Mike Floss was the catalyst to the night, starting off with a high energy set that featured heavy R&B beats, influenced by popular artists such as Travis Scott and Lil Uzi. Arriving in Ithaca from Tennessee, Floss brought his innovative and unique sound, inspired by the regressive rap culture prominent in Nashville. Sporting the finest of urban street wear, Floss took the stage in a black and red tracksuit with an embroidered head scarf, belting out his “Freak of the Week.” Floss’s sound radiated throughout Barton Hall, as his opening track surely set the tone for a high energy night. About midway through his performance, Floss pointed to a section leftward of the stage that just wasn’t keeping up with his energy level. He laughed and said, “Don’t worry though.
Growing up as I did (with a father who loved to constantly relive his glory days), I listened to Weird Al a lot. I watched the music video to “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” a million times, played “Virus Alert” on my iPod shuffle and knew all the lyrics to “EBay.” My dad listened to the classics, reminisced about listening to Weird Al on Dr. Demento’s radio show and told me over and over again the story about how, when he was in college, he and Weird Al got lunch together. So when Weird Al’s Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour came to The State Theatre, obviously my dad and I got tickets. I’ll admit, while I’ve listened to a few of Al’s more recent singles, I hadn’t truly listened to him since the days of my iPod Shuffle. The tour was also self-described as “scaled-down,” featuring older, original songs rather than parodies.
Deer Tick does a pretty good job of subverting your expectations. Judging from the album cover of their first full-length album, “War Elephant,” which includes nothing less than the band members sitting on a sand dune in front of two women in bikinis holding a shotgun and an AK-47, you might not expect the mellow fingerpicked guitars that follow. Moreover, after hearing Deer Tick’s infectious blend of tender folk and rollicking roots rock, you might not expect it to be something you could mosh to. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what we did at Deer Tick’s March 3 show at The Haunt. The night began with comedian Solomon Georgio taking us through his life as an African immigrant and “professional homosexual,” interweaving narratives of childhood bullies with social commentary on racism and homophobia.
If there is one word that is overused when describing concert experiences, it’s “magical.” Experiences and emotions are subjective, yet everyone seems to come back to that word. I agree that there is a certain atmosphere to be found at concerts that can’t be found anywhere else, but I believe that the affects found in a Girlpool concert are in a category of their own. Girlpool’s music takes emotions that are difficult to describe and puts them in an accurate, concise form of music that makes one think, “Wow. Why couldn’t I think of that when it’s so straightforward?” Taking those sentiments to a small venue like The Haunt makes the experience personal by forcing one to address neglected, bottled up feelings, creating a truly magical experience. Girlpool opened their show with “123,” the first track off their newest album Powerplant.
The Districts released their new album Popular Manipulations August 11, featuring their former indie rock sound, but richer and more developed. The band hails from Pennsylvania and earned their modest fame during their high school years. The album opens with the song “If Before I Wake.” The lyrics open with “thunder woke me up, it was storming in the city, I was suddenly wide awake.” The song is the perfect introduction for the lyrically exciting album, as it acts as a wake up call for the band’s new success. The lyrics “too blessed to be depressed” and “god, I’m bending over, love me” perfectly exemplify Rob Grote’s raspy and addicting voice that captures and keeps the listener’s attention. “Violet” is the second song on the album that touches on past memories.
When I was younger, I didn’t really like going to concerts. I wanted my favorite bands to come in, play all of my favorite songs and get out. I wanted their songs to sound just like on the record, and I hated when they jammed. Performances, like the one Dawes gave Tuesday night, were the reason I outgrew that opinion.
There were several planned street closures in Ithaca on Sunday for Porchfest, but crowds gathering to watch people singing and playing instruments on Fall Creek and Northside porches blocked off many more. As 180 bands played throughout the afternoon, people were watching, dancing and singing in the streets. Porchfest made Ithaca feel like any small town in America, despite also having a uniquely Ithacan feel. Considering Porchfest has grown to include more than 60 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada, in a way, it really could have been anywhere in America. The quantity of artists at Porchfest was staggering; it would have been physically impossible to see and enjoy every act.
Local and national artists came together Saturday at the first Cayuga Sound Festival, delivering quality music to the unique Ithaca community and creating a one-of-a-kind experience that can only be found here in Ithaca. There was something special about the laid-back attitude of the Ithaca community, the musicians, the familiar location at Stewart Park, and the local businesses selling food. The familiarity and friendliness added comfort to the experience, breaking the stereotype of chaotic music festivals. There were two stages set up next to each other and artists alternated between them. Businesses and radio stations had tents set up along the park, with food trucks serving most of the local food found at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market.
I’ve never done ecstasy, but based on the Urban Dictionary definition which states it produces “strong feelings of positivity, empathy and connection to others” I can only assume it’s similar to the Two Door Cinema Club show at the State Theatre Thursday night. There probably wasn’t any surprise molly in my system, but nevertheless I found myself dripping with sweat screaming for more when the band “left” before playing everyone’s favorite song. Admittedly, I went to this concert because tickets were 40 bucks and it was ten minutes from my house. I had heard “What You Know,” a song from seven years ago, but that’s about it. I didn’t bother brushing up on their music before the concert, but that didn’t matter.