On Friday night, several artists gathered to support the Traysh Island Music Festival, a young event in Ohio founded by the Chesterhill Arts Collective that will serve as a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Conrad Freiberg’s 11-sided stellar observatory at 8550 Ohio 377 on August 24 and 25.
The event also served as a farewell show for legendary lo-fi artist R. Stevie Moore, who came out of retirement for a month-long European tour, and like some kind of rock and roll Yoda thrashed and bounced around onstage for about an hour and then hobbled off to the green room with the help of a cane.
While there was no alcohol on the premises, there was an especially flavorful batch of Tang at the ready for thirsty show goers, along with roasted corn and other innocuous snacks and beverages.
During the opening set of the show, Alta Vida, led by Traysh founder Jason Ajemian added to the all-ages feel of the show – a feel augmented by the presence of a stroller at the side of the dance floor – by inviting his niece, a middle schooler, on stage to show the audience the moves to a dance she choreographed called the “ATM.”
“My dad made a song about it and he told it to my uncle,” she said, with her mother adding, “Her uncle used to babysit her, and sometimes they would play music together. This is one of the songs that stuck and he took it to his band and they liked it, so they added it to their set.”
Madeline’s mother spoke in support of the Knockdown Center’s push to become a legitimate concert space, and didn’t see what all the fuss is about.
“It’s a really nice place, and if you look around here with the trees and bushes, it’s a great getaway from the everyday,” she said.
Other music at the Traysh benefit included the psychedelic dirges Little Band of Sailors, the tightly percussive soulfulness of Zenia Rubinos, the happy-go-lucky swayings of the almost-too-entertainingly drunk Jimmy Whispers – who insisted on crowd surfing even though there were barely enough people to hold him up near the stage – and sets by Don Christian, Jaytram and Leblaze.
The Knockdown Center was originally built in 1903, and was recently restored by Tyler Myers and company. The name of the venue comes from the Knock-Down Door Buck doorframe, an efficient improvement to the construction of the one-piece steel doorframe. The K-D frame made the transportation easier and revolutionized the industry and was manufactured in The Knockdown Center for three generations.
The factory has already hosted some high-profile events, including a recent concert by M.I.A., as well as a handful of Roberta’s Tiki Disco events.
By around 10 p.m., the factory floor started to get a little more crowded, but still the crowd of around 70 bobbers and weavers were fairly subdued. Long story short, while the Knockdown rocked pretty hard on Friday night, come Saturday morning, the doors were still on the hinges.
Apart from its use as a music venue, the space also has a two-week art installation planned for June 15 through July 5. Concurrently on June 21, the center will host the Maspeth World of Wheels Extravaganza, celebrating the automobile as a symbol for manifest destiny in American culture.