September 22, 2008
Pygmalion Music Festival 2008 was definitely the most ambitious and plentiful congregation of artists that the Pygmalion crew has put together yet, and I had an amazing weekend. I missed Times New Viking‘s opening night show, so the fest started for me at Thursday’s Krannert Art Center show with the killer line-up at Oceans, Catfish Haven, Oxford Collapse, Evangelicals, and Murder By Death. The stage was placed in what seemed to be either a lobby or large hallway in the middle of the center and was surrounded completely by large windows. An unexpected choice for a rock show, but it turned out to be a pretty cool venue. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a confusion on my part in finding the place (in short, I showed up at the Krannert Muesem instead of the Kranner Art Center) and in the hullaballoo, I missed all of Catfish Haven and all but the last song of Oxford Collapse (both of which I had seen before, so not too big of a loss).
The first band that I did get to see in their entirety was Evangelicals, who had all the lights in the lobby turned off and used a smoke machine and an ominous black light to set the mood for the band’s trippy and nightmarish musical tendencies. The set consisted of all my Evening Descends favorites including “Bloodstream”, “Party Crashin”, “Snowflakes”, “Midnight Vignette”, and the “Paperback Suicide” (which absolutely kills live). The band closed with “Skeleton Man” which is still one of my favorite songs of the year.
I can’t say enough how good this band sounds live. The band uses a variety of keyboards, guitars, and pre-recorded samples to reproduce the multiple layers of their sonic palette and everything comes together disctinctively and seemlessly in the show. The band also has a lot of showmanship and although there was no crazy stage-climbing antics this time around (in their last show Urbana show, the singer climbed a 10 foot high tower of speakers and jumped into the crowd) they again proved how much they can rock out. Plus, you gotta love a band that attaches odd things to their guitars, like light switches and car keys.
I spent most of time during Murder By Death catching up with Miguel, the bass player for Catfish Haven who I met at Austin City Limits last year. The songs I did catch though, most of which were from their latest album, Red of Tooth and Claw, were sounding good. What was most notable about their newer material is that most of featured Sarah on the keyboards instead of in her normal position rocking the cello. The band was definitely having a good time on stage and Adam, the lead singer, expressed how happy they were to be playing a free show with so many great bands at Pygmalion.
View more underexposed, grainy pictures from this show at Pictures For Kids Who Can’t Read Good (I promise the pics will get much better).