Lob's Traveling Road Show by Corey Nicholl
Last night we went to the Kum Tai Laundrymat in S.F. North Beach to
see Lob and friends, INSTAGON, perform. Frank said, "Now this is
underground!" About twenty people sitting on coin washers, on the floor,
leaning against a wall of coin driers, as the last customers left (we could
still hear a load going somewhere in the room). Everyone hanging out, Lob
sipping Jolts, talking to Frank, Linda and Mikee, all watching a guy
intently rigging up a homemade sound machine ... we saw four
mini-keyboards, a boombox, and a small mixing board ... but how he was
getting the sounds that started coming out, we have no idea! As soon as it
started, deep rumbling static machine clanks and booms, it was halted (but
not over!) by the owner of the place, saying, "This is the second (third?)
time this has happened! You all have to leave. This is a laundry mat, not
a ... etc." It was surreal, took a minute to realize what was going on.
But no problem! Jessica, a girl who just lived up the street,
offered her apartment to continue the show, and we all filed out and
gathered on the sidewalk. But somewhere in there, the North Beach Ben &
Jerry's became the next stop! Hey, why not? Snacks, good lighting, space!
A long procession of us rolled up Columbus, carrying equipment etc. to the
Ben & Jerry's. But after a few minutes hanging outside, we were told,
"Nope. It's not happening." So, we were off to Jessica's place after all.
A fun run up Union Street, where we found a treacherous two flights of
stairs. It was too tricky to get Frank and wheelchair up, but the rest of
us carried on ... so here's the rest of the night, Frank! ...
Everyone took off their shoes and went into Jessica's big
livingroom and sat down. Lob said he had the whole performance planned
around the laundrymat, with different sized shoes in the driers as the
rhythm section ... but since that didn't work out, "you guys will be
INSTAGON. The idea is that it's never the same. You do it in the instant,
and then it's gone. INSTAGON!" Everyone pulled out something to make
sounds with, a guy started passing out books (for sound, or to read from, a
book of sketches for Heidi to describe along to the music), a lot of keys,
one guy had a mini-cassette recording of "the first" laundrymat
performance. Lob had a vacuum cleaner turned on, and was making sounds
with it, his mouth on the hose, or a paper bag? And a tape was playing.
People made animal sounds, some people started inter-acting as animals,
everyone kept playing their instruments (a few had jaw-harps), and we all
just went on jamming for maybe a half hour? Jessica's roommate Karen came
home to this and jumped right into it. It ended, and Lob said, "That was
'SONG FOR KAREN'!"
Then Lob read three great poems. First, a bukowski-inspired riff
about discovering that you're a poet (by taking a great shit!), an erotic
poem to a surprising lover, and an amazing story about hating coffee and
becoming a poet!
Then for a finale, Chris performed a short concert with a paper
cup, a plastic cup, and a long piece of string, all found in the trash at
Then people sat around and talked for a little bit, and then we all
cleared out into a light North Beach mist ...
Corey & Alexi, San Francisco, CA
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