The Doug Aitken-produced event at MOCA in LA went off. Much hobnobbing was had. The who’s who’s sveltely strode, posed, and imbibed. Beck, Devendra, and Caetano sounded immaculate. The real action of the night, however, went down with the drummers, the auctioneers, and The Whip Guy. The twenty drummers began the evening in a drum-line lining the entrance to the gigantic tent. Rolls trickled down the line, and beats bounced back and forth and front to back. Inside, Devendra Banhart played, then joined Beck and a string section on Beck’s “Golden Age”. Then they both played with Caetano Veloso for two songs. One of which was the highlight, “Nine Out of Ten.”
Finely prepared food was eaten, then the lights went out, and auctioneers made their way unannounced to spot lit stages and began chattering. Drummers filed out to ‘sonic tables’ and began a mallet-banged cadence. It all slowly built, the auctioneer's storm and the six drum-table slit drums. Each drum table matched to an auctioneer. A choir joined in coating and soaring the arrangement with abstract enough harmonies. Then, grand finale time: Enter The Whip Guy, Chris Camp, world champion whip cracker, and entertainer. (Yes, he owns www.thewhipguy.com.) His whips are made by a guy in Seattle, who also made the whips for the Indiana Jones movies. The drummers, the auctioneers, the choir, grew to a metered engine hum and apex, then cut out on one big whip crack. Chris Camp is the kind of whipper that whips the cigarillo out of your mouth. He’ll whip a drop of rain drop out of the sky. If you're having a party, and need a little something extra, get The Whip Guy there, you will not be sorry.
For three days there were rehearsals. It was a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, and official people with head mics and walkie talkies telling us where and when to go. Doug Aitken is a very cool human.
When you put twenty drummers together in an enclosed environment for three days with auctioneers and a choir, prestigious shit is bound to go down. Snowflakes of beats and rhythm constantly sprang up and made their way around. Auctioneer flow with choir on top is a holy centipede mating call. The drummers were all incredible. A great, great group. Represented were Dum Dum Girls, M.I.A., Glenn Danzig, Boredoms, Zach Hill, Hole, High Places, Soft Circle, and many others. All hail Zach Hill. There is no better love than drum love.