International Noise Conference

Published on February 1st, 2020

Rat Bastard by Mindy Hertzon

Miami is the epitome of money-for-art payola. It’s true, don’t stress; I said it and I’m not sorry; die mad. Here’s the thing: for all the Art Basel b.s. cluttering the neighborhood and Winter Music Conference nonsense occupying the 305 for the remainder of spring, we have the International Noise Conference.

INC, as it’s affectionately known, is the antithesis. It’s denizens are ugly (some), dirty (most) and uncompromising (all). It brings in the weirdest and best from around the world to make their own, unique experimental grind and screech.

Behind this endeavor, founded in 2003, is Rat Bastard, born Frank Falestra — producer, musician and bandleader of Miami noise stalwarts the Laundry Room Squelchers. A man whose former crew of miscreants, Scraping Teeth, was named worst band ever by SPIN magazine. He’s the winner of a prestigious Knight Foundation arts grant and the subject of a complete rock opera, “Hearing Damage,” written by his friends. And every year his festival is attended by the likes of Thurston Moore, Iggy Pop and other random notables.

Holly Hunt by Moments.haveu

But they’re not the headliners. At INC there really aren’t “headliners,” just a barrage of artists playing 15 minute sets on alternating stages with no breaks at Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti, making things in audio that can’t ever be reproduced. That’s the beauty of INC.

The crux of it is that there can be any number of strange things happening at once. Past installments have given us a drum circle of female musicians, and a Pompano Beach entity called Human Fluid Rot assaulting ear drums while being assaulted on stage. There was once a man in tighty-whities with cymbals attached to his legs as he lumbered his way through Churchill’s, and there is any number of more harmonically conventional musicians galavanting through the green room and every other square inch of the pub.

The only thing that’s limited at INC is your imagination; there’s always something for everyone and something that gets lost in translation. As has been stated in the past, “To be creative is to be misunderstood.” This is that crowd personified.

International Noise Conference runs February 4-8 at Churchill’s Pub in Miami. Doors open 9pm. Admission is free. ~ Tim Moffatt