Show #7: October 29, 2004
ExBe Showcase II
w/ Scotty Boombox
New Planet Trampoline
Once upon a time there was a delightful message board called “Experimental Behavior.” It was started by Infinite Number of Sounds member Brent Gummow for experimental musicians in the Cleveland area and beyond to discuss, network, and promote their work. The website is now long gone, but for a handful of years it was a great resource and a fine place to visit. I became enough of a regular and friend of the message board that EG received the honor of being invited to perform at the second “ExBe Showcase” at a club in Cleveland called The Winchester.
This particular club, The Winchester, was not usually in the business of hosting “different” types of acts or even pop/rock bands. For the show listing on their website, they made a point to say “The bands have promised to behave in a respectful manner,” which I knew instantly we had to do something about. In addition to a planned release of balloons, I bought a football and a basketball to throw into the crowd during the set, and we were certainly going to use the hell out of our bubble machine. When we arrived at the venue, images of the bands were being projected onto a large screen, and Brent had created a .gif with a makeshift logo of our name and the words “Sitcom-Core,” with sitcom images flashing underneath. I wasn’t sure exactly how .gifs worked in those days, so I thought it was the wildest, most technologically advanced thing I had ever seen, and I was flattered at the amount of work dedicated to this logo for our band that magically changed every couple seconds.
The set up was a bit unusual in that Mary Alice projected onto that same screen which was off to the side of the performance area, while I positioned myself to sing on the stage. Before the set started, Eric Alleman introduced me to the crowd. He said something along the lines of “He’s a good-looking guy, nice long black hair,” and then poked fun at himself for not having hair. I remember the sound was booming, I could feel it on the stage beneath my feet. As promised, I went back for a pass during one of the songs and launched the football into the crowd. Later I took the basketball and began to dribble, yelling “Post up! Post up!,” before I sent the ball crashing into a bunch of tables and chairs. It was a good time.
After we performed, Cleveland locals the Colorforms played some dreamy-ambient music (and they may have had an accompanying light show?) Following them was Scotty Boombox (Scott H Shelton) from Columbus, who I had never met but had seen play with Infinite Number of Sounds. He played a cool trip-hop set while seated at a turntable, and at one point between songs said “This one’s for EG,” which Mary Alice and I thought was the coolest thing ever. After Scotty’s set, Mary Alice suggested that we head back to Columbus. “No,” I said, “We gotta stay and see J. Rhodes.” I didn’t know this person, but from their comments on the ExBe message board, he seemed totally nuts, and I wanted to see what he was planning to do. As it turns out he wasn’t nuts, but completely crazy. Scotty was his friend and they had come from Columbus together, so he supplied the music for the set. He wore this insane looking clear plastic facemask behind his turntable, while J. Rhodes wore a skeleton mask and a rainbow clown wig. I recall them having a smoke machine, and at the beginning of the set J. Rhodes slowly rose from a monitor he was hiding behind, and it was the scariest and awesomest thing we’d ever seen. The set was insane (he even “fucked” one of our balloons), and was an early version of what would become the Ocean Ghosts, a group Scotty and J did together for several years after.
Later Scotty would tell me, “As soon as I saw you throw that football, I knew we were going to be friends.” I talked to J. Rhodes before and after his set, and I found him to be eccentric but kind. (We all ended up spending a good amount of time together in Columbus afterwards). We did leave before New Planet Trampoline played, as was our habit of doing for a while at Cleveland shows. Sorry dudes. On our way home, we stopped at a gas station to pee, and this guy angrily told us they had no bathroom. As we turned to walk out, he yelled towards us “Do you have to go to the bathroom?!” We were timidly like, “...yes…?” And he snapped back, “Sorry, don’t got a bathroom.”
This picture here was taken at the show by Eric Alleman (I think?), which Mary Alice blew up and framed, then gave to me as a gift. You can see the bubbles there in all their glory. It hung in the living room of our Grandview apartment until we left for DC. I always wondered if people thought it was weird that there was a framed picture of me out in the open, and I remember saying to someone once that “It may seem weird, but it was a gift from Mary Alice,” and I recall them saying something along the lines of, “Oh, ok. I was gonna say, that‘s kind of weird.”