Have I mentioned that we live in Providence now?
So I went to see Black Pus for free at the RISD Art Museum on Thursday. I didn’t bring a camera, but it looked kind of like this:
It wasn’t actually in the museum, but tucked away in this pleasant little covered terrace, kind of under and behind the museum. There was almost no one there when Brian started—promptly at eight—after which, guided assumedly by the megaton-decibel-blast funneling out into the streets, the terrace filled immediately.
When you see Black Pus play there’s no necessity of distinguishing between individual songs—though I’m sure Brian was channeling noise from his recently released, FG-beloved Primordial Pus—because everything is presented in a soupy breath of energetic chaos that erases any effort to contextualize specific portions. It’s an experience that asserts itself as something uniquely its own.
Saddled up to his drums with a crowd of looping and effects pedals open to his free foot, Brian initiated a monstrous yawning and added his own mask-miked chirps before whirlwinding into his 5-piece with insane fury.
I love that Chippendale’s set was hosted by an art museum because watching Brian play is a multifaceted experience. The comic brutality of Black Pus' sound permeates his visual aesthetic as well: his drum set teetering on the edge of collapse, illustrated, painted or stickered per square centimeter, a well cracked cymbal, Brian’s own clothing in shreds, a pyramid stack of amps behind him, each variously tattered, spray-painted and illustrated. It’s an installation of sorts. (It's also worth noting that Mr. Chippendale, a RISD alum, has an actual installation piece currently on display in the museum).
And his performance: equally disjointed, malfunctioning, utterly hilarious and deafening. At several moments in the set, based on what appeared to be Brian fumbling around with his effects pedals, trying to distinguish some unapparent rift in the loop, checking the chord connections, at one point pulling out some hot pink duct tape to secure the foot of one of his drums—Brian’s pulsing, scattered-brained milieu of electronics fighting against him—things seemed literally to be falling apart. To any other musician this would spell disaster, but for Black Pus it only increased the charm, cluttered the noise, advanced the plot.
Even the between-song banter, Brian doling out gabled missives through his wonky face-attached microphone—and there’s no deciphering a word of if—was perfect in the way it peppered and space between onslaughts with light(er) squalorous hilariousness.
The set was both invigorating and grin-inducing in its entirety. It’s hard living in a new place, but this felt like a nice welcome.
And, AND, whatevermpgvd uploaded some snippet gems from the performance to YouTube! Watch below: