Voice of the Valley Noise Rally Report #3
Our journey was long, arduous, strange and had already brought us to the doorstep of Dixieland, and the middle of Mountainland Nowhere, West Virginia.
Before we left Miami, Rat Bastard had explained that the first night of Voice of the Valley Noise Rally is almost always the best. Because as the weekend unfolds, party-slash-camping fatigue slips itself around the neck of fun like a bummed-out noose.
After bedtime "campfire songs" from Rat's Laundry Room Squelchers (who closed the first night of the Rally with their signature sonic pandemonium), we slept through the night and awoke to the stunning morning grandeur of Indian Meadows. Every direction you looked, you saw hills, mountains, valleys. Unless you were looking at the creek. (In that case, you saw the creek.)
As morning hikes concluded and the last of the firepit-brewed coffee was imbibed, various performers began setting up around the property to play impromptu sets. A popular spot was an elevated pavilion that rained down sound on the flowing landscapes below.
The first official set of the day came from Twilight Memories of the Three Suns who kicked off Day Two by performing in the aforementioned creek.
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The crux of TMOTTS is otherworldy spectacles and ritual performance. Their actions produce sound, but simply listening does not impart the whole experience. Watching this four-person collective flop around, slap drums on the surface of the water, and generally act like cultish pagan weirdos, left us stymied for a response. At first glance, the set seemed something like site-specific performance art. At second glance, the whole thing seemed kind of stupid. But that sooned transitioned to a third glance that combined the first two and added an element of "this is fucking hilarious."
Angels in America performed an eerie set of pulsing electronics and ghostly vocals that quickly turned into true human caterwauling. One V.O.V. attendee declared it to be the "best Witchhouse set ever." Hmmm.
Jerk's lead singer (yes, believe it or not, this was an act even your auntie could identify as a band) covered himself in what appeared to be baby powder before the ensemble launched into a pummeling hardcore-noise-rock set.
As the evening developed, Crossfade started to receive varying reports regarding assorted psychedelic self-experiments undertaken by V.O.V. attendees.
Snortable DMT was allegedly on the scene, though a source from Philadelphia reported the experience to be underwhelming compared to the drug's intense reputation.
A fellow Floridian reported taking so much Molly that her vision sped-up enough to allow her to see ghosts wandering around the hill stage.
Something called Yopo was available in abundance and a source from Pittsburgh reported that it was like going to the psychedelic dentist
Crossfade cannot imagine what the privileged few who had their psychic plaque scraped away saw when they watched Clang Quartet.
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While Evangelical art may often be discounted for dubious motives (i.e. Are you trying to make art? Or are you trying to convert?), the completely unique hyper-spectacle of CQ demands attention. Supplemented by occasional solo percussion, the Clang experience rests on elaborately designed racket-making props, signs, and imagery that lead the viewer through Scotty Irving's -- the Quartet's lone actual member -- road to accepting Jesus Christ.
As Day Two came to a close, the googly-eyed masses made their way back to the campgrounds to set a couch on fire. In the morning, our aforementioned Florida source reported that around sunrise she could have sworn she heard, "The hills are alive with the sound of music..." blaring through the canyons.
Stay tuned to Crossfade for more on our trip to Voice of the Valley Noise Rally 2011.