The stage looks like gridlocked traffic at rush hour, only with drum kits instead of cars, and no sooner do the members of Foot Village gather (three big guys of varying hairiness and a gorgeous, petite woman in a frilly skirt) the audience are requested, via megaphone, to gather round the four inward-facing kits while the band take their places. Those of us who can’t fit on stage find chairs and tables to stand on to see into the centre of the crowd. There is an almost imperceptible nod and suddenly all four have begun a rolling, perfectly synchronised rhythm that disperses and re-forms with precise fluidity (not a beat is improvised). The aforementioned tiny woman, one Grace Lee, belts out feral screams, like savage war-cries, into the megaphone, passing it to the other members for call-and-repeat rants, all the while keeping to their visceral beats, tighter than the skins they are so systematically pulverising. Ms Lee shrieks into the megaphone and falls back into the wall of bodies behind her, being lifted and passed around as she barks wild phrases that her band mates repeat in varying sequences, like their drumming. The atmosphere in the room is intense and electrified; everyone seemingly hypnotised by the tribal percussion patterns and thrilled by the band’s urgent shouts. “The second we start this song, everyone scream as crazy as possible, that’s the perfect effect for this song,” instructs a Foot Villager through the megaphone, “Or sit down.” A challenge. No one sits down, everyone in Barden’s screams, crazy as they can and it is the perfect effect for the night that culminates in one Villager breaking the pattern and overturning his kit, the other drums clattering into chaos and silence but for the whooping and stomping and cries for more.
By Polly Rappaport
Originally published in issue 11 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. October 2009