Standing inches away from me moaning her iconic voice into the mic for soundcheck stood Kim Gordon. The longtime Northampton resident is bidding farewell to the Pioneer Valley, and she picked the perfect place to say goodbye. On top of the historic Florence building that includes the Miss Florence Diner rests the 13th Floor Music Lounge, a place where you see friendly faces every time you visit. It’s a small and intimate setting, that makes it feel like you’re gathering in a friend’s living room for a night of live music. On this particular night, the genre is noise and the place is packed.
Arriving in time to see the second act, I felt like I’d entered the movie Eraserhead. On the stage sat Easthampton’s Matt Krefting at a card table with a couple of tape and sound machines. The display of cassette tapes lined up ever so neatly made my OCD tendencies feel at ease. He changed a tape, turned knobs, gave short glimpses into the crowd, then repeated the ritualistic motion. Looking around the room, I realized we were all in a trance-like state.
In between sets, I saw again the friendly, familiar face of Kim Gordon. She bounced around the room having short conversations with people as she walked by. Known for being a fashion guru, she sported glittery shorts and black Mary Janes, smiling all the while.
Gearing up for the end of the night, Montreal’s Gashrat hit the stage. The 20-something all girl-band switched instruments on every song and took turns belting into the mic. Inducing a constant head-bobbing and foot-tapping, Gashrat was the polar opposite of the tape set just before them, and reminiscent of ’80s punk rock.
Body/Head, the experimental guitar duo that Gordon formed with Bill Nace, ended the show. It was everything you’d expect from a noise/experimental band – long, drawn-out guitar notes and heavy distortion, plus Gordon’s unique voice, and a lot of swaying back and forth. It was over before I knew it. Kim brushed past us while leaving the stage and exchanged a few words. I was left wanting more, but fulfillment took over once I realized, beyond a “Shadow of a Doubt,” this was a “Kool Thing” to be a part of.•