Hearnet and MediaCast present the netcast of Vibe-O-Thon

Booty Shakin' On A Vibrating Floor

by Allen Whitman

weather: warm evening, early dark, a genuine summer night, the first of the season.

After 8 p.m. the hive of wires, voices and frenetic, hovering agendas bounce back and forth across the front room at 50 Oak St. A spacious office with high ceilings and a huge picture window that swivels on a horizontal plane looking out over the street is filled with polite breathless creation. Someone creates images, someone makes video, someone writes a couple of words and someone makes the connections through the phone wires to get all of this effort through to the World Wide Web. A publicist wanders through handing out his business cards and describes the room as an "advertisement for Apple." He mentions the Taft-Hartley Act and moves on.

The first band starts. I run in to check 'em out. Wearing earplugs, I sit on the 30-foot-square "special" floor, the tactile floor that vibrates. My god! The punching low bass slams into my butt and straight up my spine. With the earplugs firmly installed the audio spectrum reaching my brain is heavily weighted towards the bass. It's not too loud but it is BIG. Sex Is A Witch, the first band, is grinding out large flat chord patterns in semi-slow motion. The drummer, the only male in the band, stares intently at Mia. She plays guitar and is the lead vocalist. His mouth is wide open as he pounds away at somebody else's drum kit. Because each of the bands (there are seven) only get thirty minutes the organizers of the event have rented what is called a "backline." That means that the bare essentials; i.e. drums and bass amp, have been provided to promote stage efficiency. Friends of the band headbob furiously in front of the musicians.

The room is bright and pretty, lit up with projected images of flowers and vaguely psychedelic swirls. I lose myself in the ponderous beats rushing up through my body. I feel like I'm at a convention. We're testing a new technology. Everyone looks at everyone else. Who's gonna let loose first? There are children here, maybe they'll start the dancing.

The second band, Budderball, meanders up to the podium. OK. Now I know I'm at a convention. Conversations continue in a linear fashion for more than a minute. The band starts. They're funny! Their fans dance right up to the front and shake booties in a shameless ecstatic loop. The bass player covorts around and through this three-piece bands' Zappa-meets-Primus glut of statistical density. The guitar player is a little white guy with a baseball hat and a Gibson SG. The drummer is a skinny white guy with one leg. The guitar player said so. I saw crutches behind him. The bass player is a huge liquid black man, mugging furiously as he thumbs through complex basslines and sings atonal messages about a boy, his Mom and a peaceful quiet place. Occasionally he leaps into the air and practically hovers there.

More drinks, more food, I saw Ginger Coyote of the White Trash Debutantes, applying makeup by the empty sushi trays. She sneered at me. I'm blessed!

More music!

© 1997 MediaCast