Rat Bastard Ruined My Life: International Noise Conference 2014

Standing amidst a sea of people at Churchill’s Pub during the International Noise Conference (INC), a man resembling GG Allin but referring to himself as Elmer Fudd told me, “It’s like The Matrix, except you only have one choice.” As those who have attended know very well, the music festival is a tornadic carnival of sound and performance that sucks you in with its motley range of human experience: from the quiet and contemplative to those turgid displays of sex and violence.

For 11 years now, INC has brought together local, national, and international musicians for a sonic melee that acts as a litmus test for the musical avant-garde. Well over 100 groups and solo acts each have 15 minutes to perform in a back-to-back-to-back assault on the ears, eyes, and senses of decency. Now with funding from the Knight Foundation, the Conference has grown from a three-night affair to five days of utter spectacle teetering between an aesthetic heaven and hell, with pre- and post-shows to boot. Organized by the tireless Frank Falestra—better known by his stage name Rat Bastard—the free event brings together the community of experimental artists working (or not) under the umbrella idiom of “noise.”

[Published on March 1, 2014 in the Miami Rail. Read the rest here.]

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