Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Sweaty Dutch men in latex

It started normally enough. I met a guy called Ben through Couchsurfing and we got talking about a venue I'd been to called Superdeluxe.

"I'm DJing there in a few weeks. There's some kind of Dutch electronica, it should be interesting..."

The seed was planted and then this morning I remembered it was on. I emailed him and he put me on the door for half price entry. What a nice guy.

I'd been Superdeluxe before, to see a man play a 30 minute improvised organ solo, so I knew this wasn't generally a mainstream venue. Little did I know the delights that were to come though.

Upon arrival it became clear that this was some sort of Dutch cultural showcase, there were people there from the embassy and it appeared that a lot of the acts had been funded in some way by the Dutch government.

First was a rather dry presentation about some kind of interactive 3D virtual art. So far so good and no hint of the oddity that was to follow.

Ben was DJing in between the acts and he was really good, mixing up styles and dropping in samples. I enjoyed his work.

Next was the token Japanese guy for the evening. His act was simple. A backing tape of speed metal, which he shouted and screamed along to for about 25 minutes. It was quite exceptional!

After another DJing slot it was on to the next act. A musical duo with a different. The first guy was on decks and samples, so far so normal. But the second guy had a fluorescent tube light that he had some how rigged up to a set of effects pedals and could produce different sounds by touching different parts of it and touching it to different surfaces. Kind of like an extreme version of a theremin, with added lighting.

It was a pretty cool set and the visuals from the light flicking on and off were also great.

The guy next to me was really into it. A middle aged guy, he looked very Dutch, kind of a Dutch hipster, or a hiijpster if you will. He grooved along to the music, his dancing augmented by excellent choice in knitwear.

Next were a series of very odd videos, but before that a simple summary of Dutch history that is probably not endorsed by the tourist board.

"In the 17th and 18th centuries we were famous for exporting slaves. Now we are famous for drugs"

One video in particular triumphed in the oddness stakes. Several sequences featuring characters from Renaissance artwork hanging out with business guys in suits and skinheads, all drinking and taking lots of drugs. Oh and the soundtrack was a cover version of 'No Limits' by 2Unlimited. As a way of promoting the Netherlands to the population of Tokyo, it was somewhat of an alternative vision.

But the crowning moment of the evening was to come. Somehow I was distracted and didn't see people setting up on stage. Then when Ben the DJ stopped, I saw the middle aged dancing hiijpster guy up there, only now how was wearing what can only be described as a latex jogging suit. The white tennis shoes were a nice touch.

He was joined by another guy in latex and a person of indiscriminate gender in a pink wig, pvc, fishnets and one boot.

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The music was an relentless techno/metal mix and latex jogging guy danced like a maniac. To me he resembled Bez from the Happy Mondays, only how he is now, and on a bad acid trip. Oh and in latex obviously.

His male bandmate handled most of the vocals and the pink wigged androgynoid handled samples. Latex jogging guy concentrated on what he did best, very enthusiastic dancing.

The performance was backed by video screens flashing up various images and selection of words that a 13 year old boy might consider dangerous. SEX, GREED, MONEY, FUCK, MURDER

During the course of the set there was lots of writhing around, screaming and the pink wigged lady spanked latex jogging guy with a plastic AK47 assault rifle. Awesome!

The music, if we can describe it as such, was pretty tuneless and bad. But the visual act was something that cannot be adequately described by this humble writer.

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To all Dutch taxpayers reading this, I'd like to say thank you for funding my excellent evening of entertainment.

And next time you pay your taxes, think about how 0.0001% will be going towards the cleaning costs for a very sweaty latex jogging suit.

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