West Bank Music Festival with Astronautalis, 8/18/12

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Ryan Siverson

West Bank Music Festival
With Astronautalis, Wiping Out Thousands, Bloodnstuff, Brass Messengers, MaLLy, and more
West Bank, Minneapolis
Saturday, August 18, 2012

See Also:
Slideshow: West Bank Music Festival
Wiping Out Thousands talk new album and West Bank Music Festival
West Bank Music Festival with Dessa, 8/20/11

"The rumors are true," exclaimed hip-hop artist Astronautalis during his headlining performance at the City Pages West Bank Music Festival, "I moved here a little over a year ago because I wanted to live here more than anything in the world." And it was easy to see why. People piled into the blocked off Cedar Avenue on Saturday afternoon and evening for a fully loaded local lineup. Over the day, the West Bank was covered with creative collaboration. 

Photo by Ryan Siverson

Earlier in the afternoon, the 11 musicians of Brass Messengers -- including trumpets, trombones, sousaphone, saxophone, and clarinet --  abandoned the South Stage to be on the same level with the gathering crowd and proceeded to lead them down the street. During one number, Chicks on Sticks joined in with dancing and blowing bubbles. They were decked out in bright pink and yellow costumes that covered up their towering stilts. An audience member joined in with tambourine while a few brave souls added in dance.

Photo by Ryan Siverson

St. Paul duo Wiping Out Thousands jolted the main stage with their first-ever outdoor performance. "I'm A" and "Closer" were featured from their Reaction Machine EP. In addition, they revealed a new song, "Beach," consisting of Taylor Nelson's accented scratches created by the slide of his top guitar string. Lead singer Alaine Dickman manipulated vocal loops with the touch of her fingertips. Fading from a white noise induced soundscape, Dickman's luring voice echoes, "Invite me to your underworld."

Photo by Ryan Siverson

With a polar bear trekking across the back of his shirt, Bloodnstuff guitarist Ed Holmberg turned around hitting the microphone at full force with his dark toned vocals. "A couple more songs now that my voice is warming up." Holmberg was being too humble. With drummer Dylan Gouert filling out their sound, Bloodnstuff's raging set struck distinctive rhythms fueling the crowd's undulating movements.

"Make some noise if you're having a good time in the 612!" said MaLLy with his hand outstretched to the crowd. The South Minneapolis rapper had a conversational air about him, and wanted to have a personal connection with the West Bank audience. "Get closer," he beckoned. "Hip-hop is an intimate art form."

Photo by Ryan Siverson

The vibing set list included "Shine," "Renaissance," and "Lights Off" which initiated the collaboration between MaLLy and the Sundance Kid leading to their most recent release, The Last Great...,which was given away for free after his performance. "I want to share my passion...the city of Minneapolis has been good to me," he said.

Photo by Ryan Siverson

Our fresh transplant Astronautalis' gravely voice rapped and rang out for  "This is Our Science" among others to the numerous hands swaying in the air while Plain Ole Bill, a friend he met during his Dinkytown days, provided the beats. Rutabaga, babies, red wine and being the only sober kid on the public transit became the selected topics chosen from the audience for Astronautalis' free style portion of his set.

Closing the outdoors portion of the night, Astronautalis flashes his charismatic smile, "Minneapolis, I fucking love you."

West Bank Bars opened their doors to continue the festival stretching to Palmer's where Poverty Hash, whose vigor extended past the small stage nook placed in the corner. The bassist's fingers darted feverishly up and down the frets as the smiling crowd filed in for another helping of music and good company.

Flooding towards the Red Sea, Phantom Tails brought "Light of the World" including jumpy beats and bleeps while lead singer, Orion Treon reigned through, walkie talkie microphone in hand as a kaleidoscope of lights whirled about the room. The throng of people bounced along to "Dressed Wounds" which made a transition into a turbine charged interlude that led into their closing, "Flotsam and Jetsam."

Critic's Notebook:

The Crowd: Biking, smiling, and bouncing around red beach balls during performance

Random Detail: It started to rain, as if on cue, to transition the festival indoors.

By the Way: All proceeds from the festival went to the West Bank Business Association to continue their work in the West Bank Community.

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