Review of Instagon's 1997 Nor Cal Noise Fest Appearance

Sept. 13th, 1997, Bo Jangles, Sacramento,CA


    Saturday September 13th, Instagon performed their Star Wars piece at
the Bojangles courtyard in Sacramento.  Despite technical contingencies,
the performance almost succeeded in debasing on of the most popular myths
of our time - the Star Wars trilogy.  However while Instagon was
apparently challenging the films, questions remained in my mind whether
they were or not.  Since there was no overt critical content, I assume
they were just using the theme without judgment.
    Instagon was set up in this way.  There were two guys playing amplified
toy light sabers and laser guns.  Another man played remote controlled Star
Wars video clips.  The ringmaster Lob was deejaying a barrage of noise
tapes and the John WIlliams soundtrack.  As soon as the sabers started
crossing i thought i was in for a treat.  Therefore i left behind all my
nitpicky preconceptions and stood witness to the Instagon experience.
    As the plastic swords struck away at each other, the sound came in from
two sources: the TV and the LP soundtrack. "A long time ago, in a galaxy
far, far away..."  The noise from the sabers scatter into the mix, and when
they did Instagon was on.  The sound was like an emergency broadcast
warning in space.  Unfortunately when all the components came together,
this is when the mikes on the sabers started faltering.  It took a while
for them to figure out what the matter was and solve it.  Throughout the
rest of the action I expected them to trip up again and they were on
extremely tenuous grounds with the audience for the rest of the show.
    After they got going again the TV operator added several static
interruptions and visual nuances. (Such as, dialing channel 666).  Then the
saber battlers turned to their lasers-- eerrr eerrr eerrr.  To bring
everything together Lob had a plastic replica of Darth Vader's head stuffed
with a few M-80's. Visualize the expectant looks on everyone's face.  When
lit, Darth wasn't destroyed...the rebels were vanquished. The battle was
    Like I said the material, stage and manner of the performers were
indifferent with their opinion about the Star Wars phenomenon. Star Wars
is popular again and i feel its archetypal significance stands to be
reconsidered.  But since they were not trying to satirize the movies this
was not of consequence to them, and all i can say in evaluation is what fun
it was.  There is still lots of room for improvement with this act, but i
don't think many Sacramento noise fans were ready to argue.  Also, this
enjoyable, anti-spectacle inspired me by its readymade ingenuity.  "Look i
can take the everyday (TVs, toys) and use them to make spontaneous
compositions."  That's exciting, i'd like to pull this INstagon trick on
sober fans of high art.  A gallery filled with an orchestra of amplified
TVs, microwaves, electric fans, homemade instruments and their insane
operators.  They'd probably see if they could somehow buy it.  "How much
for the happening?"
                            -Edward Cefala   San Francisco, CA

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