Dongfest, Dong Huong, December 12, 1987
Dong Huong, December 12, 1987 Wow! Music is alive in Austin! I have seen the future and it is Dong Huong. It is coarse. It is anarchic. It is beautiful. Dong Huong is a tiny club north of Hyde Park. They once sold Vietnamese food; since early summer, however, they have sold underground music, often to pitifully small audiences. Things may be changing now, though, if Saturday was any indication of things to come. The Dongfest was an incredible event, characterized by earsplitting guitar jams, drunken violence, and frenzied abandon. Sex, Satan, and Rock & Roll permeated the heavy December air. Dong Huong was well prepared for the show. Tie-dyed sheets provided a stage backdrop. American flags were hung upside down. An active keg stood in the corner. Video cameras recorded the spectacle. Seven bands played; many had played Noisefest: Mind Splinters, Thanatopsis Throne, Pocket FishRmen, DJ Horowitz, ST 37, Queen Penis, Ed Hall, and EKU squeezed sound out of a sound system which at times was adequate, but was often strained. It began early, at 8:30, with Mind Splinters' short set. Thanatopsis Throne played next, a force field of confrontational noise. By the end of the Throne set a strange mood had pervaded the club. Members of the audience called for "Satan" and warned of his inevitable arrival. Pocket FishRmen motored without stop through a torn, bluesy set. They had come to rock. A short interlude of chaos ensued at the close of their show as DJ Horowitz tried to perform some of his solo numbers but was prevented from doing so by Nazi Satanists, bent on guitar noise. ST 37 played next, with lights flashing and the overwhelming sound burning holes in audience ears. Satan finally arrived in the form of Queen Penis. The beer had run out but the audience refused to quit early. The Penis ripped through a tough, blues set proving themselves anything but average. They are undoubtedly a major hardcore spectacle, a band impossible to ignore. One of Dong Huong's oldest bands, Ed Hall, performed next. This is an intelligent outfit, with carefully constructed sets and songs that are as tough as seeds. Finally, as audience members drifted home to sleep, EKU finished off the show with several songs played in a jerky, explosive way. The whole thing was over somewhere after three in the morning. Those left were exhausted. I woke up thinking about it this morning and the whole thing was so strange that it's like a well-remembered dream.