February 2015


By C. Spencer Yeh

Ok so there’s a few things at work with this one – a massive New Years Eve party ten years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the Wolf Eyes HQ. You can figure all the weight of expectation there. We had Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, NYC and beyond all represented – gathered to throw down, chase after the sound, whatever. Needless to say, the collective energy got out of hand and we were all overwhelmed and washed up the next day wondering what had happened.

What you see here are a selection of “crime scene” photos I took the day after. If nothing else, consider it a negative space noise essay.

“Memorable” doesn’t automatically equal 100% pleasant memories, but that’s what makes it stick. At the risk of dismissing problematic issues surrounding ugly partying with a big Midwest IIWII, in the eye of the storm was a strong community of people who cared and believed – who had seeked each other out over the years prior. The spirit that evening was unbelievable, as was the use of bourbon as a disinfectant, or playing slap bass in the inevitable drunk and dumb group jam. The Midwestern noise sensibility represented was a city made of villages, with the common ground defined by that coalesced diversity and balance of faces and sounds. The following year would lead to shifts in dynamics better covered elsewhere – 16 Bitch Pile-Up moved to the west coast, the Lambsbread house popped up on the radar, etc.

While researching details of this show I came upon an old piece of text by none other than John Olson, of Wolf Eyes/American Tapes/Dead Machines etc. I’d always been a big fan of Olson’s writing, so I was pleased to see this night listed in his “Top Five Wolf Parties of the Year.”

His recollection was as follows:

“2. New Years Eve/Wolf Practice Terror Tank = Started the New Year off right. Not a Wolf gig but the boyz were there (minus Nepal Dillo) and it was intense!! Eleven fights happened, DJ Roach playing speedmetal through a set up of Gorilla amps, glass, blood, noize. Death KCOMM, Hive Mind, Workbench, Burning Sess Core, 16 Bitch Pile UP, and fucking rare gig by sound murderer Kevin Drumm who brought his own massive PA and fryed the damn thing = killer party/ line up!!!. Raw night – huge cement room was a sound hell pit-after the next day the scene looked like some Law & Order CSI shit. The next big gig at the place was the amazing Hair Police/Wooden Wand/Dead Machines tour start – no violence, but an acid-effected Sick Heath drove his moms VW Rabbit into a fence……hah!”

Couldn’t have summed up the mania any better.■