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Maiden voyages
Magic People suit up; the Library closes up

"What happened to the gorilla?" moaned one audience member as Magic People performed their third gig ever at the Midway Café in Jamaica Plain last Friday. In front of a crowd of committed noise-rock scenesters, the People seemed to mean business: button-down suits replaced the gorilla masks, gothy man dresses, and eyeliner they’d sported at their inaugural O’Brien’s gig, and they’d added Count Me Outs bassist Winston Braman, who brought a glutinous low-end to a line-up that was bass-keyboard-heavy and ominous already. Amid a scattering of mannequin parts, the Reverend Al Deaderick furiously wagged his hand at a theremin antenna peeking out of its James Bond–like suitcase, and synther Dave Utzinger and drummer John Manson (also Young Sex Assassins, formerly of build-your-own-instrument adventurers Neptune) took turns screaming about post-apocalyptic sci-fi landscapes. Eventually, the band’s flattening keystrokes gave way to beats that took everyone to the verge of a dystopian dance-floor freak-out, though only one girl actually made it there.

Sharon Osbourne may have been winning her very public war with Iron Maiden, but at 3 pm on an overcast Sunday in Allston, you didn’t need a poll to figure where the loyalties lay. It was all about bullet belts and Maiden T-shirts in the yard outside the Library, the basement where Jonah "DIY or Die" Livingston has been staging underground hardcore, metal, and punk shows for the past year. The lease on the Library isn’t being renewed, and this was the final day of "Literacy Fest," a weekend-long, 28-band benediction. With PBRs, veggie burgers, and iced coffees in hand, patrons lined up to pay $7 and descend into the abyss for nine hours of air-punching, vein-popping, BO-smelling fun. As a full-throttle circle pit swung centrifuge-like around the basement’s support beams, ceiling mikes and a handheld camera recorded the show for posterity while a dude from http://www.returntothepit.com/ posted instant mini reviews and photos to the Web.

Highlights included the Massachusetts thrash-punk band Ape Shit, whose six-stringer treated a blown amp as an opportunity to display his air-guitar-championship potential; a short set from the Body, a teeth-grinding sludge duo from Providence; and Livingston’s own duo, As Long As We’re All Living, We’re All Dying. Toward the end of their set, Jonah took a minute to thank everyone: "I just hope this makes all of you think about going home and cleaning out your basement, because that’s all it takes." Inspirational moment over, he added, "I don’t give a fuck. I’ll drink piss! Let’s do it!", and launched into song. Best banter, though, came from NYC’s chaos-inducing metalcore band Locked in a Vacancy, who lit up a "Fuck you Sharon Osbourne — Iron Maiden!" cheer.

Issue Date: September 2 - 9, 2005
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