(for a bloodfest music download, refer to here)
Woo, alright, for the sake of internet time capsuling and event exposure sakes, I wanted to give some words about particular “acts” that I was blown away by during Bloodfest last week and also a few words about music now in general. To look at a good overview of some of the bands that played, refer to this mega video post by BREATHMINT. Also to those that don’t know, Bloodfest is an organized yearly DIY event in Tampa involving a wide range of experimental, punk, noise and electronic acts. The shows are powered by BLOOD and a generator which allows instant literal noise pollution to occur in various areas around the bay, mostly at secret outdoor locations or even granted parking lot access by such looked down upon establishments such as strip club Mons Venus and Borders. Thanks to Carson, Erin, and Katie for letting me use their photos! ALSO kudos to awesome people like Todd, Andrea, Carlos and more for organizing such an exciting event.
photo from Katie S.
-1/2 of Double Dragon
I woke up around noon with a bit of a pool party hangover and left from the Fuji jungle home with NO COFFEE. But, despite the rough start, not even coffee could prepare any individual for this kind of day to come. We arrived to the second location after missing a Haves and Thirds set and Ant Parade serenade, and witnessed some uncertainty from this parking lot whether or not the show was going to continue after being shut down by a cop at the previous spot. Luckily, things worked out and jams were jamming. The first couple bands I saw were What the Fuck?, Skeleton Warrior (one of the most inspiring sets I’ve ever witnessed), and Double Dragon. Some dudes went the “less is more” route by playing short yet sweet sets while others droned out a bit longer than others for visionary purposes to let it soak in till it hits your bloodstream.
-S2K, photo from Carson C.
The next stop was in the parking lot for the one and only Mons Venus. The majority of the day show was at this location due to a generator outage. My personal favorite sets at this location were Body Rot, S.H.V., Boulders, FUN, Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn and S2K. S2K (who’s pictured above), who always amazes me with the process to his sound, was creating noise signaling from sensors on his muscles, which I found out later was actually shocking him in the process. It sounded as harsh as it looked, and to see the faces of people walking by on the street and people stopped at traffic lights on Dale Mabry were priceless. Body Rot, who I’ve never seen before or heard about, is a (3 piece?) noisepunk band that darted an array of drum beats and slashes of guitar that radiated the kind of simple yet in your face structure that I enjoy a lot in various styles of music. S.H.V., who I’ve seen at a pre-INC show in Orlando, is known to lean towards the theatrical side of shows by playing a sampler (which I must say, is always killer sounding!) of dirty party punk while for this particular show, danced like an 80’s aerobics party girl while blood balloons were thrown at her. Audio aspects aren’t the only focus to these kinds of shows, or even the focus at all sometimes, so visuals whether it be shocking or just plain weird and awkward are well utilized by many of the bands that performed. Speaking of visuals, FUN’s performance, as seen off BREATHMINT’s video, could easily leave some feeling a bit uneasy, confused, or even some individuals to come to a gig guilt realization of playing boring shows their entire lives. FUN was definitely fun.
-Boulders, playing a cover of ‘heatwave’
-Russian Tsarlag, photo from Erin H.
7PM Night Show @ Andrea’s Garage
-Then and Than
After a nice afternoon break of beverages and Nathan’s famous tacos, the dark was turned on and the night show began. Kicking off was the best Then and Than set I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot! Andrew (central member of T&T)’s dream (or nightmare?) seems to come more true everytime I see him, with additional self-made mutant latex masks and additional members to join his mutant cult. That being said, this cult of the Then and Than led by their contorted, synth playing priest, created some of the dirtiest, most deformed/detached sounds I heard out of any band that played throughout the entire bloodfest. It was like being at a No Wave church funeral. A fitting set for sure, and kicked off the darkness and confusion of the night to come. Keeping no wave in mind, there were a couple other bands that played during the night show that not only took a no wave like approach towards deconstruction of a love/hate relationship with artistic intensity, but also some of the late 70’s no wave sounds. Big and Tall, who blew me away (as if I haven’t been already blown away many times this day), used a high-pitched effect on vocals and played the “wrong” beats at the right time. Small Pox, who my friend Andrea warned me that I’d like a lot, blasted with a set of dark punk and locked rhythms that would make Rhys Chatham proud. My friend Andrea and Sean’s band Parts and Pieces of Past Ticiples also always kind of reminded me of that dark art era, and this time with an additional member (WHO IS ALSO MY FRIEND) that made trumpet/lazer synth transitions. Boulders during their 2nd set made me realize just how great the sound of madness is capable of, to the point that it can take over your entire electricuted body.
