Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fortified Winter Antifolk Fest Continues, Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Women Wizards of Rock had booked the 7 to 10 p.m. part of the evening. I arrived just after their show ended but there were still a lot of women wizards floating around and selling women wizard merchandise and stuff. When I made it to the back room and settled in to a seat near the right benches, one of the women wizards came back to gather up the stuff she'd left there and asked if I would mind passing her her wand.

Preston Spurlock was the first act of the night who was really part of the Antifolk Fest. I've always been a big fan of Preston and I enjoyed his set. He played standing behind his little Yamaha keyboard with a guitar strapped on at the same time. Almost all of his songs are accompanied by the Casio-like rhythmic sounds from the keyboard. I noticed in particular the richness of the language in many of his songs.  Preston and I both grew up in Florida and so I identify very much with a song he played about how the state basically has been turned over to real estate developers and considering how much it's been ruined maybe the best option would be to cut it away. He also did his song saying that before he dies he'd like to be put into cryogenic freeze (everybody sing: "Put--me into cryogenic freeze, put--me into cryogenic freeze). A lot of Preston's songs are about life span, and concerns about growing old. He also played his song "Live Long Die Out," which if I'm getting this right--he once explained is about living a long life and then dying without reproduction so the species eventually ends. Preston was wearing his red and blue wool pullover hat the whole time he played and also has this way of letting his hair fall so that his face is covered when he performs.  After his last song, he knocked over the music stand and chairs and stuff in a moment of Preston slapstick.

Next up were The Relatives, who seemed to be performing with their extended family on Saturday. In addition to the trio that I've seen play the Open Mic recently, the group was supplemented by additional members on drums, violin, clarinet, and acoustic  bass. The Relatives play a gentle, old-timey, kind of repertoire with nice vocal harmonies. You kind of imagine them sitting around on a porch on a Saturday night singing for the fun of it. They played original songs, traditional pieces like "In the Pines," and covers like "Strangers" by the Kinks. I'm curious to find out more about how this group of younger folks came together with a mutual interest in this style of music. They've obviously worked hard at what they're doing and have crafted a very nice sound. Katie Vogel, Ian McLellan Davis, and Gabriel Gall are the three main members of the group.

Phoebe Kreutz kept saying that she was suffering from a soar throat, but while maybe there was a tad less vocal energy than usual--even that was hard to tell and she put on a great set. She played "I'm sorry I called you a dumbass," about her dumb but good-looking boyfriend, and the song about her love for Gary the new guy at Taco Bell, as well as one about Tijuana. The first few songs were accompanied by a friend on guitar and Gary Adler on piano. Phoebe's songs are very funny and sharply written. I'm always impressed in particular by her ability with rhyming. Phoebe also demonstrated a song from a musical she is writing with Gary about the first Thanksgiving (the show  is called Thanks!). She and Gary played "How," a fun comic love number between a Pilgrim girl and an Indian (Native American) guy who can communicate their feelings with basically only one word (that word being "How"). I'd love to hear more songs from the show. She also played a song about her pledge to no longer drunk dial, one about feeling depressed in Paris, and a recent song about being in a Horrible Mood. She and Matt (last name?) played a duet on kazoos.

Finally there was Huggabroomstik. I'm used to Huggabroomstik being an army of members but Saturday they played with just Dibs on guitar, Liv on bass, Preston on keyboard, and Neil on guitar and most of the vocals. I also seem to remember the group as pretty noise oriented, but Saturday they focused on a group of more crafted songs. I particularly like the one about riding in a suitcase to a deserted island. "Certain creatures serve you, other ones enslave you and make you do their bidding." Ok, some of the repertoire toward the end got a bit scatological but in general there were some nice songs. And Neil did not disappoint us. He removed his pants as he often does. I liked Dibs's comment at the beginning of the set that "we always look to see how many people are here when we start because at the end there are usually none." Well, that wasn't true the other night. Despite the late hour Huggabroomstik had a group of fans who stuck it out to the end.

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