Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Arbourfest 3 @ Arbour Vitae, 10/21/06

It would seem that Ann Arbor and only Ann Arbor does justice to the suffix “-fest.” Oktoberfest? Bah. Lobsterfest? Kids’ stuff compared to A Squared’s multi-act, genre-spanning hullabaloos like Madison Fest and Arbourfest.

Held this Saturday, Arbourfest 3 was a daunting evening of music. The acts were incredibly varied — a little bit of glitchy electronics (Ronen Goldstein), some indie-folk (Canada), some noisy indie-folk (the usually sedate Chris Bathgate), a dash of pop-rock (The Dardanelles) and not one, but two bluegrass acts (Orpheum Bell and Frontier Ruckus).

I arrived around 7:30 p.m. I left somewhere between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m.
Here’s what I saw and heard:

The members of Frontier Ruckus were concerned about going on after the aesthetically-similar Orpheum Bell, but it made for a much easier transition into the Ruckus than it was the night before at We Rock, You Decide.

Comparing the two sets now, I think the performance was all the better for it — even if some tempos were pushed to near-calamitous bpms.

Arbour Vitae’s a great place, but when you pack as many people in there as were there on Saturday, it makes for some uncomfortable viewing. Thus I missed out on both Misty Lynn and most of Chris Bathgate in favor of not getting squashed against the loft’s innumerable collegiate artifacts.

I did step into the sound loft to catch “The Last Parade” which I love on a regular basis but especially loved with full-and-messy band accompaniment. There’s a swell in the song when he plays it by himself, but I feel like it doesn’t reach its full potential without a little feedback and horn action.

Canada came on at an absolutely ungodly hour, the lateness of their set perhaps best exemplified by “Magic Sunglasses” Ryan’s inspiredly slap-happy drumming.

A spectacular set as-per-usual from the Canadians, but definitely pushed over the edge of bestness by cymbal fills where once-were-no-cymbals-fills.

Wish these kids good luck as they explore the outer reaches of the continent with Headlights, and assure them that travelling by van is totally safe.


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