Midwest Mayhem

(City Museum, Downtown)

May 23, 2007 at 4:00 am
Fact is, there's nowhere to stand and not be touched by the cacophony that swirls through this place. The combination of music — the electric hootenanny sounds of Strawfoot in one room mixing with the lowdown blues of Marquise Knox in another — blending with the weird visual embellishments that comprise the City Museum's interior makes for a complete sense of vertigo. Dizzy on your feet, you are. Meanwhile, women riding bicycles costumed as horses and dragons pedal around lyrically.

Marquise Knox: Who is this guy? Barely fifteen years old, this kid, and his presence is the haunted history of a musical migration from the dark rural South to the inner-city North, the collected bloody bones and sinew of a thousand old-time bluesmen now dead, commanding your attention like Marlon Brando. You feel like you're witnessing a possession, the echo of a ghost manifested in the form of a teenager: something resurrected from the grave, yawning its angry, restless encore performance, a return of... something....

Downstairs, meanwhile, you have people lined up to have stick-on tattoos pasted to various parts of their bodies. A group has massed in the Cabin Inn to listen to a comedic guitarist singing about how fucking doesn't cost anything. Much laughter.

There are plenty of songs about sex, but not so many in which the word "fucking" is actually used, and this amuses people, this word, like a long belch or a fart amuses people.