A little over 16 years ago I was living in the Durham/Chapel Hill area, surely a time and place that would rank highly in a list of the densest concentrations ever of rabid indie music hipsters. Being 1994, the Internet was just starting to transition from a mostly a college kid phenomena, and the vivacious online community dedicated to the local music scene had long been the alt.music.chapel-hill Usenet group.
One of my favorite local bands of the time was Pine State, a country band with the punk ethos of doing just fine with more attitude than talent (aka Psychobilly, they got better over time). A Pine State show at the Duke Coffeehouse is still on my top 10 shows list. Pretty much all of the members of Pine State had been vocal active members of alt.music.chapel-hill before and during the life of the band. The Usenet group had, by this time, started to eat itself with the self-loathing that is a common part of the hipster lifecycle.
At a show in December of 1994 I arranged with the band to set up my girlfriend's old TRS-80 hooked up to a small TV on the front edge of the stage. As the first band was setting up, I spent about 30 minutes hand coding a BASIC program to scroll the words ALT MUSIC CHAPEL-HILL repeatedly. I had to do it by hand because there was no storage device on the computer, and because the computer display area didn't fit on the screen, half of the input area was off the edge of the screen so I did much of it blind. We had to leave it running during the opening acts since turning it off would erase the code.
At the end of the Pine State set, they smashed the TV and computer with a pick-axe, to great delight of all. Certainly much of the audience that night, like most nights, were members of the group.
I was reminded of this tonight when my friend Guff sent me a link to a treasure trove of show videos from this time period. I remember seeing video cameras running at a lot of these shows, but never expected to ever see the tapes. As you see above, I found video from that show. Unfortunately I haven't yet found a shot of the actual TRS-80 getting trashed, but I think I'm going to be lost in this video library a lot over the next few weeks, so maybe it will show up. Now if I can just find clips of crowd-surfing during Nashville Pussyat the 1997 Sleazefest.
Ah good times.