Monday, September 24, 2012

An Open Apology To Alex Body

I have no idea who Alex Body is, but I owe the guy an apology.

I take that back, I have an idea of who Alex Body is, and I know there is more that one of them. Google told me so. But I’m talking about the Alex Body who’s here in Iowa, who is a local musician, and who had the unfortunate distinction of opening for Mono on Sunday night, thereby receiving the wrath of my anger for reasons that weren’t entirely his.

A brief account of the events leading up to Mr. Body is found here, but this is the story of what happened after Gabe’s decided to let the paying patrons to Sunday evening’s show into the venue, about 90 minutes after they were scheduled to open.

There weren’t that many people, but my anger swelled to the strength of 10 men as I walked up the familiar stairs of Gabe’s and found an easy seat while some dude began to set up a table and various forms of electronic equipment just off center stage.

The man was wearing a cut-off sleeve shirt, which was strange as the night was chilly and Gabe’s has instituted a “no light” policy, which means the heat from any illuminated source will fail to generate any amount of substantial sweat.

This is the guy from Mono, and some wires.
Either the young man sported several tattoos, one of which may have been a knife or maybe it was just the Lorzepam and mixed ginger ale talkin’.

Suddenly, Mr. Body introduced a microphone. Beats started. Musical loops followed. And then Alex Body began to sing.

His voice was riddled with reverb and distortion-it seemed to be his intent-and he struggled over the perfectly manufactured music that he built from his electronics. I wouldn’t refer to them as instruments, as Alex didn’t actually play them. He would just push buttons to make them start, turn a button to add a certain effect, and then push the button to make it stop.

I began talking to myself. Uttering mean things. Ready to scream.

A song ended, and then Alex began speaking. His voice was still overpowered with reverb, so you couldn’t understand a thing.

“Go away!” I yelled, but the noise was loud enough that nobody heard me.

“What?!” I screamed whenever he started speaking, trying to clue him in that he was lost in understanding because he didn’t have the good sense to turn off the fucking reverb. I’m sure there was a button for that.

More noise.

I began to get angrier, knowing very well that it would be at least Midnight before I got out of Gabe’s, making for a very painful Monday at work.

Here I was, miserable at the notion that Alex Body was part of the problem. After all, if he would only stop what he was doing, then we could move on to the second act, Chris Brokaw, and then we could see the headliner, Mono.

And then we could all get to bed at a reasonable hour.

At that moment, Alex Body was preventing all of this for me. I though about walking behind him to mock dance, but I was getting too sleepy to move. I checked my phone incessantly, watching the minutes pass, wishing that I was home in bed with my wife, tucked warm under the sheets.

Then, the music stopped.

Like a man with tourettes, I yelled “O.K.! That’s enough!”

At this moment, Gabe’s became silent. Alex looked up from his electronic devices and said, without the aid of his microphone, “What? Who said that?”

I knew that I couldn’t just heckle and then be a pussy about it, so I clarified with “We’re good! We’ve got it!”

I don’t normally heckle any artist. I don’t want to be “that guy” and more importantly, it takes a lot of guts to get up on stage-or get in front of the stage, in Alex’s case-and perform your art.

But in the heat of the moment, I wasn’t buying this as art. I was viewing Alex Body with contempt because he was just pushing buttons, singing incoherently and preventing Mono from getting on stage in a timely manner.

Mr. Body brought the microphone back up to his lips, which meant that any response directed at me came out as “Mmmffffooooecho, mmmfroommmmmayyeeeeowowowo!” I didn’t feel like much of an asshole at that moment, I just felt that Alex Body was fucking with me and my sleep patterns with his pretend art and music that sounded poorly mixed and barely rehearsed.

Finally realizing that things were only going to get worse for me, I got up and went outside where my car was sitting in its most awesome spot directly in front of the club.

I hopped inside and contemplated leaving. But it was the $12 cover that made me stay, that and the fact that I started to nod off in the front seat. I woke up in time to make the last two songs of Chris Brokaw’s solo set, but I didn’t see Mr. Body for the rest of the night.

I don’t know if I would have apologized then, because I was still pretty pissed about the whole thing. It wasn’t until the next day as I sleepwalked through work, a bike ride, and a surprise visit from my Mother-In-Law when I began feeling bad for taking such a mouthbreather approach.

So Alex, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. Your performance that night still sucked, but you did not deserve to be hassled about it. You became the lightening rod for something that wasn’t your fault and it was wrong of me to call you out. I will listen to the first Suicide album in your honor (I’m guessing you’re familiar with their work) and I promise not to disrupt another one of your shows while you’re pushing buttons.

It wasn’t you that was pushing my buttons on Sunday evening. It was just another example that I may be getting too old for this shit, or that my taste in venues is discovering that old haunts simply don’t have the same allure to them when they struggle to find decent artists to book for what seems to be diminishing returns.
 Here's a video of another Alex Body performance, or you can buy his shit over at Bandcamp.

1 comment:

Winston Salem said...

No sir. After watching that clip, I'd say it is Mr. Body that owes you an apology for not listening to your recommendation.