Whartscape 2009, Saturday afternoon

Post Author: Nate Dorr

Off and running by 1pm, the Saturday show at the MICA parking lot demonstrated some more of that apparent encompassing-of-all-of-Baltimore, this time illustrated by a scattering of bands far less extravagantly strange than one might expect of a Wham City venture, from straight up retro-rock, to New Orleans street music (“this will confuse the Wham City kids,” commented a member of another band), to instrumental jams, to hardcore, to impressive Fahey-esque guitar compositions (Whispers for Wolves).

Naturally, the weird eventually got amped up, first via dual-nose-flute-playing Chicago blues transplant Little Howlin’ Wolf (feat. Max Dogdick on drums!) and no-wave jazz spaz-out outfit the Pleasant Livers, whose set was one of many making copious use of confetti. More predictable (though welcome) efforts fromm the likes of the Creepers, Liturgy, Boogie Boarder, and Talk Normal (sounding completely at the top of their riotous, duo no-wave game) leading the way into the headliners, Videohippos, Bird Names, and Ponytail (unveiling new songs, or at least refurbishing the some of the old with new effects so as to make them sound bright and fresh, something they’ve been tinkering with since last summer’s sophomore album release).

In between, a set from a full marching band, Providence’s What Cheer Brigade, whose extra percussion section attacked halfway throgh the set and included Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale. The best moment of the day, for surprising concept and unique talent, may have been a previously unknown (to me) Dan Deacon Ensemble member named Sam, whose elaborately prepared MIDI xylophone spewed a startling composition in clangs, thuds, smashes, and blurts of voice and noise.