Friday, Sept. 10 at the Works:
The Extreme Animals
will, as advertised, sit down, but not before frontman Jacob Ciocci, standing, pacing, explains what will happen: "First thing that's gonna happen is I'm gonna tell you what's gonna happen," he says, before launching into a short YouTube-assisted monologue pitched somewhere between David Cross (but not as bitter) and Steven Wright (but more verbose). The show we are about to see, the show we are already seeing, is about "the new intensity" of 2010, "a complex year," Ciocci says, adding: "It's one of the newest years to come out." He introduces us to his props, the most eye-catching of which is a stuffed Tasmanian Devil doll--it "represents freedom." How? I don't know.
We're in the bewitching and gleefully damaged brain playground of the secretly smart, knowingly dumb stoner, where obvious deadpan quips--"Lady Gaga is the first person to ever combine music and art"--attain gnomic hilarity. I'm laughing. We're all laughing.
And then, before we know it, we are being pummeled. Ciocci and his guitar-wielding partner David Wightman (both sitting now) launch into their ludicrous black bubblegum dance-pop as the screen is swarmed by odd shards and fragments: cartoons, self-help videos, mime routines, recycling advice from Miley Cyrus, dancing children and seemingly every other disposable image fart you've ever sucked up into your awareness flit and fight and fuck on screen. It's an intense and exhausting display, and if I were stupid or drunk enough to try to dance right now, I might accidentally kill someone.
Wightman stands and blesses us with a reprieve in the form of a noodling metal instrumental, and the images settle into his hypnotic groove. I'm now back in Basinski land
, wanting sleep but fighting it. By the time the Extreme Animals are seated once again and filling the auditorium with frenzied, apocalyptic sounds and visions chasing a recycling and pollution theme, I am fully awake again, and strangely, unexpectedly in love with and in awe of this furious planet. I need to sit down, but I am already sitting.