Published Feb 01, 2000Louisville, KY's the National Acrobat is not content to merely create music in an already accepted genre. They are driven to push aggressive music beyond its limits, in much the same way as fellow noise terrorists Ink and Dagger, Botch, the Refused and the Dillinger Escape Plan. Their exceptional The National Acrobat For All Practical Purposes is Dead EP (Arise Records) and two brilliant new releases (the It's Nothing Personal seven-inch on Hex Records and the Can't Stop Casper Adams EP on Status Records) have cemented the National Acrobat's creative vision.
But the Acrobat, rounded-out by Ryan and Evan Patterson (guitar), Casper Adams (vocals), Stephen George (bass guitar) and Phil Stosberg (drums), are quickly discovering that sometimes the envelope pushes back. Their mix of spastic rhythms, stop-start contortions, time-signature algebra and unyielding vocals have caused almost as much of a stir in the underground as their barely restrained performances, bizarre lyrics and stage banter, and a hometown resentment that once led the band to label themselves "Louisville's' most hated." Then there's a penchant for annoying album endings: a guitar riff played repeatedly for 20 minutes; an entire album played backwards from its end point; and a spoken word piece decrying an idiot filled world.
"It's all meant to provoke a reaction, to do something different," says Ryan, although he insists that the Acrobat isn't out to alienate anyone, even if it sometimes appears that way. "We really don't want to confuse or annoy people, we want to excite people. We definitely want to entertain them, but we want to push the boundaries of what people are used to.
"If you don't like our band, we don't care," he continues. "Every artist says that they make art for themselves, but you have to have an audience or it doesn't really matter. I want an audience, but if they don't get it, then that's fine by me. People don't understand what we are doing and that translates as not liking it. If people are like, Ah, his singing sucks,' well, I really don't think they understand what we are trying to do. They don't understand that we are not out there to try and be like a typical heavy band or sound like whoever. We are doing what we want to do."