Future employers, meet Master of Ceremonies J**e W****y.
Awesomefest seems to finally have a unified purpose behind its name, and it’s not what the non-ironically-minded might expect. The event at Eclectic, the various incarnations of which I’ve attended at many junctures during my time at Wesleyan, always seemed torn between genuinely debuting new bands and the joke acts of usually talented music majors and other prominent musicians. This year, though, the jokier bands truly got my attention, and perhaps exhibited greater creativity by breaking out of the confines of good music — if it could even be called music at all.
There was Zak Malik ’14 attempting to play drums while singing “Levels” by AVICII at the same time. The vocals got the short end of the stick, coming out more like “DA-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN-DUN-DUNH-DA-DA-DUNH-DUNH” than anything tuneful. There was Malik’s Lion King song cover band with Henry Molofsky ’13 (who just did a Music thesis that I’m sure was wonderful and had a lot of serious value) that butchered the songs and couldn’t remember half of the lyrics. About halfway through “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” there appeared to be smoke streaming from Malik’s keyboard in my pictures; I showed the pictures to the kid next to me, and after a big misunderstanding he ended up asking the sound guy if there was anything wrong – but it only turned out to be the sound guy’s cigarette.
Stephan Stansfield ’13 and Rachel Connor ’13 (now ’14) — returning, happily, to the Wesleyan music scene after a long absence — played a surf rock song about being “back in the UAE” that devolved into a paean to the pleasures of boofing. A band called “Bryan J. ft. Travis Porter,” which included Molofsky, Aaron Khandros ’13, Bennett Kirschner ’13, and Connor, delivered what one fellow audience member opined was “the worst music [he] had ever heard,” with Kirschner screaming at the top of his lungs. There was a strip show that ended with mashed bananas all over the floor and A-Batte somewhere under the stage, along with the microphone.
The crowning glory, in my opinion, was called Goodbye Goodbye Penis Penis Penis, and its weirdness lived up to its name. Their act resembled performance art, or commentary on male narcissism, more than it did music. Dressed in garbage bags with genuine WesTacles™ images taped to the front and Saran wrap on their heads, Henry Molofsky ’13, Jeremy Webber ’13 and Ashlin Aronin ’13 played a 45 record at 33rpm speed for some creepy, atmospheric background sounds and proceeded to chant a song that sounded like “BECAUSE THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO, BECAUSE THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.” Their instruments included a teddy bear, plastic toy ducks, and a pouch of Franzia that they poured into an enormous chalice. A video of trees being felled on a nearby MacBook lended some scarcely-needed ambiance. Some audience members were frightened, but I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at an Eclectic show. When they were done, they offered some of us ladies in the front the WesTacles printouts as souvenirs.
On a less jokey note, there were some good bands, like our dear leader Zach and talented drummer fuzzball’s Ween cover band Demon Sweat. Though Zach screamed mightily just like Dean Ween on song selections like “Fat Lenny” and “You Fucked Up,” there was no hiding that they could not hear each other through the monitors. Fuzzball’s second act was with Mickey Capper ’13 and Connor, and it involved looping a prank call to PSafe that went awry. The band Panic Child, featuring Mia Rossi ’14 and Olivia Hauser ’14, featured a Riot Grrrl sound and added some much-needed female influence. And I have no idea who won (I stuck around through Dylan Bostick ’13‘s strangely Psi U-member influenced final act J**e W****y), but I don’t think it matters much at all.