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Destiny fulfilled: Idiot Flesh plays Burning Man
by Adrian Roberts

My second reaction upon witnessing Idiot Flesh live for the first time was, „This band should be playing at Burning Man! They‚re perfect!š Of course, this was well after my first reaction, which was an amalgamation of wide-eyed amazement, jaw-dropping awe, and sheer, mind-blowing excitement. No other band I have seen before or sinceųwith the possible exception of Crash Worshipųhas even come close to evoking the kind of „head-swimming-what-the-fuck-is-this-I-love-itš response I had that evening.

So it was with great joy and elation when I discovered that Idiot Flesh was to be a part of the entertainment festivities at this year‚s Burning Man. What took this Oakland quartet so long in getting their asses out here? If ever there was a band tailor-made for the sort of controlled chaos that exists out here at Black Rock, they are it. Think about it. The band embodies and embraces so many of the elements that are quintessential Burning Man: fire-dancers, impromptu theatrics, participatory performance, a drumming-and-chanting intro procession, cross-dressing, inflatable costumes, painted faces,lessons in Black Math, occassional Butoh dance performance, macabre puppet shows. All done with a sly grin, a nudge, and a wink. Oh yes, and there‚s also the music.

The music! Hell, based on their on-stage antics and visuals, even if the music completely sucked, they‚d still be interesting. But you know what the best part is though? The music does everything but suck. Frenetic, quirky, head-splitting rock, with a few circus and medicine show twists thrown in. „Rock against rockš is what they call it. Syncopated rhythms, time changes that happen so quickly your ears won‚t know what hit them, sing-along choruses in the middle of songs that have so many parts you can‚t keep track, and four musicians who play everything from a violin to a trombone to a homemade percussion guitar. Many times it sounds like they‚re trying to cram about 20 different tunes into a single songųand this is not a bad thing.

This is going to sound ridiculously cliché, but I can‚t resist using it: if you see just one band at this year‚s Burning Man, make sure it‚s Idiot Flesh. Your life may be forever changed. If nothing else, they will change your preconceived notions of what a rock band is supposed to look, sound, and act like. Which is, of course, exactly what they set out to do.

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