Live painting overshadowed the live music on Thursday, September 20th at the Highline Ballroom. Alex Grey’s event Re: Creation was an artistic conglomeration on a variety of levels featuring 4 canvases, 7 painters, and 7 musical acts. The night was full of pure entertainment, both visually and audibly stimulating the audience.
Upon entering the Highline Ballroom, three canvases were set up on stage, with a DJ booth directly in the center. One canvas stood at the side of the dance floor, allowing every audience member to be visually surrounded by live painting. The host of the party began the evening by having a panel about visionary artwork, followed by book and poster signings. Alex Grey is one of the most famous spiritual, psychedelic and visionary artists, yet he still took his time to meet every fan in line. His 21 piece series the Sacred Mirrors took a decade to complete, and has led to the creation of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a place where Alex Grey hosts “sanctuary of visionary art to inspire and evolve the creative spirit”. Grey’s style of artwork and psychedelic lifestyle has led to his deep relationship with music. Grey has done artwork for David Byrne, Michael Hedges, Nirvana, The String Cheese Incident, Beastie Boys, Tool, Bassnectar and more. When Alex Grey announced that he would be hosting an event headlining Up Until Now and a variety of DJ’s, I was not surprised. I was, however, greatly pleased that Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig of the Disco Biscuits and David Murphy of Sound Tribe Sector 9, would be joining the party.
The event was long, starting at 7:30 PM and ending at 4 AM. Narkatta began the music after Alex Grey’s panel, followed by Space Jesus, Sonkin, Reality Engine, and Andreilen. Each of these DJ’s sounded very similar, mixing techno and house beats with elements of dubstep. Reality Engine calmed the audience down with low dub beats mixed with Reggae, while Andreilen pumped the audience up by mixing dubstep with pop-songs. Ultimately, the sole purpose of these DJ’s was to make the audience dance. However, the audience was clearly more intrigued by the merchandise and live artwork then the DJs most of the night. It seemed clear to me that the music was meant to take a backseat to the visual stimulations, which the live painters began to provide throughout the show.
Welder came on at 11:40, just as each live painter (including Alex and Allyson Grey) began to paint on stage. Welder captured the audience by not only wearing a black welder’s mask, but also by showing that although he merely has two synthesizers and two laptops, he created a great range of sounds. The DJ began his set with iridescent high pitched tones against an organ noise created by his keys. He brought low base and drums into it, forming trip hop which matched the calmness of the painters perfectly. Welder then surprised audiences as he created an incredible audibly stimulating atmosphere while the painters created an equally incredible visually stimulating atmosphere. He began to use shake eggs, water bottles, tin cans, glass jars, and one drumstick to create noise over his mixed music. Almost as if he was a prop master, Welder crinkled plastic water bottles over a microphone, and shimmied a shake egg over a bass line, proving his originality.
Finally, at 12:40, Up Until Now hit the stage. The audience went wild as the four-piece band opened with a funky bass line (Murphy) and heavy guitar (Gutwillig), vibrating the paintbrushes off of the stage. David Murphy jumped up and down on his bass, and Barber shredded as Alex Grey watched from backstage. The founder of Up Until Now, Jay Murphy, was set up on a synthesizer and laptop, mixing the live drummer (Kyle Holly) perfectly against his own creations. As the guest stars, Barber and David Murphy blended in well to the overall music and enhanced the music of Up Until Now. The band was incredible, and they jammed on until the venue closed. Their sound was similar to STS9 at times, and Barber’s shredding reminded me of The Disco Biscuits. However, the mixing of the music became very fast paced at times, creating an unstoppable dance floor, and heavier sound then other electro-jam bands. There was no set break, and very few breaks between each jam. No set list was created for the show, and the audience’s reaction to this non-stop music proved that Up Until Now should definitely be around for a while.
You Can Listen to the Featured Musicians of Re:creation here:
Up Until Now
You Can Find More Information about the artists of Re:Creation here:
Alex & Allyson Grey: www.alexgrey.com
Oliver Vernon & Damon Soule: www.furtherrr.com
Vibrata Chromodoris: www.vibrata.com/