Last weekend, we went over to the Why Rush Fest at Temple Works in Leeds to check out the vibes. It’s an arts fest, and I usually hate stuff like that because wanky pretensious twats strutting around in immaculate threads, sipping wine and champagne is almost a given. Thank god this one wasn’t anything like that at all. It’s a 3 day fest but we only managed to come over on the second day, which was Saturday afternoon. I had a pounding hangover from clearing the dancefloor from a previous party the night before so wanted something chilled and different.
There were so many things going on that day at different parts of the building but it was also sunny out, so we mostly hung outside, chowing down on amazing spicy veg and chicken tikka wraps. Somewhere in the open carpark, I caught the remnants of a once mighty piano, now smashed to pieces from a performance the night before.
We headed in to one of the rooms to check out Urban Exploration, a Leeds improv electronic collective. What they do is fucking amazing: its basically live electronica performed with synths, some weird looking home-made instruments, field recordings and other bits and pieces of sound effects. I could sense an element of techno, but the soundscape changed quickly and all hints of any genre-labelling were completely thrown out of the window:
Dancier vibes this one:
[Urban Exploration - Mini Jack]
More on the abstract side of stuff with this:
[Urban Exploration - Leave Nothing But Footprints]
Buy their stuff on Juno here.
In the next room, we went to see Carrieanne Vivianette perform her spoken-word/dance routine in a packed basement room – intense is not even enough of a word to describe it. Every single person in the room kept still and was completely engrossed in its forcefulness and energy.
And the last “performance” we checked out was the Il Pixel Rosso guys. Let me tell you something, what they do is not really performance. It’s something else altogether. I bumped into Dave Lynch the resident film-maker there, and his eyes were wide with excitement as he told me what a crazy, freaky, amazing experience it was with Il Pixel Rosso. I was expecting crazy fucked up clowns doing crazy shit but this is seriously WAY OUT OF THE UNIVERSE:
They have made it so that we, the audience, become the performance. Only two at at time, we were led into a dark room with weird posters and money strewn all over the floor, then a strange lad walked in and instructed us to wear these special video goggles and headphones. Instantly, we were transported into a film scene! We were blind and deaf except to what we were seeing and hearing from those goggles and headphones, like a kind of clever virtual reality! Before we knew it, hands wrapped around our knees, we were pushed into a car, these crazy clowns started coming out of nowhere, someone got run over, I remembered a random claw, it was all a blur, dizzying, exciting assault of the senses: smell, touch, sight, and sounds. And then it was over just as quickly as it started – immersive, mind boggling, crazy-amazing!
So what have we learnt from that day: that art doesnt have to be wanky, that DIY doesn’t have to be shit, that when communities get together and create/curate wonderful events like this, it enriches our city.