Over the Weekend: August 8-10, 2008

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First of all -- Isaac Hayes, rest in peace. Lots of bad stuff happened this weekend. Luckily, there was also plenty of sunshine and beer available for consumption.

"Let's have a moment of silence for Bernie Mack and Gene Hackman," announced Pizza Luce Block Party host Ian Rans before introducing one of the bands. Rans' inclusion of Gene Hackman (who is still very much alive, by the way -- unless news of his death has somehow stayed mysteriously clear of the internet) in his moment of silence plea sent a strange, rippling rumor throughout the block party about poor Gene Hackman.

I didn't catch all of the bands at the block party because I left midway through to catch Tim O'Reagan over at the Common Roots one-year celebration, but there were a few definite highlights--especially Millionth Word, who I hadn't seen before. I recognized many of the members of Millionth Word from other projects (Koalas, The Swiss Army) and really enjoyed their current formation. Rita Puskas swaggered about the stage smoking and drinking and occasionally singing and screaming into the mic, and guitarist Andrew Lund took on most of the main vocal duties, alternating between a yelp and a raspy yell. When the two sang together it gave their sound a nice Pixies-esque element, which was only reinforced by their tendency for loud-quiet-loud song structures.

Other highlights of the festival were the Evening Rig, who always provide a nice soundtrack for eating and drinking and gathering in crowds; Kill the Vultures, whose subtly textured spoken word/hip-hop made for a nice transition into the dark hours of the evening; and the Crossing Guards, led by Martin Devaney, who closed out the night with plenty of high leg kicks and beer guzzling. The Crossing Guards were also handing out free download cards for their new three-song EP, and you can listen to their new tracks for free on their MySpace page.

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