On June 28, Andy the Doorbum bid a fond ‘farewell’ to Charlotte and the surrounding stomping grounds which he has called home for, what fans refer to as, an ‘era’. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to film his send-off: a high of 82, humidity in the low 40’s and only the most cartoony of clouds to welcome everyone to the Ghetto Fortress (The Milestone). Alien-Native signs were posted in front of the doorway, all for sale in an effort to fund Andy’s future endeavors. The night to follow was a journey through the Doorbum timeline, beginning with the door-booth.
“That was really surreal, seeing him signing me in at the door,” someone in the crowd said. Andy was handing out armbands and hugs to start the night. It has to be said that the bands were not only in their best form, but occupied a well-deserved spot on the stage. For the past few weeks, after hearing that Andy would be leaving, talks of “the scene is dead” were heard near and far. At one point, when introducing a song about the things you leave behind, someone shouted “what are you leaving behind, Andy?” and was returned with “a fucking scene!” by another fan.
While the general consensus of the fans/family formed around Andy the Doorbum is bittersweet, seeing him go, there is certainly no death to be found in this scene. Like an actor walking out of frame, they’re not dead, the plot is merely progressing. Mikal KHill said it best on Facebook: “I never saw any ‘Create Until I Leave’ stuff, I only ever saw ‘Create or Perish.’ If the scene is dead in six months, it won’t be because Andy isn’t around to inspire us, it will be because you and I killed it through inaction.”
Marc Mues and I created a little Andy the Doorbum video package of the night of the farewell performances, and some words from those who admire him most. Check it out for interviews with Andy himself and some of the performances, especially if you couldn’t make it.
So as the scene moves on, so did this concert, beginning with a solo set from Bo White (Patois Counselors & Bo White Y Su Orquesta). His hands walked a fine line on the bass he played, a slight reverb distortion added. I imagine that the line-up of the show was done with mood in mind, as White set the tone of surreal and forlorn. I had not heard or met him prior to this event, but his work as well as attitude resonated with me in many ways.
We talked with The Emotron at Andy’s merch table. The full interview can be found in the video, but one thing he was adamant about was helping sell what was left of Andy’s wares. They’re probably still available as this article has gone live, check here for availability.
Between sets, as more and more people piled in, the heat-exchange became oppressive, and more people “came out of the woodwork,” said one fan. One of those hand-carved people was Robert Childers, another local face with so much talent running through his veins. His set-list included some old favorites from each of his projects: Luciferian Agenda, 2013 Wolves and his solo work. These songs are acoustic, with only a tom drum and a guitar. From this set, it was apparent that they night was going to crescendo more and more with each performer.
As Childers broke down the stage for the next act, I went looking for more people to talk about Andy and his influence. Rachel Harper, who seems much more than a fan, but family, said “I’m really excited, but bummed — it’s very fucking bittersweet.”
The Nerve Endings went on, and I had never heard a single lick from them before. I was right when I predicted the night accelerating toward the bon voyage. The Nerve Endings put on such a memorable performance that they stole the show at points. With some short and slamming songs to fill the night, this band got the blood pumping and created some very real inertia. As the venue slowly inched toward capacity, front-man Sterlin Hammond brought the heat. Halfway through their set they brought Andy on for a cover of a JesusLizard song.
The Nerve Endings wrapped up, and the usual dispersal happened, Neal Harper spinning records in the shadows. “[we’re] sending off Andy the same way we back him,” was heard from someone headed to the patio. In the mean time, Hectagons began to set up on stage, something that was a bit of a surprise when the show was announced. A group consisting of a 808, a double-bass, and a banjo is something I never expected to love so much. Buck, Aswell and Korey Dudley bring on a fierce fusion in their music. I won’t even bother trying to dream up a genre to stick them with. It’s thumping, fast-paced and a frenzy of talent. Put these guys on your list of ‘Things to Listen to’.
The crowd all felt Andy’s set coming up, and remained glued to the stage after Hectagons had dispersed. Buck remained there with his banjo, while Andy dashed around to prep. As half of the crowd stood by the main stage, Andy was heard tuning up from the door-booth. That’s where his set began. With only an acoustic guitar and a mic, he played a couple of his first songs.
People began regretting not using the bathroom at a more opportune time, as those were blocked for about ten minutes. After two songs, Andy moved from the booth to the main stage, where Buck and Ricky Culp (Hectagons, Pig Mnt, Base of Bass, etc.) were waiting on banjo and sax for Andy to arrive. They were joined by Rachel Harper at one point, Alea Tuttle at another point and MoMo Hughes.
During the set, Aswell was seen behind the stage monitors, crestfallen and basking in the music. “You’re making us cry, Andy. Damnit!” someone in the crowd shouted. I notice in the back that three people have donned black robes, one also wearing a “Change is coming” sign around their neck. I felt the next stage of Andy’s timeline coming on.
By then the crowd had compacted like cozy little sardines, sniffling. As if what Andy’s purpose had been was not only to encourage art, but to unify the artists. As the spectres arrived on stage, with only one spotlight on them, Andy had smeared white paint all over his face, and folie sounds are heard over the PA. The crowd is given a reminder of the Alien-Native movement from April, and this ends with Andy taking a sledgehammer to (what is rumored to be) his first guitar.
In closing, Andy plays a song ‘dedicated to Laura’, in which the chorus repeats “gonna miss North Carolina.” As if he really needed to, he calls for people to sing along, and they do. He expresses his love for those in attendance, and his set ends.
Attendees all felt different ways and expressed those feelings in different ways, and in true Buck fashion, he picks up the smashed guitar shouting “I got the guitar, guys!” and runs off. Someone was overheard saying “tonight’s been really weird for me, I hope he knows how much he means to [us].” I decided to move through the crowd listening: “he’s a very beautiful person,” and “he came out to one of my shows and said it was good, and I was like ‘you think MY stuff is good?’”
For footage of the show, check out the video. It includes interviews not seen here, and some of the last Andy The Doorbum performances for the foreseeable future.
*Correction: Jonathan Hughes’ name is misspelled in the following video.