Friday's shows seemed so much better than Saturday for me. Maybe it was the fatigue kicking in - ameliorated no doubt by the bad night's sleep at the Budget Inn motel or whatever it was called - stanky room, rough sheets, thin walls and I found a puddle in the bathroom from somewhere undefined.
I got back in time for Whatever Brains and Monument sets at Artful Dodger, an arty but servicable college bar right next to the Theater. Neither of these bands turned out to be too memorable for me - I had higher hopes for Whatever Brains and lower hopes for Monument and they were just okay. I stuck for one song of Piroutte but that wasn't happening either. There's just something so wrong about seeing a band in a bar when the sun is so high in the sky still.
On to Clementine where the initial novelty of Eternal Vacations got them through about one song for me but it quickly wore off. The band is a two person outfit like White Stripes and do a Deerhoof-ish hard psyche. It's a band worth watching I think - there's a spark of something there - just needs some feed and caring to get it out. (Speaking of which -- lots of two-person bands this year).
Super Vacations totally turned me off. It was like watching a bunch of apes except not as funny (think Lancelot Link's band). They do some sort of pysche-garage schtick but I didn't think they did it very well.
I then went up to one of the odder venues -- a living room sized apartment above a wine bar where Pygmy Lush just blew me away with their "quiet" set. It wasn't acoustic and the whole band was there - hard to believe this was the same band that played a Flipper Holish skater thrash set the previous night.
Caught the end of Cinnamon Band's set and was impressed. Another two man act with awesome sounding drums and interesting songs. The demo they are selling is a disappointment- -underproduced but not in a good way and the studio they used must have been rotten - but that's why they call it a demo. They deserve some larger exposure as they are local to the area.
Cinemasophia - I hate to be brutal but the thought that kept on repeating in my mind was "why hasn't this band broke up?" They don't seem to enjoy what they are doing, sound slightly under-rehearsed (just enough to be noticable). They do not play as a coterie of musicians should --- their drummer is all but ignored and the lead guitarist/singer seems oblivious of his other guitarist. I can kinda hear the Decemberists go garage vibe they are trying for but either they were having a bad day or they need to regroup.
Gifts From Enola - Answering the question as to whether we really need another Explosions in the Sky. I say no but the audience enthusiasm suggests yes.
Power Pill Fist - Oh, such wankery. Video-game electronics are layered while an old silly movie from the 60's or 70's plays and another screen shows some random computer graphics circa 1981. The movie choice was kind of funny -- it was about a guy who trolls for women in his helicopter and then takes him to his mansion where he feeds them to the cats. He has a bald fat guy with a limp and wearing a servants robe helping him. I was fuming though cuz it went on way too long and I wanted to hear the next act and not lose my seat.
Pattern is Movement - their new CD is of that genre that has yet to be named and probably never will - a sort of balance of Modern Classical, Show Tunes, Indie and Prog. PiM fill the room that Swami Sufjan left as he dallies in sabbatical. Yet they fill the room with impressionistic pieces where Sufjan is at heart a story teller and portrait artist.
Live, they are more of an assault on the senses than their studio work suggests - the drums are incredibly defeaning and the keyboards aren't as varied as in the album (often reminding me of this guy I used to play with at the Holiday Inn near the airport).
Lots of fat jokes between songs from Andrew Thiboldeaux
Final Jerry Springer thoughts:
- nice spacing between venues and huge variety of other restaurants and bars to chill out. Harrisonburg is a great place for a small music festival.
- the label expo was kind of sorry. Too band some of the labels that host the bands on the roster could'nt make it. There were more "non-label" vendors there than labels.
- I'm in awe and inspired at almost all the drumming I saw all weekend.
- There should be more small regional festivals like this. SXSW is the mother ship and its gotten way to big and way too much hype. Really - Rachel Ray is now validating bands???