Saturday, January 17, 2015

Oh, the legendary Butthole Surfers show at Danceteria 1986/ Danceteria part 2


So I was around for all of the noise bands (forgive me for using a lame label and lumping bands together) in the mid 80’s. It was an interesting time in music and life. I saw Rat at Rat R and Swans and Missing Foundation and all the rest of them. I am a real pop lover, so I never fully related to these bands because I liked songs with hooks but I fully related to the chaos and the rage and the moment. Some bands were waaaaay cooler than others. I won’t get into it but i will say Rat at Rat R were my favs.
1986. The Butthole Surfers were playing Dancetertia and I happened to be there at what went down as legend. I was never a fan of their name to begin with, plus I was so new york, I didn’t dig the west coast sound as much but my supercool musicophile friend Peter Orth raved on about these guys and I indeed found myself at the show. The legend is that there was fire and drugs and sex and chaos, and the legend is true. No one can agree on what exactly happened but I will tell you this. I am a sensitive person and I picked up on all of the drugs and sex and the show was like a bad trip for me.  The crowd was hyped up, pushing in hard and there was a hostile vibe. I was feeling trapped and grossed out by the sweaty skin that was touching me from every direction. It was hot and everyone was shedding their clothes on stage and the many of guys in the audience were topless. Sometimes a packed dance floor with sweaty skin is divine, but this was not joyous, it was deep and dirty and desparate. Apparently the band had been drinking for a long time before the show and that might explain the vibe. Everyone on stage and in the crowd seemed to be past the good peak and sliding down other side into the spiral, if you can dig it. Gibby was naked singing into a bullhorn, the room was foggy and smoky and a strobe light kept things disorienting. There was a fire on the stage and it was really late. I had a bad feeling and was not enjoying the chaos and was feeling like a fire and a crowd and these circumstances were not a good idea and evetually I left, missing the sex. There was an almost Altamont-ness to it, not fun, but the stuff legends are made of.
Everyone can agree that no one can agree on what exactly happened at the show. For me it was like we were all dosed with the same bad acid, but here are a few other accounts including the FILM, which is beautiful and cool in retrospect. This is an anomaly show where you did not have to be there, but looking back it does look amazing.


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