No Fun Fest, Day 1

Post Author: Nate Dorr

The weekend opened with something of a long slow fade-in of drones and murmurs. Noveller rattled the bridges and headstocks of her double-necked guitar like bells, Raglani set up deep body shaking fields, Carlos Giffoni nudged along lost, evolving 303 lines, in search of an acid house rhythm section. Aside from Chris Corsano’s intrepid foray into high-hat feedback and contact mic trickery (ended with about a minute of breakneck drum solo, for which an entire kit was left untouched until that point), though, everything felt anticipatory, even Xeno & Oaklander’s synth-pop set (they seemed to have been flown directly from Germany, in 1981 or so.)

Where was the power noise? Why were our ears so oddly… intact? And so, at last, Grey Wolves hit, kicking up a gouging static slew of concrete and glass while the frontman bellowed at us “THIS IS NOT YOUR COUNTRY. THIS WAS NEVER YOUR COUNTRY.” Finally. People were throwing their drinks, ice and plastic cascading over the front rows seeking stage. Other audienc factions were pissed at the lobbers, but actually it seemed appropriate. “THIS WILL NEVER BE YOUR COUNTRY.” What is provocation without reaction?

And then they played “Fuck the Pain Away” (yes, Peaches) through heavy distortion while the guy at the mic unzipped and writhed and groped along.

Thrones managed to slow things down without a lessening of force: menacingly deliberate solo metal riffs with a ceremonial gravity, gradually building into chords lashed across a stumbling march. And easing things back out, still harsh but spacious, Bastard Noise, who lead an hour long voyage, claustrophobic at first but opening out into vistas of half-collapsed factories, machinery still whirring and clashing as it was swept away, finally, finally, into a repeated tone, fluttering and spinning and gradually clearer, offering, at last, a promise of solace.