Night three from Spazz Fest and we took in The Lollipops, Jenny Besetzt, and Future Islands at Peasant’s. Between sets there was a lot of buzz about the Day Rager at Christy’s, which we missed (gotta make time with the fam!). Apparently, Sam Herring (Future Islands) shocked some folks with his hip hop free style, which was totally impromptu. I can honestly say I wasn’t surprised at all, but enjoyed hearing different takes on the performance. There was a whole herd of folks who made the trek over from Christy’s to Peasant’s and later onto the after party, which lasted until the wee hours this morning.
What can I write about last night? How about The Lollipops and Jenny Besetzt? They played their asses off and kept the audience buoyed for Future Islands. The danger of all day performances is crowd burn out, yet there was no evidence of this at all. The Spazz Fest crowd was like a premier heavyweight boxer punching its way through fifteen rounds and then running a marathon. It must be the water.
Led by Iggy Cosky, The Lollipops pushed and pulsed their brand of power pop/indie rock. Cosky is one of two lefties I can recall who plays a right-handed guitar strung as is. It’s always a trip to see that, and it usually means that the individual is self taught. The advantages are that he doesn’t have to go round searching for left-handed guitars, and he can switch out instruments with his right-handed bandmates. He switched from guitar to bass and then rocked a Yamaha portatone (which had some surprising voices) over the entire set. The Raleigh-based band brought a ton of ENERGY, and had no problem fueling the packed house with a strong set, playing material from last year’s Pop Narcotics (free download here) and their upcoming release Dear Molly. They play all over North Carolina, and hopefully we’ll see Cosky and crew return to Greenville soon.
The Lollipops – “Off With Their Heads”
The Lollipops – “Prince”
The Lollipops – “I Love You”
Free Download/Stream: Pop Narcotics
Greensboro’s Jenny Besetzt switched it up a bit, but kept up the energy level. Their brand of music recalls early Ocean Blue with more edge and darkness. Guitarists John Wollaber and Brad Morton riff off each other with chorus-filled chord progressions and fills played in different keys. Wollaber’s style of guitar playing ranges from fluttering while singing to frenetic, muscular string mashing through bridges and breaks. Morton’s approach was steady as you go and filled with impressive subtlety. The pair were hypnotic to watch, and all the while, drummer Hunter Allen belted out this incredible back beat that’s so much part of their sound. Bassist Reed Benjamin and new keyboardist Justin Flythe (yea and wow!) provided the atmosphere, allowing Wollaber and Morton to play out their intricate dance over the sounds of space and cool air. I came away impressed and found myself immediately scouring the internet for their next show dates and venues; I’m just one of many new fans.
Jenny Besetzt – “She Was An Evergreen Tree” (free download)
OH YEAH… AND THAT BAND, FUTURE ISLANDS!!!
Future Islands were just awesome. Sam had fun playing to the crowd, and the band worked in some new material through the set. The soulful “Tomorrow” was especially great to see live. There’s not much more I can say about Future Islands without sounding like a sycophant. They clearly enjoy returning to their old stomping grounds, and it was great to see them again. Messrs Cashion, Herring and Welmer play well to their “home crowd” and that love is reciprocated many times over.
I’d be remiss in not providing a big shout out to MR. JEFF BLINDER!!! Thanks for pulling together another great group of artists and shows. Spazz Fest IV set a new standard for live music in Greenville. Keep doing what you do and thanks for sticking with us.
Future Islands – “Tomorrow”
Future Islands – “Balance”
Art Lord & the Self Portraits – “Atlas”
Check out all things Future Islands on their website.