I just saw 65daysofstatic accompanied by interpretative dance. Yep. You heard me right. 65 went all artsy. And guess what? This was possibly the best post rock concert I’ve ever been to. But let me back up. The story is important so bare with me while I relay one of the most unique shows I’ve ever been to.
I showed up to the Queen Elizabeth Hall in South Bank a little surprised. I mean, no offense to 65dos or anything, but the QEH isn’t where I’d imagine them playing. It’s a little bigger venue then I expected. It’s a little more posh then I expected. Imagine trading dingy bar or Cure’s opening stage with plush seats and air conditioning.
And then there was the crowd. A frightful mix of hipsters, businessmen, and yuppie moms with their kids. Suffice it to say, I was confused. Then I got to the front desk and got my tickets and asked about the opener — and that’s when it hit me. This was not a normal show. There was an announcer telling everyone to take their seats. The press sat together. I was handed an info sheet. Something was definitely up.
Enter: INSIDE. So I feel a little bad to admit I had no idea that 65daysofstatic was playing in association with the Jean Abreu Company, an interpretative dance troupe. I mean, I just thought that it was another band I was reading on the headliner. But no. Jean Abreu is a choregrapher from Brazil who found 65daysofstatic in a shop in Soho and decided that they would compose his critical confrontation on the prison industrial complex through dance. Now I was really confused. First, 65daysofstatic collaborated with The Cure, now a dance troupe? What the hell are they up? I asked the older lady next to me if she had ever heard of 65 before and was confirmed in my confusion when she admitted “I don’t think half the people here know who the composers are.” Composers. Right.
The show started off with a naked guy out on stage and ambient noise. I couldn’t beleive my eyes. 65 was shrouded in darkness in the back and five muscular men up front danced to a mimicked prison scenario. Honestly, it was all a bit foreign to me. But then, 65 launched into a powerful set that gave me (and what I presume to be everyone around me) shivers. With great music, you actually feel it. You know what I mean. The intensity that 65dos killed it with was fucking palpable and everyone knew it. Favorites like ‘Aren’t We All Running” electrified the hall and made me realize that art shouldn’t be limited to the traditional mediums. Really, more bands should do this. I realized after watching for about 10 minutes that this is what I imagine post-rock to play out like in my head. It’s the way David Lynch brings the abstract into the physical. I didn’t ever want this show to end. While 65 rocked out in the background, Abreu explored all the emotions a prisoner may go through during incarceration: solitude, alienation, hope. He beautifully paired what I will be the first to admit as a super highbrow interpretation on prison lifestyle with gritty industrial sounding music to shine a light on a disturbing system that exists in the backgrounds of our lives today.
Most importantly, this show challenged what I thought about interpretative dance and left me admitting that there really is more to choreography than running around in circles. It also made me finally realize how all facets of performance art really work together, from art direction to lighting to sound design. But as for the music, nothing but sheer admiration for 65daysofstatic for taking a step out of line when it comes to performing music. It’s no surprise they got the loudest standing ovation at the end of the show.