Featuring a parking lot, Mae Shi, Oxes, DeathSet, Videohippos, Killer Whales, some bearded women.
Both of Whartscape’s weekend day shows were breathless rotating three-stage affairs in a parking lot lined with barbed wire and Dog in Hat banners, and both were glittering combinations of hyperkineticaly spastic punk rock, static-spitting electronics, vibrant daring and originality, and the occasional eye-roll-inducing costuming excess or reheated concepts attempting to masquerade as such. I mean, I’m not going going to claim it was all excellent, but the sets moved quick enough that the best were tantalizing and the worst were amusing and quickly past. When are you ever going to find 40 bands and not at least a couple that you could take or leave? Rather than waste your time on those, here are a selection of highlights:
- Former relative unknowns Smarts forgo stage for car-roof-with-lashed-on-drums in a kinetic and catchy set involving all requisite “stage”-diving, punk rock riffing, and bothering of audience members.
- The Mae Shi, deliciously hyperactive as ever, and as catchy, fully at home in their current apocalyptic 8-bit punk incarnation.
- An old favorite of Dan Deacon’s, Baltimore legends the Oxes dramatically reform to play a never-ending set of muscularly guitar-heavy post-punk. The audience basically will not let them leave. Much eternal riffing and euphoric surfing on uplifted hands (sometimes simultaneously and by the same person) ensues through a series of encores upon encores, before the show closes and everyone drags themselves out and off to Sonar to continue the festival.
- Upbeat, jangly Chicagoans Bird Names.
- Jittery, spidery-melodied Chicagoans Killer Whales.