Live Review: Heliotrope X Night 1 (Thursday)

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Breakout Band: Breakaway
A dramatic mix of almost opera like singing and witch house/grimy R&B beats. It was a captivating performance, one that stood out in a way that no other set did during the weekend. A unique talent that, while I am sure would push boundaries in some audiences, was right at home on night one of Heliotrope X, getting a rousing ovation after his set.

Most Fun: Puny
The dup whipped through heavy, angular garage freak outs. They created a circus like atmosphere, at times featuring off-tempo songs about eating dinner sung in a 50’s crooner style of singing. They sounded as if Animal Collective were covering Gay Beast, but had a better sense of humor. And sang a song all about sports.

Most chill: Robust Worlds
Although the set felt like it might have been rushed, he didn’t let that kill the vibe as his reverb soaks acoustic jams were a nice mellowing near the end of an evening that stretched out into varied sonic territories.

Most avant-garde: Paul Metzer/Milo Fine
Starting out the fest with a two staples who used woodwinds, an acoustic with a cymbal affixed to the bottom, and a pile of cymbals played by Fine’s feet to do some experimental wandering. A good tone-setter for the weekend.

Most murky: Mar Harbine
Former Skoal Kodiak member brought the haze with his new solo project. It wasn’t as dancy or aggressive as Skoal, but featured similar demented synths and cracking drums filtered through a gloomy lens. Also, there was still spooky lighting on stage, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Most commanding: Comb Boats
The new (to me) three piece closed the night with an incredibly commanding performance, featuring thundering guitar in a asymmetric duel backed by Freddie Votel on the kit. It was wave upon wave of noisy guitar, crashing against each other like sheets of metal. It also featured the most fog of the night, which was cool.

Best use of space: International Novelty Gamelan
Getting people outside on a beautiful spring night only enhanced the yearly tradition of seeing International Novelty Gamelan and their unique brand of music at Heliotrope. I wish more bands would have used the ample parking lot behind Intermedia Arts.

Pictures of all of the performers from Thursday night can be found here: http://www.reviler.org/2014/06/06/photos-heliotrope-x-thursday/

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