“Welcome to Awesomefest, where novelty-bordering-on-experimentation rules the day along with Whatever Crazy Loud Shit Howe’s Doing Now, Holy Fuck”

Saturday. 11.12.11. In which, by some divine decree, WestCo’s 8th Day of the Week and Eclectic’s Awesomefest are to take place on the same majestic Saturday, in one phantasmic explosion of sex, drugs, and chillwave. In which Wesleying’s adjunct associate Giant R. Joint Critic of Arts and Entertainment/reluctant birthday boy A-Batte sets out to witness, ponder, and document all things musical in a 12-hour span while both moshing and taking notes but not developing severe tinnitus. In which Teebs shows up, drops more Brainfeeder than Jamaica’s got mangoes, kicks bottom, and leaves. In which eleven mighty bands form for one dizzying array of talent, cacophony, and running-back-and-forth-between-two-stages. In which We Are Chants! We! Are! Chants! We! Are! Chants! We! Are! Chants! In which Wesleyan’s music scene does what it’s supposed to do.

Yeah, whatever. Scroll on for full coverage: words by A-Batte, images by Zach and Rachel Pincus ’13, and musics by You. Great job, You! Let’s do it again sometime. (This spring, mayhaps, rumor has it?)


8th Day of the DKE
(Missed: Two Fisted Tom, Cheenis and the Romp, Zack Kantor, Featherwood Bee)

  • Grand Father – Sung songs! New joints! Popular audience requests, like “Song that was Already Going to be Played Next Anyway,” made the cut! Falsetto/10
  • The Appledaughters – Apples. Daughters. Rock. Howe. The pile of pillows, blankets, and couch cushions featured especially prominently in the audience at this point. Giggity/10
  • Andy Petr – I truly began to b3l33v in b33ts thanks to this set. This guy could totally go here and I just don’t know it. oontzoontzoontzoontz/10
  • Teebs – Chill-ass dude. Almost every new sound brought audience members to share gazes of wonderment at Teebs’s top-shelf beatsmanship. Ole D. Nassy ‘13 recognized at least 5 non-Teebs songs in the set, some by such illustrious Brainfeeder labelmates as Flying Lotus and Mono/Poly. Both my lower and upper registers of hearing were thoroughly pleased. Fucking Sumptuous/10

(Missed: show openers Uranium Club. I was absent, but a Mysterious Figure ‘12 assures me that “it’s like chillwave for people on Zoloft instead of weed.” “The lyrics were coming from a very, very dark place”/10)

