I have thoroughly enjoyed today. Started off with a fine brunch and a briskly cold walk at Seward Park with a lovely lady and ended with awesome music.
The Vera Project was less populated than the first two venues, but I was talking with one of the organizers of the festival while I was buying a bunch of loot and it appears that The Cumulus Festival will continue next year sometime as they have done well. I’m very glad about that and I let Mark, the organizer I was speaking with, know that I was appreciative of his and the other organizer’s efforts. It was great to see some of the same people at all the shows and to be reminded that our music scene is so diverse and awesome. Man, what a great day I had today.
Waves and Radiation
I made it in time for the first band today! Possibly because the show started at 4:00. W ‘n’ R are a four piece of standard two guitar, bass and drums configuration. Though, the word is that their drummer played his last show with the band this afternoon. Their set was the soundtrack to an alternate movie version of Moby Dick that I daydreamed about while they played. The whale, swimming for miles looking for food, while, out of nowhere a ship attacks it. An epic battle ensues, but the whale takes many casualties and escapes. He spends time healing in solitude and sending out lonely, plaintive cries. Once he is done healing, he moves to California and holds awesome rock parties with celebrities and loud bands and lives large off all of the movie rights to his story. Eventually, Captain Ahab finds him by reading about his exploits in the tabloids and another epic battle ensues. This time, the victor is the Captain. The world mourns the loss of the great whale and sentences Ahab to death, which he does not accept so gracefully. My theme tonight is soundtracks. They are all going to be this weird.
The Friendly Skies
Finally a two-piece! I was expecting lots more minimalism at the festival, I guess. TFS use a guitar and drums and some keys and loops and some ninja magic to make the guitar half bass and half regular guitar. They are the perfect soundtrack to a leisurely drive down the coast. Wonderful melodies and fantastic drumming make the wind tousle your hair and the sea breezes wash away all the pain of city life. Though your car might break down a few times, you’ll get back on the road and live your life because it feels awesome right now. I bought a record and a CD. The drummer was suffering from a cold and his floor tom kept falling over. The guitarist was having electrical problems with his pedal and tuning problems with his guitar. Despite these equipment difficulties, I was still impressed by the duo. Yay, Portland!
I had heard the name Snowman Plan bandied about many times and seen it on quite a few of those DIY shows that I meant to go to but never did. I’m glad I finally got a chance to listen. They were without a drummer: “Our drummer is not here because he was poisoned, but I made a robot drummer for us to play with.” So, it was drum machine, crazy 8-bit sounding samples, bass, violin, and cello for the three people there tonight. The violinist may have been the same one from Beast, Please Be Still but I’m too tired to look it up right now. Snowman Plan played the soundtrack to TRON 2 (which they are actually making? (but not with my awesome plot)) this afternoon. The battle between technology and classical thought. The one where the MCP finds a way to send Sark into the real world even though he was derezzed. Old programs never die. No, nevermind, Snowman Plan is the soundtrack to the SEGA CD game for the movie TRON 2 that I just described. A cool mix of 16-bit music plus actual recorded music. I won’t ruin the movie and tell you who wins.
You May Die in the Desert
YMDITD is a power trio + iPod. They were possibly the mathiest band of the weekend with cool technical lines and tapping guitars and rocking out. A long time ago my band was lucky enough to play two shows with them, one at Ground Zero with Joules and one that I put together at The LAB with Woke Up Falling. They’ve come a good long way in that time. Their shirts are much fancier now. And they sound like the soundtrack to the Godzilla prequel that I’m going to make up right now. Godzilla is in dinosaur love with his beautiful green wife, minding his own business. A Japanese warship glides over their underwater lair and accidentally slices off the head of his wife. Needless to say, he is pissed. The soundtrack to his revenge is a bit weird and destructive at the same time. Yet it’s marginally whimsical as the scientists anxiously discuss their next move. All the while Godzilla is in another scene blasting the hell out of Tokyo. Just you wait, it will decimate the city. You cannot stop him except by killing him. When a dinosaur loses his wife in a tragic boating accident, he throws down hard. Just like YMDITD does when they play. Just like I like it.
I’ve talked about Bronze Fawn about a million times on here. I really like them a lot. It’s hard to even make a soundtrack metaphor, since they bring their own video guy who makes videos right on the spot for listeners and viewers to enjoy. The only thing I could think of would be the soundtrack to an expedition in Antarctica. That loneliness and little bit of melancholy. That lurking danger of freezing to death and then, occasionally, success in your mission, whatever it may be. And then a Megalodon eats your face off. On an unrelated note, I mentioned that Bronze Fawn might be on my makeout playlist if I had one. It turns out I was 100% correct on that intuition. Not that I was making out with anyone while they were playing, but at least four couples were entwined in a loving embrace during their set. I guess it shows my state of mind when I’m thinking about freezing to death in Antarctica while everyone else is thinking about what their kids will look like or how to show someone they care without showing they care too much and therefore looking needy. Man, Bronze Fawn is good.
What a great festival this was. I’m so glad it went off so well. I learned about some new bands and experienced stuff I never would have checked out otherwise. I didn’t love every band, but I didn’t really hate any of them. Favorites of the weekend were Bronze Fawn, You May Die in the Desert, Beast Please Be Still, and This is a Process of a Still Life. I would have liked to seen Panther Attack, Bird Show of North America, Rooftops, Mikaela’s Fiend, Sweet Potatoes (to mess with the purists, how about a mostly vocal band?) and, screw it, Don Caballero. But I didn’t put this festival together, and it’s entirely likely that no one would go to any show I put together. Hopefully, a ton of people enjoyed the festival. I know I did, but now I’m ridiculously tired and need to sleep in a bad way. I just stared at that sentence for a minute. I just spelled sentence with an i (and then deleted it). I’m done.
** Old Wordpress comments **
David - The Friendly Skies says:
January 26, 2009 at 10:12 am
Thanks for the write up and to all the bands who performed…it was fun, fun, fun!
January 26, 2009 at 10:35 pm
No problem. Thanks for the record and CD! And yes, the festival was awesome!
February 2, 2009 at 9:37 pm
Just wanted to give you thanks for showing up, braving all three shows, and giving write ups to boot. Epic win.
February 2, 2009 at 10:55 pm
No, thank you for putting it on. Can’t wait until next year!
Philip - Waves and Radiation says:
February 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm
Thanks for the write up Don! I’m glad you took away epic sea battle images from our set. It’s fitting. The last song we played that day is actually titled “And We Knew Madness in the Dark of Leviathan’s Throat” and is very much about that.
February 4, 2009 at 6:11 pm
Nice! I win at describing! Thanks again for playing!