Sunday, May 30, 2010

Northwest Folklife - May 29th 2010

Started this afternoon at the K Records Showcase, called "This is Our Show" It featured bands from K Recs, The Hive Dwellers, Karl Blau, LAKE, and The Curious Mystery.
The Hive Dwellers are a band you either love or hate. Calvin Johnson is either a musician you love or can't stand, I think don't people "sort of" like him or "sort of" dislike him, so it makes sense that people wouldn't "sort of" like or dislike the band. The lyrics were more than slightly ridiculous, and the music wasn't particularly complex, however, the fact that it was Calvin Johnson - the man behind Beat Happening, as well as other bands that influenced the late 80s/early 90s music scene, and also the man who created K Recs, made it worth seeing. It would be like if the musicians from the 1960s your parents listened to were still alive, and they had the chance to see them. Seriously.

Karl Blau has a reputation of having played every festival in the Pacific Northwest at least once. I'm not sure if this is true - I've never seen him live before, and I dont remember him ever playing any Vancouver shows. He played newer songs, from the Zebra album. I found this a little disappointing, because I'm only familiar with the Nature's got a way album, and so I wasn't familiar with anything he played. It was still a good show though, and I'm glad I went.

LAKE was good, it helped that I'd wanted to see them for as long as I'd known of their existence - so, for like two years - and I'd given up on them ever playing a Vancouver or Victoria show. Unfortunately, most of what they played was off of their newest album, which I hadn't had a chance to listen to, but it didn't matter, because the concert was still good.

The next band I wanted to see was Acorn Project, a Funk/Rock/Ska band from Bellingham. I was a bit skeptical at first, because I hadn't heard of them before, but they were really good. They sound very similar to another one of my favorite Bellingham bands, Yogoman Burning Band - who, coincidentally enough, were also playing this festival, and I'll get to that in a minute. Back to Acorn Project. They had more or less everybody who had stayed to watch them dancing, the little kids in the front, the highschool students, the stoners, and the little old ladies - as well as everybody else.
They only played a half hour set, but the whole performance was energetic.

Yogoman Burning Band was next, they're another Bellingham based, rock/ska/punk/reggae band, and sound very similar to Acorn Project. I've reviewed them in this blog before, and I've seen them live before, again, their show was amazing.
I didn't know they were playing Folklife until last night, when I sat down an looked at the festival schedule. They played almost entirely new songs, that are not on either one of their two CDs, except at the end of the set - they finished with "Streetlights" and "Pass the O", two songs from their first CD, that came out in 2007. Again, they were able to get people dancing an singing along, and the show was just really energetic and fun.

The last band I saw was Panda Conspiracy, a multi - person band from Seattle, (seriously, I don't even know how many people were on stage)The show was entertaining from the very beginning - some of the band were wearing panda costumes, others were in bunny suits, beachballs were flying through the audience, and the music was upbeat and easy to dance to.The only downside to this band was that their songs were long, which meant that they couldnt play very much in a half hour set. However, what they played was really good.

One Last Thing About Folklife - one last thing, thats it, I swear. Its apparently the largest music festival of its kind in North America - a by donation, community/volunteer run folk festival. think about that for a minute. Its really important to support things like this, because they make it possible for almost anybody to enjoy music.

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