Friday, September 27, 2019

Gonerfest 16 Recap: Thursday

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 4:45 PM

click to enlarge Limes - ALEX GREENE
  • Alex Greene
  • Limes
"Usually, Thursdays are the slowest part of Gonerfest, but I don't think that's the case now!" remarked scenester and overall Gonerfest facilitator Gally Sheedy as she surveyed the packed crowd at the Hi-Tone Cafe last night. It was the only night of the festival that was not sold out, but any uncertainty over attendance was put to rest by the crowds packed in for the opening salvo.
click to enlarge Quintron and Miss Pussycat - CHRIS SQUIRE / ALLISON GREENE
  • Chris Squire / Allison Greene
  • Quintron and Miss Pussycat
It all began as music fans congregated near the Goner HQ in Cooper-Young, sampling the free beer and browsing for hard copies of their favorite records. Those checking in at the store received a free copy of The Happy Castle of Goblinburg, a special-edition audio play EP, chock full of synth skronks and other sound effects, produced by Miss Pussycat, longtime collaborator with Mr. Quintron. The New Orleans-based team are here in force for the weekend, with Quintron slated to join the Oblivians onstage tonight. Meanwhile, Miss Pussycat is opening an art exhibit focused on her inventive puppetry, The Puppet Worlds of Miss Pussycat, with the opening party tonight, 6:00-9:00 pm, at the Crosstown Arts gallery on Cleveland Street. The opening features a live performances of her puppet show "The History of Ancient Egypt," including the music of synth-primitivist BÊNNÍ.

Just down the street from the Goner store, the festival's thrusters fired up in the Cooper-Young gazebo with the music of Limes, led by singer/songwriter Shawn Cripps. Their mesh of crunchy guitar tones, sharp rock rhythms, and Cripps' acerbic lyrics were a perfect kickoff to the weekend's offerings. A sizable crowd flooded the corner, as Cripps quipped, "Gonerfest has really grown over the years. This feels like one of the better ones."

Later, fans gathered at the Hi-Tone Cafe for the opening night's lineup. The party spilled out of both the front and back doors, with the sea of humanity surging back into the club when each band's set began. By all accounts, Green/Blue and the Hussy got things going with slamming sets. Your faithful correspondent arrived just before some hometown favorites, Sweet Knives, took the stage. Their blend of off-kilter riffs, synth hooks, pounding rhythms, and razor-sharp harmonies from Lori McStay and Alicja Trout inspired the crowd to bounce and head-bob with abandon. 
click to enlarge Sweet Knives - ALEX GREENE
  • Alex Greene
  • Sweet Knives

Trampoline Team, from New Orleans, offered some serious thrashing to bring things back to the basics of slam and speed. Then, MC Bob McDonald set up the set by Simply Saucers by taking us back to their very beginnings in 1973. "Back then, there was no punk. It's Devo and it's them." And the band then launched into a remarkably eclectic set that was a vital reminder of proto-punk's anything-goes attitude.

click to enlarge Simply Saucers
  • Simply Saucers
Much as when John D. Morton's band X__X was showcased at Gonerfest 14, spotlighting Simply Saucers confirmed the strong historical perspective at work in Gonerfest's curation. From silky folk-rock harmony interludes, to pounding rock verging on Northern Soul, all built on an alt-rock chassis not unlike a harder-rocking early Brian Eno, Simply Saucer offered musical delights aplenty and kept the beats pounding.

Then Eric Friedl, aka Eric Oblivian, took to the stage to testify that following the night's closing act, as the Oblivians once had to do, was an impossible task. "Nobody can follow the King Brothers!" he declared, and, as the trio took to the stage, one member in a hockey mask, the club was filled with the sense that a terrible and beautiful storm was about to be unleashed.
click to enlarge King Brothers - ALEX GREENE
  • Alex Greene
  • King Brothers
Indeed it was, as soon as they took to the mic. "Are you REAAAAAADY??" screamed lead singer Keizo, before spitting out the words, "ALL NIGHT KING BROTHERS GO WILD PLAY SOME ROCK N ROLL!!", as the band launched into a ferocious onslaught. With riffs sometimes echoing old rock 'n' roll grooves, run through a sludge machine of fuzz guitar, the highlight was the non-stop drumming combined with shrieks and howls that made one's hair stand on end. Keizo displayed uncanny crowd-surfing skills, standing aloft and delivering piercing screams from near the ceiling. Inexplicably carrying this jet-fueled calamity for nearly an hour, the King Brothers shut down the Hi-Tone with aplomb. 
click to enlarge King Brothers - ANTON JACKSON
  • Anton Jackson
  • King Brothers

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