View more photos in Anna Webber's slideshow.
The Smell will not stink for long.
After ten years collecting sweat, The Smell's fundraiser for an A/C unit, last Wednesday night, brought out excited supporters, but also protestors who enjoy asphyxiating. Neither party could resist Health, Abe Vigoda, Man's Assassination, Man, and Tearist on one Smelly lineup.
The venue traps B.O. night after night, spiritually nourishing reckless bands and raucous audiences. “In the middle of summer when the place is super hot and packed, we always say we're getting A/C, then we end up putting it off one day when it's not so bad. But this time we're really going to do it. Right away,” says co-owner Jim Smith. But will the Smell be as sweet if it doesn't reek?
“I like the Smell,” a feminine voice complained from the packed crowd. “It's like doing someone–until you shower you smell them all over!” True; stench always follows when primal instincts are involved.
Notice that Health's guitar straps are reinforced with gaff tape? It's all they can do to keep from rapturously flinging their instruments. Jake Duzsik sighs and chants, holding the monster effect mic to his mouth like a grenade. John Famiglietti and Jupiter Keyes whip between amps, hypnotized and rabid, as BJ Miller pounds his drums. The audience pushed, craned, and grabbed each other responsively.
Smell vets Abe Vigoda got sensuous, but they're not plunderers. David Reichardt rolled up his farmer shirt sleeves and Juan Velazquez sung mightily until his neck veins protruded. An underlying noisy disco drives the band's melodies and digital diversions. The music can take you home, though it'd rather dance the night away.
“You guys are assholes!” some girl flirtatiously exclaimed during Man's Assassination, Man. Bill and Jon Gray grinned, nodding “yes.” The ex-Mae Shi brothers seem more like hooligans alongside Greg Arnold of Residual Echoes, Adam Payne and Justin Hunter. No vocal harmonies or hugging beneath a parachute. The guys maintained spread-leg shred position, start-stopping chaos on a dime. Duet guitars weaseled around heavy bass lines. A snarling voice rushed out, drooling over vowels.
Repping the ladies against slippy boy gangs, Tearist's Yasmine takes the old “she-woman wearing tights smacking a metal pipe against walls” approach. She stomped, howled and throbbed, wrestling a sheer robe, scraping her pipe on things. A large fan blew her American Apparel hair around. She rubbed the pipe on it, as well.
An A/C unit won't stop that heat. Surely, it's a sign that Smelly times can thrive with a few airholes punched in the ceiling.