|Future Islands at Night One of Spazz Fest|
at LIVE Club in Greenville, NC
Motor Skills started out the night and set the bar pretty high, I'm always taken aback by the guys in this band each time I see them whether it be with Old Bricks or Motor Skills. They know exactly what they want to do with their sound and they're exploring the depths of it with every performance I see. Between the ethereal vocals that provide for a perfect offset to the deep bass booms that usually start out the song and the bands use of jaunting rhythms banged out on the drums placed beside them, theres always something new that I find about Motor Skills to pick out and say "Hey, I really liked that". It's also great to see how dedicated the bands truly are to the cause of Spazz Fest this year as well in helping out with Justin Flythe's treatment, it proves how tightly knit this community of musicians truly is in North Carolina and it's something incredible. Motor Skills continue to improve with every live show I see, so needless to say I'm already anxious to see them again.
After Motor Skills, the experimental noise-pop band from Baltimore, Thank You, took the stage. The bands set something that left me completely taken aback, it was certainly not what I was expecting from the band but it was a pleasant surprise. The only negative aspect of the night though shined through during their set, the mixing of the vocals was downright bad, very hard to distinguish and really took away from some of the songs. Regardless the band powered through and made the best of it, getting some of the crowd dancing along to their blasting rhythms. Thank You has built a sonic landscape filled with numerous layers and textures and it provides for an absolutely enthralling listening experience, especially at a live show. Also, around 90% of the time the drummer was going ham, something I can always get behind. Thank You grasped my attention and kept it in their hands until the last note, something that not all bands can do. Very interesting group and a very interesting sound.
When Future Islands finally came to the stage I'd go ahead and wager that a good amount of the crowd had plenty of drinks in them, and admittedly so did Future Islands (I believe "I'm fucking drunk as shit" was the memorable quote from Sam) but sober or not this was a set that moved you, both physically and emotionally. Playing favorites such as "Tin Man" and "Inch of Dust", Future Islands powered through an incredible set that felt like it flew by. I've heard great things about the bands live performance, but nothing compares to seeing it first hand. Sam Herring running around the stage with the ferocity of a punk band, belting out heartfelt lyrics through earthy growls and resonating choruses got the entire crowd as excited as he was, the set even ended with quite a crowd on stage dancing along. The set felt like a true homecoming for the natives and it was great seeing the band feel so comfortable, not to mention being so supportive of the cause. Fighting through technical problems on their last song didn't stop them, but it certainly allowed a good chunk of the crowd to share whatever jokes came to mind on the microphone to ease the wait. After the issues were worked out the band picked right back up as if it had never happened, and it was almost as if the crowd had forgotten too because they went right back to the same intensity. Chants of "encore" rung out before the band had even fully left the stage and sure enough shortly after the band came back for a two-song encore to appease the hometown crowd.
A late but incredible end to Spazz Fest night one and there's only more to come. Between the incredible pre-show tonight at The Tipsy Teapot with the Singer-Songwriter Round Robin featuring Brian Corum, Arielle Bryant, Rebekkah Todd, and more (including some asshole named Grant Golden) and the absolutely stacked lineup for the actual show, theres only one way that night two can go and that is excellently. Also, tomorrow I'll get to record the next Bottom String Session (I know, I know it's been long coming and almost 4 months since the last one but it'll be good I promise) with The Charming Youngsters! Spazz Fest weekend continues to look better and better, so don't miss out on it.