Sunday, April 03, 2005

Some Need Change - MacRoCk 2005

Our Trees Are Snakes

Songs of the moment to listen to while reading:

"Hold On Tight" - en francais (CD-R)
"Limits" - en francais (from CD-R - contact them at enfrancais at gmail dot com if you want a copy)

"There was a lot of dancing... and a lot of fighting"

Actually there wasn't much of either but when I got home this was the only thing I had written in my journal, a random snippet I heard while waiting for the last band to set up on Friday.

Lots of wool cap, trucker hats and even a hoodie spotted on the bands. For the most part, the bands I saw were great and entertaining. I arrived in the middle of Pattern is Movement's set. Their singer, a big man, with a red wool cap and three days beard growth and a fantastic man in the moon chin was charasmatic to say the least. They sound very different live than their CD, the latter is very much a Sufjan Stevens rip - that's not to say I don't enjoy their CD - it and the Saxon Shore EP were fine accompaniement to an early morning Skyline Drive drive (picture above).

had at least two impressive songs - most notably "The Devil's Interval" and the final song (I didn't catch the name). Their "effects" guitarist is amazing - if you get a chance to see them, stand on the right side of the stage to witness him. I missed En Francais but I bought their CD-R - which is innovatively packaged as an old 5 1/2 inch floppy disc. It's some very fine twee shoegazer pop. Shapiro also played at one point but I went out in search of some hot tea. Unfortunately, all I could find was a soda machine as the University cafeteria ("please, Sirs, may have some chickpeas in the salad bar?") had just closed.

Saxon Shore were up next. They're a new agey-shoegazer-instrumental band. One thing I noticed is the amount of tension between the two guitarists - one is a spastic noise-feedback guy and the other is a passive space-head. They never looked at each other during the show and when the space-geek's guitar strap broke, spastic guy almost beaned him with a replacement strap. The tension, though, helps the band create an interesting live sound. Their reformed skinhead bassist and drummer anchor their sound. Now all they need are some lyrics.

Chris Leo performed songs from his book. In case you don't know him, he's written a novel called White Pigeons in which the 7th Chapter is a CD which is inserted in the book at exactly the seventh chapter. It's a fake band from the book called The Breaks as played by Vague Angels. Although the leader character in the book is named Chris, he says in the forward that he isn't the Chris so I suppose the The Breaks aren't Van Pelt either. He played with an acoustic guitar and a vaguely Lou Reed in a modern stream of conciousness type delivery.

My Uncle Is Over There

The ineptly named Decibully (sounds like a skinhead band), played a fine set of, what do we call it? - Eclectic rock - country-indie-rock-classical-pop. The highlight was the 1st song from their new CD ("I'm Gonna Tell You") and an amazing cover of "John Walker Blues" (Steve Earle) - they plan to put up a live MP3 of the latter on their site. Their new CD, Sing Out America!, was one of the highlights of the ride back home (through pouring rain and foggy Virginia hills. They deserve to be considered right up there with the other Eclectics such as Arcade Fire, Shins and Decemberists. I would support a name change, though. Ignore at your own risk.

Travis Morrison combines a sort of self-efacing stand-up and funny, bittersweet songs. He apologized often saying that he's on tour with a band and felt real out of place doing the solo thing. He played some new songs and a few from Travistan ("The Internet really liked that album" - he noted sarcastically). He told some good stories, both musically and in words and had the best time with the audience out of all the performers.

By the time Sunburned Hand of Man set up, I was pretty burnt out but so was the rest of the audience because everyone sat down. The band is like a more edgey extended Grateful Dead Space jam. With a collective of seven unique musicians playing all sorts of instruments, one could have curled up and gone to sleep to the din. The only band that seemed to get the Harrisonburg cops and the University security guys uneasy but all in all I wished I had gone over to the Black Mountain show but the rain was pretty nasty and the walk from the parking lot to the other venue was too long.

Up Yonder, Sallye found a Sailor's body

Here's the booty I returned with:

Fall Records Label sampler, volume two (free)
Exit Clov promo (free)
ahleuchatisias - the same and the other CD
astralwerks New Music 05 comp (free)
Mortar and Pestle CD
sheet rock records comp (free)
Immigrant Sun records comp (free)
Jacob Zachary Fury and Spin CD
pattern is movement - the (im)possibility of longing CD
ambiguous city sampler CD (free)
insound 2005 spring/summer catalog
Dinosaur Jr (1st album remastered - sounds great) on Merge records CD
A Dinosaur Poster (free)
A iTunes code for Radar Brothers song from Merge
Polyvinyl 2005 CD (free)
Saxon Shore untitled 2005 EP-CD
Equal Vision Records New Sounds Vol 2 CD (free)
Decibully Sing Out America CD
en francias CD-R
White Pigeons book/CD by Chris Leo

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