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Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy & Masaya Nakahara @ The Echo 8-14-08

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This past Thursday night, artists Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and DJ Masaya Nakahara performed a blistering art attack noise fluxus freak out set at The Echo. The event was an afterparty for the opening of “All of this is Melting Away” at the Royal/T, an exhibition that opened this week.

For nearly an hour, Kelley, McCarthy and Nakahara exploded layer upon layer of sonic feedback, gut-rumbling growls, primal shrieking, deconstructro distortion and bizarre trip blips – all with the intensity of a white-hot supernova hitting the undercooked folds of your brain. Behind a seemingly infinite number of chords and wires connecting a mixing board, Nakahara feverishly charged the humid air of The Echo with frequent screams and then would stolidly return to his board. Seated at a table with microphones and various effects, McCarthy growled and tripped out his vocals while stomping on two electric guitars with his feet -- looking like a satanic St. Nick in an acidic vision.

Crouching over a sea of wires, plastic tubes, empty containers and effect boxes, Kelley rocked back and forth, a sonic shaman milking the mystical moist electric noises. At times McCarthy screamed/prayed/talked through a hole cut out of the bottom of what appeared to be a white chicken bucket, his voice altered beyond recognition. Overall, the three artists created a dizzy droning auditory state that was both hallucinatory and visceral. While some affluent-looking types left after a few minutes of the performance, some so-called hipsters couldn’t take the heat either and made an exit. Talk about freaking out the squares – these kats squared out the freaks!

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During the performance, the waves of ear-shattering sounds moved to a humorous decrescendo with Kelley swinging some wicker baskets and smiling a devilish grin. Rattling a seahorse-shaped maraca, Kelley cooed and whimpered into the microphone. Nothing is constant; everything is in flux. Childhood. Nightmares. Movement. Whether you can only stand a few seconds of this type of performance or every single atom of your body becomes receptively immersed in it, for that fleeting slice of time on Thursday night, Kelley, McCarthy and Nakahara built a sonic art attack structure that vibrated and electrified the air before disappearing back into the void.

"All of this is Melting Away" at the Royal/T is on view through December 31st and was selected from Susan Hancock's collection by Jay Sanders. The exhibition is extremely evocative; Hancock's collection is immaculate and incredible. Enjoy some tea at the Japanese-style manga maid bar, purchase some art at the shoppe and dig the show before it all melts away.

Royal/T
8910 Washington Blvd, Culver City

Special thanks to Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Masaya Nakahara, Royal/T, Susan Hancock, Jay Sanders, William Heath, Melissa Goldberg, Patrick, Sidone, Steph and Michell.