No Fun Fest never lasted four days before because doctors told Carlos Giffoni ears could not take that much stress. Incredibly, audiences were able to survive three days for three years. So, Giffoni, being accredited in Science and all, expanded the festival to four days. Here’s the catch: he took basement bands out of the equation and let merch hounds rule the downstairs. Boo, on that count. Yeah, for day four.
We made damn sure to be in front of The Hook at 6 PM sharp on Day four ‘cause our boys Air Conditioning were slated to jam with American Band. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend, as the conglomeration cranked out about a half hour of brutal sludge. The destruction unit sacrificed Air Conditioning’s usual horrific melodies for a room-engulfing harsh noise sound. Air Conditioning’s Matt Franco’s guitar fed into effects and Robert cackled his bass and screamed. Lee Counts drilled some sheet metal and Facedowninshit psycho Jason Crumer twisted pedals, channeling the god in a black mass celebrating decadence via electronics. The set was raw and damn good.
Deathroes took the stage next, demanding a blackened room for the strobelight in their set. This paid off, as the lights accentuated Gerrit and Sixes’ creepy drones. Sixes, who has long been one of the best at creating an interesting, subtle drone, managed to invigorate throughout with his electronic maelstrom. Gerrit, who I ignorantly never bothered to seek out, mirrored the amazing sounds, playing perfect counterpart. In all, the band achieved what Damion Romero and Hive Mind failed on the first day; generating excitement from a live drone.
Ludo Mich read a poem and created a capella noise with two beautiful women. Hurrah. Stegm, featuring Dominick Fernow (a.k.a. Prurient), blasted ear drums with blasts of electronics that teetered between harsh noise and black metal. Fernow sang with a doom-, then black-metal voice.
Leslie Keffer presented some interesting ideas during her set, such as “Can Rodger Stella stay onstage with two dozen beautiful, dancing women without touching a single breast?” Answer: “Apparently.” Her alleged collaboration with Stella featured a few blips of heathen noise greatness before degenerating into a Madonna-driven dance party. Stella stood onstage with some kind of keyboard, slowly lifting it and lowering it, then climbing off the stage mid-set to take a stroll through the crowd. When Keffer cranked Madonna and invited noise ladies to shimmy onstage, Stella wandered back, obstructing the view of the spectacle and glaring at the audience with his slack-jawed moon-face. Interesting, to say the least.
Burning Star Core and Aaron Dilloway, two of the final acts, boasted impressive sets at No Fun Fest in years past. This year was no different. Aaron Dilloway’s set was more sustained and just as incredible as last year’s ten-minute masterwork. Okay, maybe it was a little less, but Dilloway built a heady toxic stew of a soundtrack to dismembering a corpse. Clicks, clacks, rings, and screams all melded into a spontaneous composition which was sound logically and just plain nasty. Burning Star Core jammed with Zaimph, better known as Marcia Bassett of Double Leopards/UN/GHQ fame. The collaboration laid down a ’70s rock stomp and proceeded to blast the piss out of it, adding drones and, of course, C.S. Yeh’s outerworldly mic-spittin’. Outerspace sonics were a great way to end the evening.
We left before Thurston Moore took the stage. After all, we could see Thurston anytime in Northampton. Right? Saying goodbyes to worldwide friends in the basement, I spotted Rob McCulloch, guitarist for NEGATIVE FUCKING APPROACH. After shaking hands with McCulloch and explaining how much I love his band, I begged my ride to stay at the venue. Just for one song. PLEASE! C’mon, I just want to hear them play “Lost Cause.” It’s only 40-fucking-seconds long. Please. No! NO? No fun, indeed. I don’t wanna go back to work. I want to live in a deviant noise community forever. No fuckin’ fun. Oh well, someone dope me up until next year.