Posts Tagged ‘ Chicks On Speed ’

My Double Dose of Chicks On Speed

Earlier this week, which has now probably become last week because its taken me that long to finish writing this, Chicks On Speed were here in Malaysia. They did a ‘Happening Lecture’ on Tuesday night followed by a show on the Wednesday night.

I must admit, before seeing them, I hadn’t listened to much of their music or knew much about them. I think I’d only listened to one of their songs – ‘We Don’t Play Guitars’ maybe seven or eight or nine years ago when it was on one of the Big Day Out compilations. But I’d forgotten it all since then, except the name and remembering that they sang that line a few times during the song. I also got the impression that yes, they were a bit of a ‘hipster’ band (and yes, I know, as I came to find out, they’re a ‘multidisciplinary’ something something).

A week earlier, a friend told me about some fashion and art thing happening somewhere. Those words by themselves didn’t really sound too appealing to me, but I wanted to go if it meant hanging out with my friend. I decided to look into it and found that it was a lecture of sorts by Chicks On Speed. Again, that wasn’t necessarily too appealing as I’d only one heard of their songs almost half my life ago. But as I read through the event description I noticed words like ‘genderqueer’ and ‘feminist’ and ‘creative commons’ and other key words and phrases that appealed to my brain.

If Chicks On Speed are hipsters, at least they’re my kind of hipster.

So obviously, I got really excited and knew for certain that I was going to go to this lecture. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually go to their show, I had doubts over whether I’d enjoy the show, but there were no doubts that I’d enjoy the lecture about this stuff:

Topics of discussion: between the lines of fashion, music & art; the art of lived practice.

A timely discourse through the development of the CoS manifesto: naked vs. nude, misandrist vs. misogynist, fake vs. real, the act vs. the action; the genderqueer world of femanist art; the herstory of the future; DIY Don’t do it yourself but with everybody else.

Objekt Instruments: self made instruments from everyday commodities, a demo and introduction to the high tech world of open source/creative commons and why we came out of the copyleft closet.

I admit some of it sounds like a little bit of bullshit, but that’s ok.

However, at about 10:30pm on Tuesday night when the lecture ended, I realised that the lecture had nothing, nothing at all about… all that cool shit. It was interesting, but not mega ‘this is relevant to my interests’ interesting. The presentation was mostly about the home made instruments – eg. scissors with a contact mic gaffa taped to it, rocks with contacts mics and going through Ableton, playable costumes, their e-shoe – and other performances, sounds, projects, pieces they had done. There was also a section in which they were playing a video but then started making some live noise over the top. Listening to the noise, I thought, if that’s what they’re going to sound like the next night then I’d definitely go.

Baically, the lecture/presentation was about a couple of people attaching contact mics to shit, attaching pick ups to shit, making some ok noises, and doing it all with what seemed like a lot of time, money and resources. There was one sketch of a jumpsuit and scribbled underneath it was ‘political jumpsuit’. There was also a video in which a woman was saying something about ‘hipster’ being good. Something about how ‘hipster’ today is meaningless but ‘used to mean something’, something something about ‘passion’ and ‘hipster used to mean having dirty sex in dirty places’. Oh fuck, I thought if I left the punk scene I could get away from that Crimethinc-esque politics-is-free-sex bullshit.

But it was very very nice of them to let people try out their toys after the talk. Which ended up inspiring one of my friends to get into circuit bending and DIY electronics which in turn has inspired me to have a look into that stuff again and maybe just maybe by the end of next week I’ll have something to show for it.

The second night was gig night. At the ‘lecture happening’ or ‘happening lecture’ the night before we got ourselves on a guest list. We weren’t exactly sure what the guest list meant but we were on it and despite what other people were saying, I was under the impression that guest list meant free entry. If guest list meant free entry it would spare me having to make those hard decisions like: should I pay RM30 for something that I possibly won’t like – but possibly will like. I went along and sure enough we all got in for free.

It was at a fancy club called Bedroom. Bedroom is a shithole.

Reasons why Bedroom is a shithole:

They have stupid slogans such as: ‘sexy is not shy’ and ‘sexy is not leaving’ and ‘sexy is not naughty’.

They have television screens that screen footage of whiteys ‘partying’. It just looks stupid screening such stupid footage to a room of people just sitting down drinking and talking.

The waiter told me that I have to order a drink or… he didn’t actually say anything after that but it was assumed that I had to order a drink or leave the table I was sitting at because he “had paying customers waiting”. I’m there to watch some people make music. Not drink RM30 drinks.

While Chicks On Speed were playing, the seats and tables were left at the front. So people were awkwardly trying to stand/dance at the front but had to stand around awkwardly sized and shaped chairs and tables.

As for Chicks On Speed…

I hate writing about music. I feel like I have to write certain words about certain things but sometimes I just don’t have the words to write about those things [/disclaimer]. On the one hand, I guess Chicks On Speed were fun. They wear colourful costumes and jump around and have heaps of energy. But I guess all the energy got lost before it reached me standing in the middle of the audience but behind an awkward chair. Which is not Chicks On Speed’s fault, it’s Bedroom’s (or maybe mine for not taking the initiative to pick up the chairs and throwing them against the wall). I guess, since I felt a little bit let down from the night before and was still searching for just a little fragment of intellectual stimulus, I was also trying to pay attention to their lyrics and their visuals and trying to figure it all out.

In the end I didn’t quite figure it out at all. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I actually have no idea who Chicks On Speed are and what they’re about. But if I’ve got no idea then maybe I’m not alone? Surely, since they were playing in a city far from their usual cities of residence there’d be many others like me in need of an introduction to Chicks On Speed?

Though, maybe this was the introduction and my brain was just expecting it all to be different.