Her name is Crystal.
I had met her in the front seat of a friend’s car. After awaking in a nest under tree near a burnt out fire on a beach I walked to I called a ride. The Sun had arisen and the Fool Moon had long since past and after visions and dreams I was once again in a waking state of consciousness and felt the need to get back to the city. I had started walking and after hitching up culver when I got into the car and was instantly pierced me with Grayish-Green eyes of such intensity that I am still looking at them. I felt suddenly seen, obviously observed by and entity that saw all of my defenses as paltry and flirted with me with such a cerebral sensuality that I was over taken with obsession. But she is far away from this place now.
I had decided to escape my fundamentally magnetic attraction to her by accompanying Senior News Correspondent B@ll$ and Editor in Chief Joe to a “D.I.Y. show up near High Falls.” This sounded like the best way to do the opposite of what my mind was telling me to do. Now, I tend to always follow my intuition. So to do a weird thing on a whim is nothing new to me, but little did I know that I would be going on a strange journey to find the other side of what my Heart has become. As I write this I am preparing to jump into the void again for a very foolish road trip to go see a girl who I blew off to go spent all night in blissful appreciation of the best up and coming DIY scene in Rochester.
DIY spaces are nothing new to Rochester. From the Meow Haus to the Meat Grinder, we’ve seen our share here at the Insomniac. One thing that is rare to find, however, is a scene low-key enough to hold space yet put on a freaking awesome show like the Space Paul. The recording studio tucked away in band practice space, had all the aesthetic of punk house décor without the kid shooting up in the corner.
We arrived shortly after Secret Pizza had finished their set and after passing gently through the crowd we settled into a cozy cluster of couches near the back right corner of the room. I had fallen in love with this defiantly open space. The room was charged with a fuzzy vibe of contentment mixed with anticipation as this show was not only Keeler’s last show, but it was Barbarossa, an authentically rock yet emotional band, that was set to steal the night with a special holiday set. Not to mention, this is their place.
As I struggled to not lay chase, I knew my eyes were being bought into focus, and as I entered a room of the kind, open, and receptive humans, I knew I was home. Walking into Space Paul’s gives one a feeling of being supported, yet guarded and respected. You open the door into a small dark room with a Fridge, a toaster oven, and grotesque black light graffiti that would make FUA crew proud. From this tiny nest you enter into a room roughly the size of Bug Jar’s main room. The walls are decorated with layers of angstily applied expressions ranging from “*FAP* *FAP* *FAP*” to an emerging light behind three crosses.
I was particularly drawn to the ceilings, which held gentle colorful paper orbs wrapped in pastel colored tissue paper streamers of all kinds. There is a corner couch spot, a corner merch table, and a secret room we will get into later. As I enter the vastness of this space as my lizard brain comes screaming back about my inherent need to reconnect with the Being I had recently become emotionally encapsulated by. My mind was a focused LIBIDO of BLIND LUST begging me to pursue, pursue, pursue! But my Instinct told me to be still and wait, to be present in this here and content with THIS now.
The next band, Inside Track, was setting up as I found my way into a small space along the left side of the room where the cute punker girls were standing. I felt invisible as I put my blindfold on and sunk into the chatter of a room full of beautiful people when I was engulfed by well composed math rock with a heavy edge came that came bursting in with a jazzy bass and smoothly startling tempo changes, all tied together with precision timing and dime silent endings. The room really dug their groove as I felt the floor slowly buckle in hopping rhythm with the music, which was tight, a tight composition only without that haunting soulless feel that plagues many technically inclined musicians.
After snapping out of my fetal trance I was once again reminded of my chemical addiction to another human being so I decided to cope by exploring this massive place. I found chalk and began writing on walls as tumbled by down a rabbit hole into a well hidden half height room behind the front of the room where the bands play.
This tiny room was a psychonauts DREAM with two oversized lounge chairs cradled a floor littered with something akin to giant cardboard Legos and the sides of the room were lined with strange lights behind even stranger fractalizing plastic. The cushions along the edges of the room invited you to lounge and chill for a while, which I promptly did. As I sunk into the soft blue of the room I was reminded once again of my avoidance of the one person I needed to see again.
Thankfully I was suddenly distracted by the next act beginning to warm up and I immediately got an eerie sense that I was going to really enjoy this group. Vekora, were solid, well trained musicians backing up a soulful redhead named Alex who belted lyrics with such vocal diversity I found it hard not to fall in love. I mean, the band had such presence, you could tell they took their music very seriously. They have an EP coming out next year so keep your ears peeled.
Next the band California Cousins, I missed, as I went for a walk to High Falls, kitty corner to the venue I needed to clear by head after being startled by the serenity of the space. After walking over the railroad bridge and pondering the constant flux of something called a waterfall I sauntered back with a head full of crystalline desire to catch the second half of Keeler.
The band had a sound that blended blink 182 with a bold Indy presence that they performed with a playful stage show that accomplished the hard task of working the punker girls into a tiny mosh pit that most of the boys were to amazed by to even consider joining in. Their pop punk edge held its own without the hokieness of other groups of the same genre, but Keeler didn’t wow me. Their lineup had clear discordance; certain members seemed to be in discordance, which is why I think the put the group the name to sleep in favor of their newer lineup/makeup of Barbarossa.
This was their album release party and small paper Chinese fortune tellers with surrealist imagery suddenly littered the floor, linking to the groups Bandcamp. These guys really held the room’s attention with solid rifts and no-hold barred scream vocals. As the second sec of their set was ending the performance was lead into my favorite part of the night. Barbarossa had worked the room into a blissful empathy as they laid down the melody to auld land synth.
Now this is one of the oldest performed songs in recent history, translating from Olde Englishe as “Old Long Song” and after introducing the song they immediately dropped into a green day esque energy that made me want to skank. The band was joined for this last song by Tim Avery on baritone trumpet and by the end of the song the whole room was singing and the band was pouring their hearts out.
As they said good night I was stricken by the Yule Log gently burning in multiplicity on the TV screen behind the stage. It made me feel connected to something, a light that burns in efface to the rebirth of their human spirit. In the depths of winter, even here in Rochester, one can g to a place and feel true common unity around the uninhibited expression of the collective need for creation. It is our only purpose, to create, and as I wandered out of the building I saw the cool, heavy mist breezing by, urging me to flow like water and I knew that I was Home.
I may have missed out on a girl, but I wouldn’t have missed the best D.I.Y. show of 2013 show for the world.