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Pharmakon

w/ JS Aurelius

Leisure Center; April 13, 2018

author
Lucas Lund

Waiting on a street that I don’t frequent. Leisure Center awaits at the front of the lineup. Slowly inching forward. Almost all new faces. Wearing anything, everything with extreme confidence. Moving in. Being told to step forward, up stairs. Saying my name. A hand extends with earplugs. Another with a drink ticket. Another offers to take my coat. A sparse and expensive room. A few racks of otherworldly clothing. A table full of noise relics. JS Aurelius stands at DJ console, in front of shelves of white neon light. Turning knobs, pumping out a motley collection of feedback, speed metal, distorted bass. Trickling in and standing back, the crowd scans each other. Clear trench coats next to torn jeans. Balenciaga shuffles by Nike. A black-shirted camera crew flows around the room. Setting up. Capturing everything. Every angle. Aurelius walks off, leaving the sound going. Then it stops. Full room now. Yang Li, designer and brand, takes the stage. His Li/ve Mas/chine. Occupying new spaces. Bringing worlds together. Removing contexts. “Music is a physical experience,” he says. Bodies crush in. Pharmakon steps out. Wet leather jackets smear against satin. Against mesh. Against flannel. Against well-tailored suits. Only a handful can see the table that sits on stage. The crowd looming overtop, gawking down at a pile of electronics, being tweaked and twisted, emitting a wall of sound. Distortion ripples through the room. My pants tremble against my legs under the torrent. I can feel the noise occupy every nook and cranny between the bodies in the crowd. Taking up space. Filling in. The noise stutters, jolts and falls into an unsteady rhythm. Only a few heads attempt to nod along. Knowing pain is looming just outside the earplugs. Pharmakon shouts, shrieks, bellows out. She seizes the room. Phones fly up over the heads of those in front, straining to catch a glimpse at the source. Their screens offer a glimpse of the action to those behind. More phones fly up, snapping pics of the screens of phones snapping pics of the stage. She is tied to the stage by a microphone cable. Pharmakon dashes into the wall of people. Indiscriminate. Shouldering and shoving. B-lining though. Turning, screaming, tangling legs. Parting seas. The stage is not enough space. Storming through. The front of the audience becomes the back. Back becomes middle. The cable trips up. Everyone is involved. Watching swivelling heads to know where the focus of the room is directed. She stops, singles out, locks eyes, performs at someone. At anyone. Moves on, further tangling bodies together. Pulling people off their feet with the mile of cable. She storms back to the stage, cuts off the noise. The hiss of silence for a moment. Everyone, all one now, cheer. Then we all spread out again. Back to our worlds. Contexts reinstated.