Open Melody Festival
|XBXRX takes Acrobatics Everyday literally|
Nov. 20 and 21, 2010
The two-day Open Melody festival hosted by Acrobatics Everyday at UCI had something for everyone--everyone interested in underground genres, that is. From in-your-face, ear-bursting bands like XBXRX and Upsilon Acrux to the dark, soothing siren sounds of Alak and Mountshout to the electronic-based trance-enducers Fabulous Diamonds, Open Melody offered a everything from the exotic and the extraordinary.
The event, named after a Lucky Dragon song, was Acrobatics Everyday's second arts and music festival. On Friday and Saturday it occupied two rooms in a cultural center at UCI. The audience ping-ponged from one room upstairs to one room downstairs after each 30 minute set to see the next band, with five minutes in between each set. The crowd got evicted both nights due to a midnight curfew violation, but, of course, the show must go on. Emperor X and Zs both played outside on a patio at midnight in the brisk night after being kicked out of the venue.
It is an unfair request to pick a "best of" of the event because each act was so diverse and most held artistic merit in their own right. Instead, here are some of the acts that represented the variety of music in an outstanding way.
|Photo by Taylor Hamby|
Nobunny- There's something about Nobunny that's damn addicting. Frontman Justin Champlin performs with a ever-changing back up band, but at least one thing is a constant at shows. He doesn't wear pants or shoes, but always wears a white rabbit mask and a colorful collection of briefs. Though after a few shows this get-up could become gimmicky, Nobunny pulls it off and makes each show as exciting as the last. His songs like "Chuck Berry Holiday" are catchy as all hell. He's a hell of a frontman too. On Saturday, he jumped off amps, lit off fireworks in the indoor conference rooms that acted as a venue, and swung a lamp above his head and tossed it down shattering it. Nobunny got the audience rowdier than any other act at the event. Near everyone was in the pit, whether they wanted to be or not. By the end of the set, the band was pushed up against the wall by the uproarious crowd.
The LA-based band featuring four drummers and a healthy dose of megaphone bring a whole new meaning to the term drum circle in both visual and audio terms. They set up their sets in the center of the room in a circular fashion, facing each other. From the first drum hit to the last, Foot Village
violently grabbed the audiences by their ears and didn't let go. They played with incredible speed and precision, topped with male/female dueling screeches and shouts. Grace Lee, a UCI alum, convulsed on the floor in the audience, and stuck her head through the legs of one female audience member, singing and moaning the whole time. With performances like this and the ferocity of the music, Foot Village chews up a traditional drum corps and spits them out.
XBXRX- It may be a stretch to call XBXRX as a whole talented, but the sheer speed that these guys play at show they are skilled at their instruments. Most of the songs they played Friday ranged from 30 seconds long to rarely more than a minute thirty. The songs were accompanied by Vice Cooler's banshee scream vocals. They sound much like what I imaging dying by electrocution would be like; they're abrasive, shocking, and the whole phenomenon is over relatively quick. They instigated the largest pit, second to Nobunny, and even joined in the madness. The guitarist threw his instrument into the pit.
Upsilon Acrux- Upsilon Acrux are a force to be reckoned with. The Los Angeles based band are comprised of double drummers and double guitarists. The drummers beat the skins with such intensity they probably go through several sticks a night (I saw at least one decapitated drumstick by their feet.) The band has an epic sound that just can't be translated to recordings. They use no vocals. Instead, the musicians make each instrument speak for itself.
|Arrington Di Dionyso|
Arrington Di Dionyso- The Old Time Relijun singer played an interesting bit of performance art Friday. He began his set by throat singing while photographs and drawings were projected over his body and onto white backdrops. He played with a variety of experimental instrumental combonations and handmade instruments. For example, he throat sang into a homemade kazoo of sorts (made of a round tube and what looked like a piece of balloon). Later, he put the kazoo up to his drum and sang into both instruments. The one man band's set was a truly unique, slightly puzzling set.
Captain Ahab- Their particular brand of humor of the Los Angeles dance duo was a joke I laughed at for five minutes at most. After the fifteenth repetition of the lyric "Everybody gonna get fucked tonight, fucked in the club, fucked in the club," paired with their signature "ravesploitation" beats played at an overwhelming volume, I had to step outside. The beats themselves weren't that bad, but everything else in the set was too much to endure for a full thirty minutes. They projected pictures of a chicken dinner being enjoyed and bottles of piss on the screen behind them. Whatever works, I guess.