I headed to Skylab on Saturday night thinking I would introduce myself to John Malta, the artist who had invited me to that night's "This Might Be It" art exhibit, before moving on to other engagements that night. The lineup of experimental musicians didn't figure into my plans.

I headed to Skylab on Saturday night thinking I would introduce myself to John Malta, the artist who had invited me to that night's "This Might Be It" art exhibit, before moving on to other engagements that night. The lineup of experimental musicians didn't figure into my plans.

I never did meet Malta, but I did stay longer than expected after getting transfixed by the night's first musical performance, a tense and violent display of performance art under the name When the Dust Settles.

Despite the name, playwright Ben Turk's performance seemed to be much more about causing a stir than surveying the aftermath. With audio equipment stretched between two rooms, Turk turned a hefty bass amp on its back, laid a beat-up old bass across the speaker and climbed on top, essentially surfing barefoot on his bass.

Turk rocked back and forth, sending deep, bellowing drones through the sound system with each barely balanced sway. He toyed with a pair of effects pedals to manipulate the angry drones.

I held my breath as Turk teetered on the brink of his amp - "Is he gonna fall? Is his bass gonna shatter into a million pieces?" - until the tension found release when he ollied to the floor. A knob broke off the bass as it landed with a thunderclap.

The violence continued as Turk jammed the headstock into a notch in his amp, rocking the bass back and forth with fierce tweaks. The sheer physicality of it was startling, captivating and every bit as brutal as the ominous sounds emanating from the speakers.

Eventually Turk climbed back on top of his amp and later threw the bass across the floor, causing it to come unplugged briefly - by chance or by design, I'm not sure. After what felt like 10 to 15 minutes, the turmoil concluded.

What did it all mean? Possibly, it was a metaphor for the treatment of political prisoners. Instead of selling merch, Turk was distributing 'zines about abuses in the prison system and hyping prisoner support group Columbus Anarchist Black Cross.

Skylab can seem impenetrable or unapproachable sometimes, but occasionally it's worth it to experience something as thought-provoking as Turk's tumultuous display.