One-Man Band Plays For One-Man Audience

AUSTIN, Texas — One man unwittingly “performed the work of many” at local rock club The Jackrabbit on Thursday night, when Austin native Stephen Barish was the only audience member for one-man D-beat band, Disguy.

“Sure, Disguy played a ton of instruments strapped to his back and legs, but [Barish] took it upon himself to be the entire crowd,” said Jackrabbit bartender Gwen Cross. “It was insane. One second he’s applauding; the next, he’s whipping a bottle at the musician’s head. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought there were at least, like, five people on the floor.”

“I’m no hero,” said an exhausted Barish after the show. “I just saw a need and did the best I could to fill it. Every musician needs an audience — even an anomaly like the one I just saw.”

Disguy, a.k.a. Jim Rufus, seemed oblivious that his entire audience was just one single person. “The whole crowd seemed really into it,” he said. “The stage lights kinda blinded me, so I couldn’t really see out … but, particularly during the two-minute epic ‘Corrupted Corruption,’ it felt like they were all, like, moving as one, ya know?”

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Barish, whose assemblage skills are all self-taught, has been practicing attending shows since he was 15.

“It’s not something I ever really took seriously — maybe a show or two a week. Basically, I just try not to look at my phone too much, and I usually clap after every song, even if it isn’t that great. If they’re struggling, I’ll give them some encouragement with a whistle, or a ‘woo.’ But trying to do all that at the same time … I didn’t know I had it in me.”

Barish, expected to wield his spectator skills again tomorrow at The Slab, is tentatively slated to be at DissonanceFest 2017 all weekend as well. Meanwhile, Disguy’s Bandcamp page offers no upcoming performance dates.

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Article by Dan Kozuh @k0zuh. Photo by William W. Ward and Thomas Fricilone @ThomasFricilone.

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