With four stages in constant rotation, two with bands operating at any give moment, Saturday night’s show at Load of Fun required constant attention to keep up with everything going on.
Darting from one side to the other to catch a set of near cacophonous chopped up hip-ho and club beats from BDRMPPL, we passed a pirate, complete with beard, hat and Jack Sparrow-style dreads, setting up a computer. A full-on desktop computer. “What’s going on over there?” someone asked. “uh, I think that’s the next act”. It is, and it was one of the best of the night. By the time we returned to that side, Beastmaster (Tara Fournier, a lady whose entire internet paper trail seems to be a single City Paper review), had worked a small but devoted crowd into a frenzy with an onslaught of techno beats broken up into harsh and erratic, yet strangely danceable, forms. It was late; there were only small devoted crowds in the place, but Ms. Fournier’s seemed most devoted, or at least most vigorously so. A couple guys on stage behind her leaped repeatedly into the air as she leaned into her full-sized computer monitor and spat out a slurry of preset dance sounds, handclaps and kicks foremost, contorted into odd, chintzy complexity. Nothing ever rested for more than a couple loops, and weirdly stuttered loops at that, which should have ended all attempts to dance right there, but this deterred no one.
And so: moving inside for the night portion of saturday’s festivities, I was immediately reminded of the full weirdness of past Whartscapes. After a day of more conventional, or a least more familiarly unusual bands, here it was back in full effect. Within moments of arrival, I’d been subjected to improvised noise for voice, percussion, and broken violin, solo fuzz guitar, the last bits of a hip-hop set involving hula hoops, and a U.S. Girls-like exercise in spectral manipulated-and-pedaled solo voice. Ed Schrader’s suspicions that he was a ghost seemed substantiated by photographic evidence, just before noise heavyweights C Spencer Yeh and Hair Police took over that side of Load of Fun, while crowd-pleasers like punk trio Smarts, 8-bit dance purveyor Adventure, and Matmos’ Drew Daniels, playing as his glitch-house side project The Soft Pink Truth, kept things moving on the other. Right on until 2:30 or so when I was forced to depart in order to have a bed to sleep in.