  • 2/11: Safety Fist – Featuring “Brian Chippendale” ‘12 on Xxxplosive drums and “Brian Gibson” ‘13 on electric shredtar, the reigning campus fist kings tore that pussy up with assaulting riffs and manslaughter-grade drumbeating. No, really. Described itself as “post-hardcore band Hot Snakes and a drunker louder Wu-Tang Clan.” To quote Aural Wes’s commentary: “Safety Fist said ‘pussy’ more than any other Wesleyan band on campus ever (I think).” ROCKNOISEPUNKPROMISCUITY/10
  • 2a/11: The Creative Process (spontaneous unplanned set) – In which Stephan Stansfield ‘13 explores the emotional pain and trauma that inspires musicmaking in a new and visceral direction. Video gaming – the alienating experience of retreat into a virtual world has defined what some theorists termed a decline in culture over the last three decades. As such, the impaired function of Stansfield’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the total deletion of his musical work, and the reconstruction it necessitated, affixed modernity in direct opposition with the feminine, and offered – no, proffered – nay, promulgated – to the audience a view of the reconstructed postmodern masculine, underlined by his phallic relationship to his digital appendage, the Nintendo. Lucier/10
  • 3/11: Andy Petr – Anyone know if he was an official Awesomefest entry? I suspect not, and that he was just covering while the next act set up, but since two bands dropped out, it’s a possibility. I am reasonably confident that a) I heard a Baths sample in there, and b) he played a shorter selection from his DKE Day set. I was okay with that, since I enjoyed the first set and spent most of this one catching up on my notes in a corner. Double Duty/10
  • 4/11: Birdo [+ the Funky Bunch] – The first part of by far the most original one-two punch of the night, Birdo was the natural outgrowth of an earlier project by Stephan Stansfield ‘13. The Mario baddie played keyboard accompaniment to a beat created using Mario Paint, a 1992 release for the SNES. The game system was hooked up to a screen, where crowdspeople could watch the screen go by (like this, but it bumped way harder). Some terminally cool shit, dude. Nintendocore/10
  • 5/11: Laos – The lovely ladies of Laos licked their lips and let loose lullabies (and laughter).  Song 1: A whistled, ~45 second original (or cover I just didn’t recognize: if so, not the first or last one of its type that day and night). Song 2: A whistled cover of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” that broke down into some more traditionally vocalized giggles. Encore: A more complete cover of the hit from The Lion King, while a few crowd members participated in the second most aggressive mosh pit of the night. Lots of fun, in less than five minutes. Heavy Metal/10
  • 6/11: Lolita Dos – I was going to make this blurb some commentary on Howe Pearson ‘12 being in a lot of bands (speaking of which, look out below…), but instead, decided that attendee Jason Shatz ‘14 might have some much more insightful and topical commentary. Direct quote: “It sounded like the guitarist was drunk.” Closely paraphrased (human memory is a sham): “It seemed like the guitar was trying to punch the audience, but instead, was punching the ground!” (Editor’s note: the Aural Wes preview for this band involved the sentence: “Come rub your nostalgic clitori with three members of It’s Chinatown and one member of Beat the Grave; it’s like Duchampion with a dick!” The actual set involved “Welcome to Paradise” and “Sister Ray.”) AMERICA/10
  • 7/11: Third Wheel – The guitarist and keyboardist made out while the drummer awkwardly (but reliably) kept time in the back. Relationships/10
  • 8/11: Chants – Chants delivered exactly what they promised: Chants. Tall, Jewish, and handsome Will Feinstein ‘13 barely got to scream into the megaphone before entering the mosh pit. Did I mention that there was a mosh pit? The less enthusiastic concertgoers gave a good 10-foot berth to the action at center stage, with good reason, including a protracted wrestling brawl between Mario and Waluigi (I shit you not). Chants of varying lengths (but uniform intensity) all made an appearance, running the gamut from “This is what democracy looks like!” (describing an especially violent period of slam-dancing) to “FUCK PLANTS, WE ARE CHANTS,” with bouquets thrown into the audience to illustrate the point. Chants was probably the most straight-up fun all night, and Feinstein easily wins the “frontman simultaneously holding a megaphone and bouquet of roses” award. Violence/10
  • 9/11: Zain’s BandZain’s band, Zain’s Band, signified the first act with one song that (in this asshole’s opinion) had a really involving emotional arc. This is important, especially at an event like Awesomefest, where novelty-bordering-on-experimentation rules the day along with Whatever Crazy Loud Shit Howe’s Doing Now, Holy Fuck,  Oh, also, there were some other peeps in this band, or at least that’s what I heard. Zain: Can you record this set? What was the last song called? What’s it like to feel??!! Zain/10
  • 10/11: Littlefoot (formerly Elite 4) – By far the smallest feet and the loudest bass drum of the night, Littlefoot brought home a rollicking rock-and-roll feel to a packed and enthusiastic audience. I’m coming up short on words about now, though: at about this point the mescaline was starting to kick in. Still pretty sure I had a good time, though! Yeehaw, Yahoo/10
  • 11/11: Nice Veins – Closers Nice Veins eschewed actually injecting heroin into the audience’s collective blood vessels in favor of aural application of some intriguing riffs. My recollections are growing less pointed, so instead of making shit up I’ll just quote from my notebook: “At this point there was certainly music but now I don’t know who I am so whatevs”. Poomp/10

Who won? The results were first released through Aural Wes, which basically had a semantic difference (“Fourth Place” over “Honorable Mention” for a certain act), but here are the contents of the email I received from an Awesomefest judge:

Here are the final results:

First place: Chants

Second place: Littlefoot

Place place: Uranium Club [Ed. note: Shit. The only act I miss totally would be a finalist.]

Honorable mentions go to Birdo (Stephan Stansfield ’13) for creativity and to Adrien Fontaine ’13 for playing 3 sets back-to-back like a pro. [More editorial fun: Guess which!]

[…] The audience’s energy level / positive overall reception was the one of the most important determining factors in who won.

If any of y’all have some comments for the acts I didn’t manage to see, or want to see me dead for shitting all over your band, let the Wesleying hivemind know (preferably by commenting on this post) and it may or may not get edited in.

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  1. inebriation ftw

    heard there was an epic after-party freestyle performance featuring the musical stylings of marky mark, dj darkslope, jjprice, and e-web the nasty…

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