Backstory. . .
An associate of mine Sheahan decided to put on a rave on Gabriola Island, one of the Gulf Islands near both Victoria and Vancouver. Sheahan loves psy-trance but also happens to have a penchant for industrial music so asked griefer to come up and play. I made it pretty clear up front that we were going to be playing a power electronics set but Sheahan was cool with it and knew what he was getting. We were supposed to play the second stage (sort of a chillout room) which for our set would be the freakout room instead I suppose.
Saturday rolls around and Owen and I plus his accomplice Melanie headed up along with a second van load of Victoria freaks headed by my buddy Dave. Once on the island we follow the directions to the event and while driving up the road to where it is supposed to be we run into 3 obvious rave victim kids who tell us that the gig is cancelled and do we know what is going on. We go up the road and at the location where the part is supposed to be we find a pizza box with "no party" written on it. Fuck fuck fuck. After some silly climbing on the van and running about to try to get cell phone reception we discover the event has been moved and find directions to the new spot, grab the rave kid victims (stinky dreadlocks and all) and head off.
Apparently one of the organizers had a personal disagreement with the guy who's place it was to happen at and as they were pulling up to unload told them that the deal was off requiring the switch of locations. Ah, drama.
So we get to the new venue which is Sheahan's house. The yard has a stage decked out with these flourescent dream catcher things, an alien mural with angel wings, paper mache flourescent coloured muscrooms, candles, the whole shebang. Appropriate for "Psyfest" but pretty funny in context with what griefer is all about. Initially we were supposed to play on the main stage (which would have been hilarious) but Sheahan realized pretty early on that this would have been disaster for his intents and purposes and so we took over the inside of his house as a noise venue.
So about 10 or 11 or so we have finished setting up (complete with nasty slideshow). Outside is a mix of dirty bums (the self-proclaimed "opportunivore" grifter, dangerous glowstick swinging idiot), drug freaks (which after a while was almost everyone), island locals, hippies and ravers plus our imported crew. A mix of techno, reggae and the odd bit of psytrance is blasting outside while people dance with glow sticks and act like people do at ravish things. Inside is us. And most importantly, the bathroom. And Dave's bass amp acting as a PA which is actually really freaking loud.
So griefer kicks into a really noisy aggressive power electronics set. Plenty of clanking, shouting, harsh delay grabs, pedal oscillator madness. Very rapidly the inside of the house clears out except for imports and a handful of those interested in such things parked on the couch. After a bit Sheahan comes in and politely asks us to turn down because the PE is bleeding outside into the psytrance and fucking up the mood (nothing like raucous noise cutting into the middle of your doof doof doof la la land).
We turn down a bit but it is still pretty damn loud inside (enough that I really should have worn earplugs). There is this glass screen door which you have to come in to get inside the house. Those needing to hit the can get blasted with PE goodness everytime they open the door which leads to some great expressions. It also had the benefit of having this outer lip that felt like the handle but wasn't so we were treated to endless frustated faces reefing on the glass doors trying to get in to no avail before someone helped them out.
Dave and co do an impromptu Quebec LePink set after us which is nice and raunchy. At this point it is mainly just me and Owen waving fists and laughing like tools while Dave smacks pots together over Watchman noise and live Dr. Sample captures.
After that I take over and do a long more laid back, layered deathindustrial type set. Klaxon / hum delays with slow vocal work mostly. Still fairly ugly though with the ravers trying to keep their presence in the house as short as possible in most cases. At one point this dude comes up and asks if he can use the mic so I hand it to him trying to explain how it works (it has this switch box so you can kill it between outbursts). Dude is clueless but proceeds to give me about 15 seconds of something. At the end he hands me back the box and goes "that was freestyling". Ha ha.
A while later same dude comes back but this time with a clean cut lady and says he wants her to do vocals. This time I just hand her the mic and punch the switch to on which immediately leads to wailing feedback. The lady makes a few weak "leeeaaaa" kind of noises into the mic between sort of embarassed laughter and then hands the mic back and wanders away with sheepish dude. Last I see of "freestyle" man.
After going for a long time I take a break. We sit back on the couch and start getting a little more seriously wrecked. At one point we are having this weird conversation with the fellow responsible for much of the parties messed up state. This results in what is a joking but none the less borderline dangerous stabby stabby knife routine that freaks the shit out of Mel and to be honest me too though I also found it really funny in context. Part of our kit includes this big crowbar which Owen just absent mindedly picked up and started holding a bit too high towards crazed knifey knifey man. I snagged it from him though before anything went too weird.
No shortage of creepy. Dealer dude has what looks like 13 year old girlfriend (no doubt much older, just really small), you have incoherent but clean looking dread lock guy rambling about peyote, Dave's buddy Slamko drinking something like 36 beers and still looking for more, desperate people hunting for anything intoxicating, etc. Owen cut a nice, deep chunk out of the middle of his fingernail with stabby stabby dude's knife later on.
There was another point where these three jocko-homos (i.e. ultra dorks, DEVO reference) appeared. One tall very oddly proportioned one had his shirt off and all three were doing these bizarre "I'm so fucking pumped" macho man routines by the bathroom which suggested some imminent violence. There was this weird moment where dealer man left his pack and macho dork pretended that he was taking it. When it started looking like things were going to boil over I went back over to the PA and fired up a really grating high sine like delay loop with some white noise mixed in. And like magic the dorks literally evaporated out the door like "poof!". Ha!
A little while later outside I heard one of them going on about how fuckin wasted he was (i.e. they had hooked up with dealer man) which from the tone immediately made me wonder if the threesome were going to have some embarassing sexuality questioning moments to think about the next day ("hey Biff, I really like your muscles", "hey Brent I like yours too", hilarity ensues).
Eventually we blew our collective musical wad and packed up the gear so we didn't have to worry about it. From that point on it was for me mostly a case of laughing at the ridiculous situation, partying and / or cringing in our tent. I definitely paid my dues as two of my least favourite forms of music are psytrance and reggae which were 99.9% of what was played that night and at most I got maybe 30 minutes of sleep. The stuff was still playing when we left about 20 hours later and at that point, even the car idling sounded like psytrance. I appreciate the relentlessness but gawdamn I hate psytrance!
Big thanks to Sheahan for putting us on (we even got paid if you can believe it). Viva la innappropriate venues!