Tag Archives: strange anwar behavior

Photos: Awesomefest Holds Contest for Worst Band, Everybody Wins

Future employers, meet Master of Ceremonies J**e W****y.

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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.

Photos: The Japanese, Jacco Gardner Take WestCo Cafe

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This weekend represented a moment of renewal for a number of student bands. For one, on Thursday, the Japanese, now featuring plaintive songwriting and Adrien DeFontaine ’13s new hairdo, returned to activity after a long hiatus. Also, Grand Cousin (who I do remember, bawwwk, was once called Grandfather) has perhaps made the ranks this weekend  as hardest-working or most persistently present Wesleyan band, what with their two appearance on concert headers and avant-garde new music video. Also, Featherwood Bee (on Thursday) continued being awesome, and O Presidente continued to prove that they can’t keep themselves away for long after their debut album release.

One of the few outsiders thrown into this mix was Jacco Gardner, the NPR-acclaimed Dutch producer and multi-instrumentalist, and his bandmates, who played on Friday night. Their music was soothingly atmospheric, balancing on the historical cusp between mid-60s mod rock and late-60s psychedelia. Songs like “The Ballad of Little Jane” had just the right amount of creepiness, and reminded me of the Rolling Stones in their Brian Jones era. Jacco was endearingly sincere, expressing gratitude to the crowd and excitement for their adventures in America (it was their first time playing on this side of the pond) and imminent trip to SXSW. The drummer wore sunglasses indoors, which I can both respect and suspect for a lad from the pot-soaked Netherlands.

Click through for some video of Johnny Love and the Heartmen from A-Batte ’13 and some jumbled-together photos from me (Eric Lopez ’15‘s set makes for a more complete document).