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Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Debacle or Performance Art?

Posted by on June 8 at 16:32 PM

We expected some freaky shit from Tuesday night’s Gang Gang Dance show at Chop Suey, but nothing quite this freaky. Blood Lines, who opened for New York’s Gang Gang Dance, nearly lived up to their name.

The drama began when Chop Suey sound engineer Alex Bruce cut off Blood Lines's hideously ramshackle set think a more demonic Shaggs fronted by Crispin Glover grotesquely working out some childhood anguish after the tardy, spaced-out group began threatening to delay Gang Gang Dance's midnight start. Blood Lines did not respond well to this. One band member allegedly choked Bruce from behind as he ordered a drink from the bar, while others got rough with the lone security man and booker Colin Johnson, who was repeatedly called an "asshole."After getting kicked out of the club, the members tried to return and ran into the sound booth, perhaps to cause some mischief. Management then ordered Blood Lines to remove their gear from Chop Suey. When Gang Gang Dance saw Blood Lines packing up their equipment behind the stage, they stopped playing (after two songs) in solidarity for their friends and started chanting, "Fuck Chop Suey!"? and arhythmically banging on drums. Some people in the crowdwhich peaked at almost 150moved onstage and joined in the caterwauling and banging. It sounded like both a cathartic, fucked-up ritual and the Red Krayola's "Freeform Freakouts."? Some of the crowd left; most stayed. The house lights came on. The stage lights darkened. The massed drumming unintentionally cohered into an approximation of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk."

"I don't know why [Blood Lines] got kicked out,"? said GGD guitarist Brian DeGraw. "They're all righteous people."

Johnson begged to differ. "Blood Lines were the most unruly, unprofessional band I've ever had to deal with."

He said he'd explained the schedule to Blood Lines, but the quartet started their 11 pm set 30 minutes late, after they, according to Johnson, "collected themselves with heads in their laps, sitting down, obviously on drugs."? He warned them about the time, and they replied they had a short set.

Following their exit from the stage, Blood Lines seemed like they were going to start a riot, according to Bruce. The band reportedly wanted to spit in the face of Chop Suey's owner. Johnson called the police for backup because his staff was short-handed and possibly in danger. Twelve cops arrived, but a riot never transpired.

Half the crowd was bewildered by the spontaneous, half-hour tribal drum jam and half was really getting into the anarchic energy of it all. One attendee said afterward that the spectacle tapped into "some primal urges� that had been lying dormant.

"A lot of people were pissed off last night,"? Johnson said. "I'm a mediator. We did absolutely nothing wrong. We have scared staff. We want an apology. Before the show, everybody was happy. I had to refund money to some customers. We always try to accommodate and respect everybody."

Teetering between sonic debacle and petulant performance art, this show will likely become a notorious footnote in Seattle underground-music lore.