Fallout brims with humans, milling around over uneven floors. I find those humans that are mine and am convinced to have a shot of coconut rum. It tastes as if you’ve licked someone who just came home from the beach and didn’t invite you. Like the smoke in the air, it lingers on my senses. Vodka cranberry in hand–half drained to chase away the coconut–I make my way to the stage, eyes straining to make sense of the confusion before me.
The stage holds a tangle of cables strongly reminiscent of the man behind them. PVC frames a mass of electronics and sheet metal, and, of course, Steven Archer of Stoneburner as he prepares to ply his trade for a desirous audience.
For the violence and frantic motions bursting from his hands and body, he is graceful and precise. More than music, it is dance. He moves around the surreal rig that seems almost post apocalyptic in nature—cobbled together for function and finding a form chaotic and pleasing. Every movement has a purpose with nothing wasted. There is no time or space for waste in the precise chaos he weaves in front of us. If the apocalypse happened today, this is the music we would carry into it. It tastes like cherries just past their prime and I am captivated.
He punches at the sheet metal and the fastener breaks–sending it crashing into the metal beneath it. the moment feels perfect in the performance, chaos taken to the extreme. It’s only later I find out this was fully unintentional despite the perfect sound it makes as it crashes about.
Donna joins him on stage amid applause for the final song, a forceful presence as always. The crowd howls approval.
I’m front and center for Die Sektor next to a girl I’ve nicknamed Sam Stone, Private Detective. I’m three over sized vodka cranberries in and I may be drunk.
The men fill the stage, Edwin and Scott moving almost in unison as the newest member Damion weaves between them on his guitar. They seem almost physically diminutive compared to the onslaught of sound ripped from their hands and throats.
Protected behind a fort of machines, Scott is in his element. He looks alive and happy in a way that makes me deeply envious. There is nothing I love like this man loves the act of creating sound. He is the perfect backdrop to the energy Edwin pushes forward. I feel as if I could reach out and hold pockets of sound in my hand; they are as tangible as birds.
Edwin is front and center, screaming lyrics and jumping. Every muscle in his body tenses as if he is channeling something we cannot understand. I taste pepper, vinegar, and faint blood like you’ve bitten your cheek thee days ago in the back of my throat, a harsh accompaniment to the sounds assaulting me from the stage. Of all the men tonight, he is paradoxically the one you’d take home to Mom—clean cut, lightly tanned skin, well groomed…until he opens his mouth and the furies of Die Sektor howl forth.
If Stoneburner is the music we take into the apocalypse, Die Sektor is the destruction that leads to it.
The stage is clear of the remains of Die Sektor and Stoneburner, clearing the way did Suicide Commando. Sam Stone, Private Detective yells that she’s so excited; yet never as excited as Johan. He pushes over the mic stand as he takes the stage—a power move repeated over and over until the stand fully gives way and is removed.
The sound is scratches down your back on the night and burnt coffee in the morning. He can’t hold still, pacing the full length and breadth of the stage between all three of the other men. He is casual power as he moves and sings.
He dislodges the mic stand from its base again, the device giving up under the assault. It’s discarded again and the crowd howls.
They are pressed close to the stage moving together to the music and direction of the band. The three other men behind him feel like pillars holding up the force that is the lead vocals. “Is this the pain that you like?!” he screams. “I’ll break you!”
I’m drawn in by his movement and can’t take my eyes off him. It’s a hypnotic kind of movement in a worldthat’s all his own created by the sound he’s enveloped in. We are observers to the torment that creates the music.
The crowd howls approval at every chance begging for the opportunity. We are putty in his hands, desperate to feel the music and thank him for it.
A chill runs down my spine s he points to the projector—“during this song, over 6 people committed suicide”. I can’t tell if it’s a warming or a prophecy.
The microphone in his hand is equal parts a vocal tool and a weapon as he twirls it between lyrics. I think perhaps he is insane and every movement reinforces this. He cavorts and vocalizes a strange half grin on his face.
After BIND TORTURE AND KILL gruesome images flash in the projector. They are as horrifying as they are difficult to tear your eyes from. The crowd becomes more violent, dancing turning to thrashing, to moshing. There is an energy that can’t be otherwise expressed running through the crowd. I’m elbowed twice in the back but a stern look removes any threat of continuance. Fallout is polite like that.
Suicide Commando finishes the set with two encore songs to the delight of the crowd. The music leaves behind a void as it fades away, barely filled with the dj’s offerings and the small talk of the crowd as they begin to dissipate. I clutch newly purchased treasure to my chest and we make our way out in to the hot RVA night in search of pizza.