Finally found a copy of the Whart Z010 program floating somewhere online.
Well, on Saturday, Charles and I decided to swing by Whartscape slightly later. Our legs were unable to hold up to our original ambitious plan of seeing every artist from noon till past midnight.
We got to the outdoor Current Space at around 3, just in time to see Altered States come on. Altered States announced that they were out of good old Chicago. That immediately put me on their good side. The duo consisted of a drumming frontwoman and a guy on backing synths. Very cool setup. Also, very cool sound. Their music consisted of trance-inducing, tribal-sounding stuff that I don’t feel like classifying into any genre right now. The presence of a drumming frontperson amazed me. I’d never seen one before. Impressively, I’d see a couple more of those before the end of the day.
Following Altered States was Dope Body. Accurate band name — these cats were quintessentially dope. Their sound could be described as frenetic noise punk with some vicious, disgustingly bone-crunching distortion. Moreover, man, what transitions. While I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of punk, I have to say, I’m an absolute sucker for the punk-ish transitions that are stylistically affiliated with the genre. And these guys had brutal, visceral transitions in spades.
I liked Child Bite and Thank You, but I don’t remember exactly how they sounded. I simply remember that my ears were pleased.
Anyhow, with Ed Schrader, the streak of enjoyably distinct artists was broken by something “appreciatively” distinct. Charles and I decided it was a good time to take a break, and we went to get some delicious roasted duck from a nearby Chinese place.
We came back just in time for Ponytail. Awesome. Dustin Wong was awesome with his shrieking and outrageously enthusiastic guitar playing. Actually, “enthusiasm” is a good word to describe the whole band. Wikipedia describes their work as falling under the genres of art rock, surf rock, and noise pop. Those terms still mean nothing to me. All I know is that this band exuded fun from every fingertip, facial twitch, and sweat drop. Frontgirl Molly Siegel was batshit insane, face seemingly melting every few seconds throughout the set. Charles aptly stated what we all thought — the chick has an insanely flexible face. All said, Ponytail probably was the second or third favorite act I saw that weekend.
And after Ponytail, came my favorite act of the weekend — the Dan Deacon Ensemble. Not just Dan DJ’ing, which is what he usually does on his tour. This was a bombastic, cannons-ablaze setup, manned by over half-a-dozen people. This performance was just like the Ensemble’s at Lollapalooza last year — pure ecstasy. This is why I don’t have any urge to test out recreational drugs, for now; concerts are enough for me. Intense moshpit. I had to frequently come out for breathers. But people rubbing together, breathing heavily, sweating, grinning, convulsing in mellow moshpits — yeah, this thing kind of resembled mental, spiritual communal sex. I have little else to say and will now point you to these pictures, which regrettably, only capture a slightly bit of the jubilee that was present:
No Age was next on the schedule. Having seen their Pitchfork reputation and liked the little that I heard from their latest album, I had some moderately high expectations for their performance. Those expectations were ultimately left unfulfilled. The guys were competent, but simply sounded a bit too…normal, in comparison to everything else I’ve heard throughout the day, to appeal to me at the moment. That said, I was impressed by the appearance of another drummer frontman.
More power too all the drummer frontpersons of this world. How are they coordinated enough to sing and bash at the same time? How the fuck do they breath in enough oxygen to sing and bash at the same time? This sounds like grounds for an NIH study right here.
Arab on Radar followed No Age. Arab’s appearance was highly anticipated by festival-goers — the band was playing together for the first time since 2002. The reunion of the bandmembers was a big deal, because these guys were apparently East Coast noise legends. Amazingly enough, I was able to sit through their performance. The antics of the lead vocalist were kind of entertaining, even if his lyrics were downright juvenile. Too noise-y for me to really enjoy, but bearable enough for me to “appreciate.”
The night closed out with Lightning Bolt. Pure violence. Worst moshpit I’ve ever observed. Charles had the misfortune of being bounced right up to the front of the stage like a ragdoll, and didn’t escape for 20 minutes. I was luckier. Came across a pristine can of beer in the middle of the moshpit, which I quickly shared and chugged with a bro next to me, and was then able to quickly navigate to the fringes of the pit. I managed to get through the set without fat shirtless men sliming all up on me. The performance itself was a spectacle to behold. Nah, I wont be jamming to Lightning Bolt’s music while doing my homework anytime soon, but damn, the drummer was a fucking sight to behold. The third, last, and greatest drummer frontman of the day. According to Wikipedia, the guy’s name is this ordinary ‘Brian Chippendale.’ His playing was anything but. Fastest motherfucker drummer I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing. In addition to seeming having eight arms, the guy made frightening utterances through a miked-up, ghoulish-looking cloth mask. Arguably one of the sickest moments of the day was when some douchebag threw a cigarette but at Chippendale. He was playing so fast, his drumsticks sliced apart the cigarette in midair, disintegrating the once tangible object into an ethereal cloud of glowing ember-dust. Chippendale responded with a resounding middle finger. Charles abhorred the music in the set, but he admitted, “That guy is good at what he does.”
Too tired from slogging through moshpits, Charles and I trudged home for the night to recharge for one final day of music.