Service with a smile ... 

Visiting the Tabernacle and Relapse Theatre

Some Bible Belt beauts might lay the accusation that I spend my weekends swinging from Satan's sack the way I like to booze it up. But on Sat., June 17, at Relapse Theatre, I had to dip from a different bag. Hell must have frozen over and Satan's scrotum gotten all shriveled as something so impossibly rare happened: I saw something I've never seen before, and I legitimately loved it.

It was already (mis)shaping up to be an unusual weekend. First was Beck at the Tabernacle on Thurs., June 15. In the Tabby's 10 years in existence, I have seen some memorable shows: Pet Shop Boys, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins and Prince spring to mind as favorites. But the Beck show was the first time I had seen a psychedelic puppet show or a dinner table drum circle. On stage, at least. I applaud the sloppy ingenuity of Beck and exemplary opening act Jamie Lidell (buy his soulful album, Multiply, please).

So, amped by Beck and listening to my friend the Captain loudly and publicly threaten to fuck a World Cup referee's mom in the ass, I headed to the Relapse Theatre, a former church-cum-artistic events facility.

When I first arrived, it seemed more people were killing time than DJs were killin' it. Promoter Jeff Myers of Jazz Space & Bass was seen flitting back and forth, coordinating as local mixed-media, post-punk band Shock Cinema finally took to the screen, um, stage. Fronted by leggy howler Destiny Montague, her face half-painted skeletal like the Misfits' hollow-eyed Fiend, Shock Cinema projected anguished angularities.

And immediately following was a DJ set of filter-disco and nu_wave funk by half of Louisville's VHS or Beta, proving once and for all that hipsters would like Daft Punk playing at their house. What was best about VHS or Beta's somewhat anachronistic set was its nonchalant, "Hey, my apartment complex has a clubhouse, let's party tonight!" vibe. This wasn't DJing as art form, this was party-rockin' as free-form. Even I was inspired to throw 'bows, or at least throw some spazztic arms in the air as Kim. Mega and I showed the kids how to get served! And this is when I saw it: A guy sipping a PBR tallboy, getting his freak on ... while on stilts. Why? Why not. If post-electroclash trash can wear heels, why not break out those 5-foot stilts on occasion. Score one for the WTF tally.

After 2:30 a.m., the party shuffled downstairs, where DJ DVA spanked the speakers with funky bottom. Do I mean bottom end as in bass, or something drrrtier? Shoulda been there. I hope Atlanta hosts more such makeshift exuberance.

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