The first 12 hours of No Future Festival--stretched last weekend on Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to sometime after 2 a.m. at Nightlight--were about a friendly scene: Some of the premier noise musicians in the world came together with their biggest Southern fans, crowding an already occupied by-day used book-and-record store. New friends smiled, musicians sold merch and crowds listened.
Friday night, the forcible static squalls of Pedestrian Deposit--a frail kid named Jon Borges from California, leaning over a rectangular table of pedals--flung the room into fits, a group of 30 kids crowded around him, moshing in waves to a rhythm that didn't exist. Saturday night looked like an upped-ante continuum, with some of the genre's weightiest performers--Carlos Giffoni, Aaron Dilloway, Hive Mind--playing some of the most precise, exhilarating sets several in the crowd had ever seen.
But, in the 13th hour, two days of brilliance turned on itself, turning the club's floor into shambles and its denizens into confused, terrified or exasperated bystanders of bloodsport. During the closing set from Macronympha--a shocking, turbulent, two- to three-piece that seldom performs more than three times each year and fueled this year by a guest appearance from Dominick Fernow of Prurient, one of the smartest, most capable minds in the genre--people started to pay special attention to a guy named Robert, standing behind the stage.
On Friday, blood had been trickling down his brow. On Saturday, most spectators not colliding into one another and thrashing about the room as Macro played watched more confused than shocked. His entire face was caked in blood, three-quarters black from cuts, save the bright-red spots still streaming. He repeatedly lifted his shirt and cut his chest in more than 50 horizontal lines, clutching a can of beer in a paper bag with his other hand.
After Macro's set, a woman named Nicki, who had spent most of Friday's Pedestrian Deposit show shrieking and riding someone's back, plugged her guitar into a series of pedals and an amp. Before she started playing, Robert began kicking her in the chest, yelling at her as everyone else in the room wondered what was happening. She yelled back, eventually turning the amp and guitar on and letting the pedals induce a boring, clipped stream of feedback. Roger, another musician from Macro, joined her with a sampler. She put the guitar down and started fighting Robert, her bloody assailant. She grabbed pieces of 20 glass panes and a dozen five-foot fluorescent tubes they had brought. She bashed them over his face. She didn't stop.
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