-Small Pox (not from their Bloodfest set but still rad, vid by Dan McGuire)
–Josh P. playing drums for Preaux Breaux Geauxld
At some point during the night’s fall, the trees began to take new shapes and my body slowly crystallized into a solid, non moving cocoon-like form during Ant Parade’s 2nd set. Ant Parade, who is a dashing gal named Brigid’s solo electronic project, soothed the previous noises and detached spirit matter of the room into an angel field tunnel of vocal layers upon vocal layers. A celestial event for sure, and to hear such beautiful, chirping sounds in a middle of a mostly noise/energy driven event is quite impacting, like a singing, star-eyed child in a middle of a battlefield. Alright, no more metaphors! Let’s just say that was one of my favorite acts, and I was ready to move again once bands like overdrivers Slavescene and body shaker Outmode played. Not only was it a special moment for me to see Outmode play for the first time after hearing many cosmic funk recordings, but also a couple guest singers were at hand, those being Jimmy (from Skeleton Warrior) who smoothed a song towards a NYC groove wave and also Carlos Bruno (of Gauntlet Legends) who displayed his freestyle magic to Outmode’s sweet synth lines. No, not those kinds of lines. The dance party didn’t stop there either, as Jimmy (in a newly formed band who’s name is unknown to me at the time) kicked off another groove session and Deeyay (feeling no dance music shame) straight up gave life to the strobe lights above and to the crowd turned clubbers. As with most of the acts that played, I was constantly always left wanting more, but not only was minimal crowd pleasing an issue but it also became crucial to try to leave time slot room for the 10 out of the 40 bands that ended up not being able to play the night show or at least get to play at all. Despite this, Pro Bro Gold was able to close off the night with well appraised dance music that included a version of one of my favorite songs of 2008.
-Preaux Breaux Geauxld
-Preaux Breaux Geauxld
This was a mind blowing event and also happened to be my first Bloodfest experience (they’ve been going down since2003 I believe). If you live in Tampa, you missed out. If you enjoy experimental music, alienating sounds, music created in a new light or a return to old ground done well, then maybe you should check it out next year. Even though not everything is for everyone, it still astonishes me that no matter how much overdone, regurgitated shit you have to filter out when it comes to both music and art, there’s always something somewhere in some form changing and growing. Although at times, especially for me, reflections and influences from previous movements always have the ability to unconsciously help build upon one’s own work of art, but the important thing is how someone will utilize what’s already out there with whatever new intentions they had in mind in order to make the end result interesting. Everything is constantly in a reaction towards a previous generation or most likely then not modern culture, it’s just the way and level that these reactions stimulate that matter towards new directions. “Noise” and avantly gardened music, by all means, isn’t a term that’s too brand new to some, but what’s going on from all over the US and most likely other parts of the world is that a lot of these musicians, artists, or just simply people ‘in the know’ are tired of what’s generally fed to the masses, whether it be big issues stimming anywhere from politics to a brainwashing media, or simply the zombified death march of modern music and acceptable art. Also, unfortunately, because of some of the avant garde approaches that some of these bands might take, a lot of experimental music is easily lumped into a category of “attack music,” when actually there’s many musicians maybe even moreso that take an opposite approach that are just as impacting and envelope pushing, even if they don’t rely on harsh methods. When it comes down to it, all we can say is that we live in a “what the fuck” world and all that a person can do is hopefully figure things out for themselves, no matter how much distraction, noise and cultural pollution one must filter through in the information age. Devo has said it best, “it’s a beautiful world, for you, but not for me.”