Though it seems like too long ago to even recall, Summer 2015 was a thing. As some people are inclined to do, members of this semester’s Punk workgroup attended several live music shows during this period and experienced some things. More often than not these were good things. Here are the best of those things. And guess what! The shows were not strictly “punk”. There you have it. Also: Punk workgroup meets Mondays at 5pm in the station. Come!
Ivan Krasnov, Punk workgroup director, fourth year
Boredoms playing with 88 (!) cymbal players
as part of Doug Aitken’s Station to Station show at the Barbican Centre in London, England
27 June 2015
Yes, I will admit to dozing off during this Boredoms set. I was sweating and wriggling around in my seat in all kinds of bizarre ways, completely transfixed by the monster that was being birthed right in front of me, only to feel my eyes start to glaze over and blood rush away from my brain. This was not due to any sort of lack of sleep, however. No way. The Japanese noise-rock titans Boredoms, with the aid of eighty-eight (yes, 88) cymbal players surrounding them in a huge concentric circle, were pummeling each and every one of my senses. It became so exhausting that my body just gave in, I guess. Such was the visceral nature of this performance. Yamantaka Eye played the cult leader, conducting an orchestra of devoted cymbal players to create crescendos that felt like an ocean’s waves crashing right into you and sweeping you away. The 2 hour plus performance saw multiple guitars, drummers and noises enter in a most tasteful and surprisingly consonant fashion. The chords and short progressions they created together remain in my mind as bright, full-bodied pastel colors shining through the chaos. These were truly vital in grounding me, the listener and spectator, during an otherwise rhythmically heavy and thundering performance. Truly unlike anything I have ever experienced before.
Alex Chalmers, Punk workgroup devotee, fourth year
Numb Bats/Beat Awfuls
at Bric-a-Brac Records in Chicago
Some time in July I think?
The opener was some Chicago band whose name I can’t recall – they weren’t all that good. Sort of off time and the levels were never quite right, so someone was always drowning out the rest of the band. But Beat Awfuls came on second and really blew me away. They played drone-y Southern garage rock with lots of reverb. Their songs are haunting and painfully beautiful, with heavy heavy lyrics (something along the lines of “I sold my little brother ecstasy, and now he takes it 5 times a week”). Their set paved the way for Numb Bats, a post-punk trio from Phoenix, Arizona. Like Beat Awfuls, their songs are big and reverb-y, but with more punk edge, wittier lyrics and a more driving rhythm. The bass player uses distortion a lot (so punk), their harmonies are on point, and they have an incredible energy on stage. Moments that stuck with me are basically just snatches of their songs: “You’re so pretty!”, “And he may walk with a grin, but he’ll shake you thin/his fits are so ugly, and his tummy so hungry/i keep waking up at night, and i feel like a child!”
Confession time: I bought their album Gentle Horror at the show, and have been listening to it on repeat in my car since. Definitely a band to listen to, watch, become obsessed with.
Megan Kenney, Punk workgroup initiate, first year
Francis Harold and the Holograms, NASA Space Universe, Hive Mind
Los Globos in Los Angeles
22 August 2015
This was Francis Harold and the Holograms’ first time playing together in a couple of years- it was also going to be the last time they ever played together, so I was excited to get the chance to see them. It was also my last night in Los Angeles before I left for Oberlin! I loved this concert because the atmosphere was just nuts. The singer was dressed like a dog and the bass player was standing all of the way in the back of the room (across from the stage.) The band added Hive Mind to their set, which was super cool because he added all of these rad ms20 noises. The singer grabbed a chain out of his pocket and started hitting people in the crowd with it. He also hit himself on the head with it and started bleeding. Then he went into the crowd and started choking someone with it.
Frances (Frankie) Hullett, Punk workgroup initiate, second year
Metz, opening for FIDLAR
Saw these cats rockin’ out at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. It’s a very tiny venue that gets particularly sweaty in late May.
30 May 2015
Paradise Rock Club is really, really small as far as concert venues go, and the whole room turned into a mosh pit as soon as they started playing. Sometime during their first song, I got knocked pretty hard in the back of my head, both of my contacts got knocked out of my head, and I may have been slightly concussed. I fell backward and got really dizzy for a minute. Concussion or no concussion, Metz’s energy live blew me away, even though I couldn’t see three feet in front of my own face.
Paul Menhert, Punk workgroup initiate, first year
@ The Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY
22 August 2015
This show was like a week before Depression Cherry was released, so I got to hear a bunch of cuts from the album before it officially came out, which was awesome. Victoria Legrand’s voice was amazing, and somehow sounded even better in person than it does on record. The whole set was super intense, especially at the very end when they turned on an insane strobe light during “10 Mile Stereo”.