Fun with electricity

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March 21, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

During the first week of third grade, my son was asked to make a poster about himself, his hobbies and all the things he liked, including music. I didn't know about this project until I attended the school's open house about a month later, only to be greeted at the door of my son's class with a big poster in crayon of a Savage Aural Hotbed (SAH) performance, complete with fire and chainsaws, with a detailed description of why my son liked them so much. At the bottom of the poster there was a little handwritten note from my son's teacher saying, "I don't know who this is, but they sound really interesting!"

I tell you, my heart was just busting with pride, standing there in a hallway full of drawings of Britney Spears and Yu-Gi-Oh! monsters, knowing that my son had chosen to write about SAH over all these other more heavy-handed influences in his life. But then, of course, it's at times like these that I have to decide between whether I have a really cool, interesting-in-a-good-way kid, or I'm just an overbearing, domineering mother who won't allow her son to think for himself.

"Little boys just love us, because we play with power tools and set things on fire," Savage Aural Hotbed member Mark Black said when I told him about my son's poster. "Little girls just like to dance to our music."

He didn't offer any insight on whether I'm a bad parent.

For four days in a row, the four-piece combo of Mark Black, Stuart DeVaan, William Melton and Dean Hawthorne, will be performing a piece written especially for the Southern Theater called "The Rate of Mass Displacement Is Momentum" - a percussive/construction performance that tracks the "life" of an empty lot, from junkpile to construction site.

"Since we are going to simulate the life history of a vacant lot, we're going to enhance the junk percussive aspect of Savage Aural Hotbed," Black explained. "On one side of the stage, we're going to have a mock-up of a radio tower, all the way up to the ceilings, and we're going to use part of it as a bass drum - a 6-foot-diameter bass drum. We're going to have an old vandalized shack on another side of the stage, and we're going to build instruments right on stage with some of the junk we 'find' on the vacant lot. We're going to build things right on stage, including a little building. All very musically, of course," he said, laughing.

"We've been really inspired by all these big construction sites all over town," he added. "I'm always going through that industrial part of Northeast Minneapolis on my way to work each morning, so I see all these lots with just crap laying around in them, and I always think, 'Oh, that'd sound good to bang on!' so we decided to use just that as a theme, to give more of a structure to the show."

- Th-Su March 24- 27; Th-Sa 8 p.m.. Su, 7 p.m.

Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S.

Th $14, all other days $17. 340-1725.

Holly Day can be reached at