Photos and words by Craig Zirpolo
Calls for the missing opening performer echoed through the house around 10pm as the crowd grew eager for music.
Jimmy eventually arrived and the show began, but there’s much more to the story than that.
On Wednesday night the Corpus I Tour featuring NYC natives Show Me the Body and Dreamcrusher stormed through Richmond with local support from trap/noise project Graverobber and space punks Slump.
Just before the show, SMTB and Dreamcrusher sent word that they were in a car accident on the way to Richmond. No one was injured, but they weren’t sure that they’d be able to make it to the show in time to perform.
Around half an hour later, word came that they were back on the road and expected to get to Richmond around 11pm. Supposedly they had bent the front bumper such that they weren’t able to steer properly, so they just ripped it off their van and kept moving. Whether this detail was true or not I never had the chance to confirm, but either way set an accurate tone for the rest of the night.
After pushing the show back a few hours, Graverobber (aka Jimmy from earlier) started his mashup set of beats and noise. Crouching low to his pedalboard and two iPod shuffles on the floor, he got the audience moving quickly and kept up the pace.
But barely a song or two into the set, folks hosting the gig asked him to pause so they could hop on the mic. People were threatening to call the cops because someone had locked their bike to the neighbor’s mailbox, and others were upset over losing their parking spaces to the flood of cars parked on the block.
My car was one of the offenders, so I hopped outside and moved it around the corner. With the packed crowd already settled into the room, I sadly missed the rest of his set.
Slump came heavily recommended by friends, and they did not disappoint. Their self-described “space punk” sound sent thundering grooves through the densely packed house.
Based on the chaotic energy on Wednesday, I can’t imagine transplanting the living room experience of their set into the four walls of any established venue. But lucky for you, on Friday you can see just that as the group opens for Fat Spirit’s album release show at Gallery5.
And despite the necessarily last minute execution of everything, the bands sounded great thanks to hired sound engineer Max Gottesman.
Sidenote: the last two house shows I’ve seen had engineers, and they were much better for it. Can we piggyback on the super successful three band bill wave and add sound engineers to house shows? That’d be tight.
Max was also the source of the amazing set break tunes, including a full play through of A Flock of Seagulls’ self-titled debut and Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair. The forgotten art of ambiance is not lost on them, that’s for sure.
The night crept on with no sign of the touring bands’ arrival, casting doubt on whether or not they’d made it. But finally around 11:15 or so they bustled through the door and quickly loaded in their gear.
As soon as Dreamcrusher began their set, the energy of the room shot straight to 11. Their “nihilist queer revolt musik” comprised of dark electronic beats punctuated by jagged bouts of noise and topped off with confrontational shouts thrown from the midst of the living room pit, lit by a lone flashlight on the microphone and a strobe light casting an otherworldly stop motion effect on the bodies crashing around the room.
A few songs into the set, they said this was their first tour, but didn’t show it at all in their poised performance. Fresh on the heels of “Hungry,” a collaboration with SMTB vocalist Julian Cashwan Pratt on the Corpus I mixtape, Pratt jumped up and rode their back as the two stampeded through the living room.
Show Me the Body exists at the nexus of traditionally distinct scenes – hardcore, hip hop and noise are shot out in confrontational phrases equally from banjos and samplers to create a chaotic cloud that envelops the room. They make a holy ruckus that’s perfectly rounded out by Dreamcrusher’s similar in-your-face attitude.
But in contrast to the harsh edges of their music, both groups’ DIY ethos are a familiar part of any good house show as they specifically encouraged attendees to respect everyone around them and the house.
This message is at the core of the group and especially the namesake of the tour, their recently released Corpus Mixtape. A collaborative tape and zine project with performers they admire across a variety of genres and styles, the project is the recorded manifestation of the mixed bills they play to likeminded audiences across the country and especially in NYC where DIY spaces are harder and harder to come by.
And though brief confrontations occurred when isolated audience members got too rowdy, the crowd generally returned the good vibes–women to the front, men to the back, pick folks up when they fall down, don’t purposefully trash the house.
But the line between the band and the audience was a constant blur. In the middle of the set after someone was launched to the front from the pit, the lone mic stand broke and required a quick fix with some gaffer’s tape.
Again, the break it, fix it, keep it moving mantra returned.
After waves of bodies crashed late into the night, the played their final track, “Body War,” eliciting wild cheers and crazed moshing from the packed crowd.
By around 1:30am, the fog of sweat and beer in the room dissipated back out into the Richmond streets as the show ended.
Show Me the Body and Dreamcrusher returned to the road to close out the Corpus I tour in Washington, DC on Thursday, then two weeks later begin the Corpus European Invasion tour in France, running through early July.
Check out the photos below:
Show Me the Body