Writing and Photography by Chance Viles
The Flip was pulsing with electronic music Thursday night, contrasting with the typical rock shows the venue is known for. Projectors showed graphic art consisting of shifting colors and shapes with cuts from different anime shows such as Cowboy Bebop. On the wall to the right a “welcome 2 the flip :3” sign was projected. In the opposite side of the room sat a donation based bar as well as a merchandise table outfitted with price signs made of paper taped to old TVs with static on to illuminate the prices of the clothes and CDs for sale. Dance music played loudly as people filed into the room and started to line the stage, the first act setting up quietly on stage.
Patrick Convery was the first act to take the stage. With a synth and sampler, one man act Convery delivered hardware based electronic music, reminiscent of groups like Kraftwerk. Convery backed dance music with airy and ambient synth lines. Although not very energetic with his stage performance, most of the energy seemed to have gone into focusing on the instrumentation. Convery sat still and for the most part silent aiming for perfect timing, his eyes stuck to the keys of his synthesizer. Overall, Convery was a great electronic act void of software and set the electronic-dance precedence for the night.
Valerian Roots came on next, with a similar but smaller hardware set up composed of samplers and possibly a synth or two. Valerian Roots also played ethereal backing synth, breaking it up with more energetic instrumentation and samples from rappers such as Biggie Smalls. People danced as Valerian roots combined electronic dance music with more nostalgic classic hip-hop samples and lyrics making an EDM/Hip-hop mash-up you actually want to hear.
Homo Genius performed next. Homo Genius is a software based music act using only his laptop and a microphone. The music itself had funky bass solos paired with very 80‘s era new-wave influenced tracks. The singing was reminiscent of groups like Tears for Fears, and it is safe to say that Homo Genius is the gay new-wave that the Valley does not get to see a lot of. The performance was high energy. Homo Genius would often drop to the floor rolling around, shouting things like “I need everyone to tickle their pussies or their little balls. This guy’s balls are quaking because my music is so good” and “Oh I love my dad. I love my mom. I love both my parents. They did weird shit to me like eat my pussy. They used to eat my pussy all the time. Dance! Dance Pussies!” Homo-Genius is a high energy gay-Talking Heads that I hope the Valley sees much more of in upcoming shows.
Artist and Flip resident Shifty Loops took control of the stage next, surrounding himself with his guitar as well as synths and white sheets to give the appearance he is performing on a technicolor mountain. The projection changed from colorful animations and anime to space-like line work that looks like the hyper-speed imagery from star wars. Shifty loops was wearing a red bill-less hat, reflective vest half on, silver pants with orange shoes, and black spy-kids like glasses making him look like what people 50 years ago thought people today would look like or like an indie-Jetsons. Shifty Loops delivered trance-like electronic music characterized by layers of icy synth and hard hitting bass, keeping the music danceable as well as unique. Shifty loops sang, his voice wire-y and sorrowful, but at the same time somewhat angelic.
Last, but as the cliche goes, definitely not least was Conversion Therapy. Conversion Therapy is composed of singer Chlamydia Razordick who had help with live mixing from Homo Genius wearing a mask made to look like the other half of the duo, John Stapleton. Dressed as a Christian nun in heavy goth makeup as well as a cowboy hat, Conversion Therapy had an ominous yet cartoon like presence. The character of Razordick seems to be a religious figure who has come to “turn you straight” with their gothic synth-pop. Conversion Therapy reminds one of groups like Trust, and would fit in vampyric-gay nightclubs if one were to exist (I’m sure many do). Razordick was high in intensity, running up and down the stage, getting low to the ground thrusting their pelvis into the air. The crowd responded with enthusiasm, singing a long to choruses such as “I killed my boyfriend.”
The performance took a turn, calling Shifty Loops back to the stage. Razordick was “turning him straight” making him get on his hands and knees on the floor. Razordick then sat on him and rode Shifty Loops like a horse, making him crawl around as Razordick asks “Who’s your daddy?” When the ritual was done Razordick poured liquor down Shifty Loop’s head as a baptism of sorts declaring that Shifty Loops was now “straight”, a kind of conversion therapy that would give Mike Pence a heart attack. Conversion Therapy was high energy and well planned. The aesthetic of something ominous as the process of Conversion Therapy, paired with a nun in drag and the conventionally straight imagery of a cowboy, Conversion Therapy is once again the queer-electronic music the Valley needs more of.