The Pygmalion Music Festival has ended and we are all faced with the sad reality that it’ll be a whole year until it returns. For those of you who went, surely the memories will last you until next year. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we went for you. Over the course of the four day festival Brian McGovern, Caitlin Cremer and Joel Gillespie spent their evenings enjoying amazing live music so you didn’t have to. Here, the three writers talk about some of their favorite sets and show off some great, yet totally unprofessional pictures and video. Enjoy!
After an uneventful and almost begrudging set from Chicago’s Catfish Haven, the Krannert Art Museum needed to be brought back to life. Brooklyn’s Oxford Collapse did just that. Playing just as much in the small crowd as on stage, the trio moved around so much a clear photo from a mid-range digital camera couldn’t be taken. Despite some amp troubles, the band played a super-charged set that left the grateful audience wishing they could see more. _-BM_
With deafening speakers, stage dives, a high-powered leaf blower and a moshing tuba player, Dark Meat turned Thursday’s concert into an all-out assault on the audience. On the surface, the set could have seemed to be a noisy mess with a dozen musicians covered in face paint and glitter doing their best to destroy every attendee’s hearing, but it was so much more.
Not only was the showmanship superb, but the technical execution, particularly from the clutch drumming duo, kept the whole set from falling into a whirlpool of feedback and flat notes. They performed a balancing act and did so well. After the raucous set, the crowd could say they not only saw a Dark Meat show, they survived it. _-BM_
Dan Deacon picked up right where Dark Meat left off. The audience was completely under his control and Deacon turned them into a sweaty, pulsating mob. They took to the stage. They broke the stage. They participated in a competitive yet cordial dance contest.
Members of Dark Meat and Urbana’s own, Jonathan Childers, joined Deacon for his last song, but a crowd-surfer flying over Deacon’s head and onto the cracked stage signified that enough was enough. Though the audience was left wanting more, Deacon’s set couldn’t be seen as anything other than a success. _-BM_
I’ve seen art displays and speeches in Krannert Art Museum’s link, but the closest I ever saw of a music performance was the audio on a student’s video project. I never imagined it could be a venue.
When I walked in to see Owen, however, the sound was clear and even. I would even say the quality was better than the Void Room at Canopy. I’ve never listened to Owen before, but after hearing Mike Kinsella’s classically smooth indie music, I’ll add some hits to his Myspace page. _-CC_
Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
The second best (first being Hood Internet) performance from someone I didn’t know before was Thao with The Get Down Stay Down. Not only has Thao Nguyen claimed my designated ‘girl-crush’ position, but her deep, brassy voice and matching folk guitar could seduce a cranky old man. Willis Thompson on drums and Adam Thompson on bass completed the band’s atmosphere by perfectly complementing Nguyen. -CC
As usual, Santa succeeded in getting a group of girls to jump around while whooping and dancing to their up-beat tunes. The sound clarity was great and every performer in the link benefited from the venue. The only technical downfall was the lights. They went out on the right side of the stage and made it hard for my eyes and my made-for-the-general-population camera to make out the features of Tommy Trafton (keys), Otto Stuparitz (bass) and Steve Plock (drums) despite the groups new addition of a blue-tinted, shell lamp on stage. _-CC_
Hailing from Wauconda, Illinois, Dr. Manhattan made themselves at home at the Red Herring on Friday night. With frequent assistance from members of Tall Tale, who played the preceding set, Dr. Manhattan lived up to their reputation as a high-energy live act. Their bassist, who bore more than a passing resemblance to Borat, spent as much time bounding on laps through the crowd as he did playing his instrument, but their pop-punk compositions didn’t seem to suffer for it. _-JG_
The Foundry Field Recordings
Friday night, there was a great lineup of bands that played the front room at the Canopy Club leading up to the Black Mountain show, and Columbia, Mo.’s The Foundry Field Recordings stood out from the pack for me. Despite some equipment struggles that resulted in their singer asking, “Does anyone have a brick?” they cranked out 45 minutes worth of crowd-pleasing mid-’90s alt-rock (how’s that for a hyphenated mess). Their lead guitarist was gawky and awkward-looking while stationary but left an entirely different impression when each song kicked him into motion. _-JG_
As a festival headliner and the only band who played the main room at the Canopy Club on Friday night, Black Mountain faced sizable expectations from the near-capacity crowd when they took the stage at midnight. They spent the next 56 minutes cranking out their unique mix of sludgy psychedelia, bringing the audience close to a head-banging release but never really cresting. I think that the experience would be better enjoyed over a longer set, but if your major complaint about a festival show is that you wish it were longer, then it must have been pretty decent. _-JG_
The Hood Internet
I looked at my wrists and then at the jumping, tangled crowd in front of me. I think to myself, “you are much too fragile to jump into that. Much too fragile.” But, there was only a small amount of space allotted to dance in the curtained-off side stage I snuck behind to take some pictures and, frankly, it wasn’t too much fun.
So I jumped into the Hood Internet’s intoxicated crowd and danced to the pumping mash-ups and remixes. To top it off, I didn’t get hurt and someone always helped me slip my shoe back on when it got lost amongst the other sets of pounding shoes.
After initiating another round of getting-on-the-stage-even-though-you-aren’t-suppose-to with a friend of mine, and feeling about 20 other people’s sweat drip onto my damp skin, I was thrilled with the night and the potential of the “remix” once more. _-CC_
Yo La Tengo
Indie legends, Yo La Tengo, put on an amazing show at the Krannert Center’s Festival Theater. Drawing from new material as well as classics like “Autumn Sweater” and “Tom Courtenay,” the trio played a balanced and satisfying set.
After a crowd-pleasing encore, Ira Kaplan and James McNew led the audience to the theater’s exit, maracas in hand, chanting “goodbye” as the appreciative spectators left. Though the festival went on into the night, it served as a fitting end to a great festival. _-BM_