I arrived at Holocene to hear a very animated and punchy chorus of horns and strings as I made my way up the aisle past the bar and into the main room. I was just in time to catch the first act Typhoon. On screen was a parade scene which matched the lively merriment of the music. When casting a glance across the stage, it looked as though two members were absent. Still, the band filled out the stage, with frontman Kyle Morton standing mic-less, stage right and the string section seated on a bench, though still obscuring the subtitles. Not that it mattered. The dialog and text was mostly inessential due to the nature of the film and its experiments with color clearly being more of the focus.
After an intermission, Brainstorm took to the stage as a three-piece. The majority of the scenes that played on screen during their set involved a magician and trapeze artist in a red bodysuit. So it made perfect sense that guitarist, vocalist and tubaist Patrick Phillips was decked out in a tailcoat and top-hat alongside the female vocalist and keyboardist joining them on stage who looked to be wearing a red one-piece long-underwear. Keeping with its musical identity, Brainstorm's set was percussion heavy, with beats coming not only from the drum-kit. For its second number, the trio built a song from hand-claps which served as a segue into sleigh bells and then into singing. Drummer Adam Baz was the first to begin singing, then came Patrick and the unidentified female accompanist singing in tandem. The beat grew strong as the images on screen changed from that of a floating leaf to the gymnast in from of a black curtain/screen.
The final band of the evening was Tu Fawning, its four members split in two halves and positioned across from one and other on the stage, with the screen serving as a the dividing line. Frontwoman Corrina Repp received featured placement, seated with her guitar more frontward than the others. The positioning helped to create the impression that she was interacting with the film, and in actuality that is what it was. All the bands who performed had dedicated a chunk of time to not only creating new music inspiring by the film, but making sure that it was properly synced. Tu Fawning took care with each musical reverberation that accompanied the visuals overhead.
The night was a classy affair in which the film still retained its core. The movie was buoyed by the new music made for the evening rather than changed by it. For such a fleeting event—just one performance before all the effort fades off into the ether—it was so clear from every band how much care had been put into its creation. And the audience was impressive too: No annoying rambles disrupting any of the action. All the eyes and ears in vicinity seemed to be set firmly toward the stage, taking everything in.