo continued. When he finally let it drop to the floor he made use of it from the side, creating a joke of the whole thing which served to make the solo even better and more endearing.
The seven members of Jonny Sonic played fourth, working the crowd into another frenzy. Their singer looked like a perfect blend of ‘70s porn-star and ‘80s pro-wrestling manager. Their music was fast and heavy and their horns were big and deep. I’m talking a baritone sax and a tuba. They also have an easy philosophy that the singer put quite eloquently when he said “All of our shit’s free. Go get some!” They made good on that by passing out cards showing how to freely download their album to every extended hand in the audience.
When Jonny Sonic finished their set this could easily have been the end of the show. Four great bands had performed and more than three hours of high-energy music had been delivered. Everyone in the crowd was pleased, but it was just a warm-up to what was about to ensue.
Pandemonium. That is the best word I can think of to describe the audio-visual sensory overload that was unleashed by the Super Geek League. Thirteen band members and a small army of costumed performers shared the stage under black lights while confetti cannons, smoke machines, large-screen monitors and laser lighting all competed for attention. The volume and ensity of confetti was so much that the stage would be blocked out before the rainbow of colors descended on the crowd. Every song required a costume change by the dancers—dancing eyeballs, alien creatures, a couple of-sexy cops and some big-nosed fuzzy-bear creatures to name a few. And still more confetti.
The atmosphere was like one of those clubs in a vampire movie where an “epic” party is happening just as the vampires assume control. Imagine that instead of vampires that aim to drain you of life, the club is being run by the upper echelon of the Cult of the Burning Man and they aim to drain you of reason by subjecting you to one of the zaniest experiences possible. The crowd was going wild already before the beach balls began to be thrown into the room. Nothing seems to up the ante on the excitement level of a packed floor like twenty-something beach balls. At least that’s what I believed right up until twenty-something pillows were thrown into the mosh. And still more confetti.
Fire is not allowed indoors, but this presented no obstacle for the fire dancers who replaced flames with glow-sticks. These were particularly effective under the black lights. At one point there was an aerialist in a disco-ball patterned body suit performing a fast moving routine while the strobe-light was firing off in sync with the double bass drum—all of the happening while the band raged on. There was more confetti.
The break between the end of the set and the encore provided the time and people necessary to bring a dance pole onto the stage that was anchored only from below. For their final few songs the Super Geek League again brought it up a notch by having not one but two pole dancers perform a choreographed routine together on that free-standing pole. Equally intriguing was an ingenious use of a leaf blower as it would spool off an entire roll of toilet paper in one beautiful ribbon.
When the show ended and the lights came on, a shopping cart was brought out with a cake shaped like a woman on it. The head was the actual head of the woman and it screamed “Eat me! Eat my body!” as Super Geek League members cut and distributed pieces of cake for any of us who desired a piece. I think it was Red Velvet. Every person I met who was involved with the production was incredibly warm and kind. This was one of the best musical experiences I have ever attended. This is partly reflective of the all ages crowd that the Super Geek League attracted but it is also reflective of them.