The only contact I had ever had with the Rock Hill scene was shows at the Courthouse at Getty’s. I just have never really had the opportunity to acquaint myself with the area because I hadn’t been informed of any other venues. When I heard that Hectagons and Emotron were to play a house there, I immediately signed up to tag along, intrigued to get an idea of what our neighbors to the south were like when they partied down to some good music. I wasn’t really sure what to expect seeing as I am not too familiar with their scene but I already had a good taste in my mouth from the well organized and booked courthouse shows.
To ensure an adventure was in progress, I decided to tag along with the Emotron on the ride down yonder. Already dressed as the alter-ego, he drove us down to the Sweat Lodge where the show would take place while Buck and the Hectagons boys followed shortly behind us. When we arrived to our destination, we weren’t exactly sure where we were supposed to be. The elusive Sweat Lodge was a Victorian style southern home that had been split into a duplex. The question was “Which side?” so, making our best guess, the Emotron and I knocked on the first door we saw. The resident answered the door in complete shock. See, if you aren’t too familiar with the Emotron, he is certainly a creepy character in costume. Panty hose on his head, blacked out teeth, protruding appendages and the demeanor of a sexual offender often freaks people out at first glance, especially when he shows up unannounced at their doorstep. The poor kid later admitted that he thought he was about to die until he realized that it was the Emotron. But regardless of his startled state, he pointed us to the other side of the duplex (in the right direction) and shook off the panic that had just taken over him.
We arrived to the other side and explored the house known as The Sweat Lodge. Apparently, this alias was adopted because there is no air conditioning (which later proved to be a dripping fiasco- but I’m not complaining). However, the house itself is seriously bad ass. The ceilings were vaulted 19th century style with crown molding that pretty much ensured whoever had built it was of the upper class. I couldn’t wait to hear the acoustics of the room they would play in which appeared to have been the parlor at some point. While Emotron and I waited for the show to start, we laid in the grass and listened to other people’s conversations about Rock Hill scene gossip in between having our own with the boys of Hectagons, Mary Jane and each other.
The first band that played that night was a local hip-hip group called Nature Boys. Apparently it was their first show and they were very stoked to play it. They were decent hip-hip but very stereotypical with their delivery style and lyrics. They leaned more towards the crunk side of things, repeating phrases at the chorus and such. One song they repeated “You a fag” countless times. While they delivered their lyrics, they flailed their arms as the words came spitting from their mouths. They seemed like capable dudes and it wasn’t bad for their first show, they just could do a lot better creatively. Regardless, they were well received by their peers and their beats were nodd-worthy so I would have to say, for their first show it was a success.
Hectagons, a set on Flickr.
You would think that since it was my second night seeing Hectagons that I wouldn’t have been as excited as I was. I’m pretty sure that I could watch them play every night for a year and not get sick of them. Their music is so freaking beautiful, it has the capability to make me smile and cry simultaneously. If metal were to take the form of jazz but still contain hints of experimentation, Hectagons would lead the way. It is sheer musical expression of emotion and even if they did take on a vocalist, a human voice would never be able to compare to the sheer mirth and catharsis this music is capable of on its own. When they play a set, they have a tendency to catch the full attention of everyone in the room, sending each person on a musical adventure. The Rock Hill kids were victim to this effect as well as they banged their heads at different intervals, each encompassing a different rhythmic layer of what was being radiated throughout the pleasant acoustics of the room. Although we were all sweating more than we would at the Milestone on a one hundred degree day, we managed to suck up the energy to feel what we were experiencing. Enjoying the moment for what it was- sweaty musical bliss.
While Emotron is known for being dark, I must say that lately he has been getting darker and more sinister with each set. In some ways, I feel that he is reverting back to the ways of the old Emotron while still maintaining the influence he has obtained from sci-fi and drugs. This set, he began with a segment from what seemed like an Enya song, burning sage and doing some sort of cleansing ritutal. He immediately led into his songs, some parts a little more sped up than we have become used to but still maintaining the bellowing vocal style we are familiar with. In between segments of songs, for the first time in awhile, there was banter, some very unsettling, some with little sense to be had. Either way, it was very similar but different. The Emotron is progressing into something that only time will be able to show us. He altered his lyrics to “Busted” in the favor of fucking Matt Mose, making me giggle to every lewd detail but on the same token, added unsettling personal confessions of relationship difficulty in the next banter break. A very odd and intriguing contrast. Handfuls of Rock Hill kids got down like there was no tomorrow while others didn’t quite know what to make of it. You could tell some kids were old fans of the Tron and others may have not even had witnessed him before. Towards the end of the set, we got the pleasure of experiencing his new rendition of “Life Without Horses,” slowed down even more and as a result is even more eerie, depressing and beautiful. As of late, I am very interested to see what will come of the Emotron while he tours with Andy. If he keeps on the path he is going, something even more brilliantly unsettling and fantastic is in the prophecy.
Rock Hill is a good time and although they don’t have a copious amount of venue space there, the people who host their local shoes are good people. Mike, the guy who booked this show was trying his hardest to get kids to give donations to the bands for traveling to play. He and a handful of others were very hospitable, personable and laid back. Even though the scene-kids weren’t as generous or outgoing as I would’ve liked, they had a very distinct style and seemed to be close knit and enjoying themselves. I can’t help but respect people coming together in the name of music, even if it’s not common knowledge there how important it is to support it financially. All in all, I’m glad that Hectagons and Emotron were well received there. Rock Hill is a neat place, historically and creatively.
Check these boys out: