HoundThe second full day of the annual Gigawatts Festival was upon me, and if the first day didn’t destroy me, this ceaseless day of rocking artists was sure to pound moi into a sweet, sweet rock n’ roll death. So, Saturday started off early, and if there is any band that’ll make you want to start day-drinking at Our Wicked Lady around noon, it is the Whiskey Bitches. This Brooklyn-based trio is set ablaze by guitarist and frontwoman Emily Madge along with the swaying pound of bassist Kate Black along with drummer Glenn Gentzke rounding out this wild outfit – who’s rockin’ anthems of getting shit-face drunk with super power chords and breaking rhythm changes can give up plenty of fist-pumping moments, their sound having a riot girrl wail of greats like Bikini Kill as well as equal parts party girl bands like The Donnas on top of garage-y pop punk of classic awesomeness of bands like The Muffs. Sadly, I found out this was Kate’s last show with the band, but I’m sure they both will continue to rock hard in whatever trouble they might find. Hounds Basket were up next, and this all-dude Brooklyn trio of James Watson on guitars and lead vocals, Mike Crean on the skins, and Jesse Fairbairn on bass have a brand of party rock that is a bit more on the power-riffing scream until you drop variety, reminding me of the Melvins and Fugazi, which is certainly a great way to get a party going for me.
Next was Motion Studies over at the outdoor beer garden main stage called the Well, getting a little disco-styled funk party going on early. Soon after, I headed up to The Wick for one of my favorite local bands Haybaby at the Wick, and this trio headed up by the howling voice and volcanic axe playing of Leslie Hong – who plays a molten blend of earth-shattering rock that draws from deep in the dark foreboding depths of guttural moans to explosive metal-infused apexes propelled by the driving guitars, is truly something to behold. Propelled by the rhythms of Sam Yield on bass and Jeremy Duvall on drums, they could not produce a more burning, evocative, and spine-tingling sound. Next was another Sam Yield-driven band called Piers, who have a kind of wacky dance-y rhythm sense about them with lots of playful Caribbean-styled jams mixed with new wave synthy-ness and a post-punk rawness that really filled up that cavernous reverb you would always seem to get in that chasmal chamber room. Following that was another Brooklyn outfit Shark? who have a somewhat more bouncy, yet still quite heavy rocking sound – like a party Pavement band, which I say with all the possible fuzzy beer-soaked love. Another one of my deep local loves by the name of EULA was on after that, and headed up by a true miracle of rock n’ roll magic by the name of Alyse Lamb who uses her guitar like a mystical sword and her voice like a enchanted horn in the slaying a massive evil dragon – crafting a unique sound that utilizes both unusual harmonic layering with some very compelling lyrics, and a very crafty yet extremely driving time changes, and brutally scorching jams to produce a sound somewhere between the Kim Gordon-fronted Sonic Youth, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Babes In Toyland. The recent addition of a wailing sax player has added a certain sprawling feel to their sound as well. Check out their last album Wool Sucking and I think you may very well get transported to another planet like I did.
Next, I caught a bit of the folksy duo Jack and Eliza on the main stage, a twosome who share a very nicely wistful harmony. Afterwards, the Western Massachusetts all-girl punk outfit Potty Mouth, who were the first non-NY band of the day for me. The young ladies do have an attractive 90’s-era pop-punk sound that cries of Liz Phair and Sleater-Kinney. The fiery redheaded frontwoman Abby Weems does rock out a powerful Bikini Kill/Kathlene Hanna feminist dogma but with a more party smirk more reminiscent of Hanna’s Le Tigre-era suffragette romp. Honduras then absolutely exploded upstairs, bringing on their ass-kickin’ combustible punk stylings to new heights, and have been proving themselves as of late, to be a Brooklyn band to watch as they’ve been getting some major press and playing some rather high-profile gigs, and are perfect to mosh away the blues to.
Meanwhile, the main stage had descended into a dance party with the DC electronica outfit Anamanaguchi – whom played on a shadowy stage lit only with fancy glow stick-looking devices in the back. Playing their instruments over quite a bit of recorded sounds and synths, they did have a very dance-inducing groove, as well as one of the biggest crowds of the whole fest, mostly packed with what looked to be mostly video game-loving teens, all wildly boogying to their beats. Personally, I would think they would be better with one or two keyboard/synth people kicking out those sounds rather than depending on the pre-recorded sounds, but one of my fav moments was when a spitfire lass by the name of Meesh came out to sing and bounce around and really added a lot of slick energy to their performance. Meanwhile, The Mystery Lights continued the hard–rocking energy upstairs with some bad-ass raw rocking sounds, also playing in almost pitch darkness, but with a lot more leaping abouts in epic rockatude with a high-voltage garage rock blending a 13thFloor Elevators-styled fuzzy and jangling psych rock with a classic organ-heavy Zombies sound. Then the Boston band Pile emerged, displaying a surprisingly tight hand to some rather slick songs and actually became one of my favorite bands I had not seen yet, of the whole fest. Finishing out the night for me was NY noise-rock veterans Ava Luna who are back out in support of a new album Infinite House. They are known for their diversity of sound, swerving between a sound of fiendishly funky, seductively mellow, and bipolar blasts of noise while pretty much the whole group take turns fronting their shimmering tunes.
Article: Dean Keim