Olivia was unable to stay for the entire night so Ailis will be writing this solo.
Ithaca Underground organized yet another fun night of music in the Chanticleer loft space on February 29, a Monday night, featuring Winston Bongo of Ithaca, Shore Acres Drive of Ithaca, Stove of Connecticut and Pottymouth of Northampton, Mass.
First up for a very short set was Winston Bongo. Their spacey, electro-dance music was performed as a mostly improvisational jam session. The musicians worked well together, all crowding over a table filled with different instruments: synths, tambourines, maracas, beat generators, etc. More like a toy box than a typical band set-up, it made for a unique appearance on stage that was as much fun to watch as it was to dance to. The vocals were unintelligible wails careened into the mics. One performer played while wearing a tambourine as a necklace. Their set was unfortunately much too short! Winston Bongo is an extraordinarily creative, new group with an original sound, and I cannot wait to hear more. Their set ended with one of the vocalists prepping the few but avid listeners for an announcement, only to say, “I have nothing to say.” They let their music speak for itself.
Shore Acres Drive followed Winston Bongo. I personally thought their sound was unoriginal, evoking early 00s alt-rock. Their music pales in comparison to the current wealth of creativity emerging from Ithaca. Despite this, their work is apparently palatable; they have snowballed in popularity with a recent tour and constant Ithaca gigs. They even had quite a large turnout of fans nodding along on a Monday evening. Lead singer, Charlie Fraioli, claimed to be semi-under the weather and even wore his slippers, offering some humorous words of encouragement: “If you ever get nervous for a performance, wear slippers on stage. You’ll feel much more comfortable, like you’re at home.” That’s as close as I can get to a direct quote. The band seemed genuine and forthcoming, and hopefully, the performance taking place this Friday (see deets below) will be a better representation of their abilities. They have a lot of music for download on Bandcamp that is name-your-price. Also, their stickers are always free at the shows! The song featured in the link to their Bandcamp page was the final, and my favorite, song of their set.
Former songwriter of Connecticut based band, Ovlov, Steve Harlett now heads the altrock band, Stove. They began their set by relaxedly setting up: publicly tuning and joking and feigning unpreparedness. Harlett and the rest of the band members then repeated the mantra “Let’s get stupid,” before rocking into their first song. All of their tunes were short and highly energized, and the by-then larger crowd of fans had great fun dancing. The female drummer was talented with drumsticks, but contributed mostly inaudible vocals that did not add much to their sound. What I loved though, were the abrupt endings to all of their fast and brief songs. They ended their set on a contrasting downer of a track that was much longer than all their other tunes. Although the mood was less upbeat, it was still the kind of tune that made you want to move, an impressive feat. It was a nice finale to a set that only became more impressive as the minutes passed.
Pottymouth stopped in from their tour and gave a riveting performance as a headliner. The four femme fatales originating from western Mass told stories of their sleepless nights and crummy food on the road. Their definitive upbeat pop-rock tunes got the entire audience to their feet. I had a fantastic time dancing to it, and even ended up purchasing two of their CDs which make for some sweet car jams. This band has a polished yet punk image and sound that is definitely worth checking out.
Next up, Friday 3/11 at 9pm join me and see Long Beard, Fraternal Twin, Shore Acres Drive, and Modern Hut play a SICK show at 116 Cook!
I wanted to share a little bit about my experience at the Animal Collective concert I attended with Olivia in Portsmouth, NH on February 20. She wrote a very thoughtful post about the show you can check out here: https://cornellsun.com/2016/03/01/ithaca-a-live-beyond-the-basement/
Ratking is joining Animal Collective on tour for their new album Painting With (2016) and opened the night in psychedelic hip-hop fashion. The threepiece NYC based group is still green, mostly playing tracks off their debut (and only) album So It Goes (2014). However, they have developed a unique personality and sound featuring Wiki, a tooth-missing, rough-sounding rapper/producer; Hak, a very attractive, young rapper with a silky-smooth voice; and sax player, the buckethatwearing Isaiah Barr, who brings a sexy, trippy jazz sound into the mix. The Rapper/Producer, Sporting Life, had merch for sale, and his name is mentioned on all online accounts of the group’s origins. He seems to be responsible for much of their distinctive sound judging by his solo work [check it out: https://soundcloud.com/asportinglife], but I did not see him on stage. Ratking’s beats were intense and sexy, making for great dance material, but unfortunately did not get most of the all-white New England Animal Collective fans grooving. Hopefully, they will be better received in more populated cities because their creativity is definitely in the same vein as Animal Collective’s musical intentions.
Now, Olivia has already done justice to Animal Collective’s performance, but the show affected me so deeply that I felt I had to express my thoughts with at least a brief paragraph. I felt that I had truly witnessed a special moment in art history. It was magic. What they did was heartfelt and one-of-a-kind, a special showing of dedication to their work and their supporters. The small venue allowed for a special connection with their audience; I felt that I could finally grasp what they were trying to share, despite the fact that they let their music do the talking, taking just one swift break halfway through their set to catch their breath and shake off some sweat before continuing to pour their soul into the performance. I danced my ass off and got completely lost in the music. It was likely the best concert I will ever have the fortune to attend, and I am so grateful that the night was shared with me.
Ailis is a junior from New Jersey studying environmental science and sustainability. If you can’t find her at a pub she’s probably playing guitar in her PJs or writing anything and everything down in tiny notebooks. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olivia is a junior studying film in the college of Arts and Sciences. She was born and raised in the teeny tiny fishing town of Soldotna, Alaska. When she’s not frolicking around outside, she can be found watching cartoons or drinking tea in her catbug onesie. She can be reached at email@example.com.