What exactly happened Sunday night at Death by Audio? Were the mildly traumatized Teeth Mountain fans seeing theater, or did the fun actually turn into bad blood? Because there was actually blood.
For those who missed it, Teeth Mountain’s Kate Levitt and Sham’s Jonathan Coward recently settled a supposed cat-killing-by-thrown-TV conflict on daytime TV’s very own Judge Judy. Since then, they’ve been mum on the relative veracity of the whole thing, though most close observers knew at first glance that it was a very clever, comedic stunt. (One that bummed the Judge Judy fans among us who really thought that “dueling wedding date bowling alley assaults” happen [episode 3705].)
So cue ten minutes into Teeth Mountain’s ecstatic set. It’s boiling over with percussive attack and billowing electronics, and there’s Jonathan Coward, throwing beer and cigarette butts at the performers, and then there he is again, onstage, making out with his boyfriend, and then oh look, he’s throwing percussionist Greg Fox’s shit all over the place, and now he’s going for Kate Levitt’s neck, which he gets, and the two half-struggle, half-pirouette around the stage. Can’t tell if we’re seeing a grimace or a grin. If you thought it was a joke, it was hilarious, until someone’s hand got cut open.
And even if you had heard murmurings prior to the fight that it might happen, you were probably disturbed by the intensity when it actually went down.
The band members seemed too shaken, or maybe just too pissed, to go on. “That’s some Baltimore bullshit,” went the mumbling, from someone. This is where one could argue that with the walls of “authenticity” in music-making crumbling, performative violence is the same as any other kind, as long as people get hurt, right?