Hassle Fest extended its winning streak with
its ninth two day festival event at Once this
past Saturday night. In BGN’s
interview with head Hassle man Dan Shea he said the goal of
the fest is “to celebrate the underground of American music
and art, and beyond”. The second day of HF 9 struted right
over the top on that one.
It was an eclectic crew. The arc started hot, best and metallic. Three in a
touch of indie, psych and spazz in the middle and blew through the end with
some ripped rap, new stuff from an old favorite and topped it off with wild,
theatrical post gospel. Not too shabby for a night's work.
The big room at Once worked well. It was packed close enough to push up the
energy and not so close that you had to smell the Irish Spring on the dude next
to you. The stage crew handled the two stages like pros with nearly a break
between the alternating sets. The crowd turned to the right and they were at
the second stage; left and they were at the main stage. The music got underway
at 3. The first band I caught was:
Rejiem - The local trio went at it fast and hard on the second
stage. Rasp voice punk thrash and roll. They have a relatively new
Ep on Bandcamp, called New Beginnings. True to form this was Rejiem’s
last show. Too bad.
Diabolical Fiend - Lead singer Mikey warmed
up with a couple of sounds, one from the fifth circle and one from the seventh
circle of hell. These two outbursts pretty much covered the vocal end of the
musical conversation. This is what Virgil listened to as he took Dante on a
tour of hell - and he liked it.
Goolagoon - go with “deepsea queer powerviolence”
on their Facebook
page. A blast furnace of speedball punk swirling around the rabid
exhortations of Lily who prowls the floor in front of the band
on shredded one minute yowls and rants. On Fire.
Escuela - not to be be outdone by a bunch of goolagons, Escuela
upped the tempo (is that possible?) and reaped the benefits of the big stage
sound. Did lead singer Katrina just hack up a chunk of lung?
Powerviolence catharsis for whatever ails you.
Ak'chamel, The Giver of Illness - Missed ATGoI. Probably for
the best. No flu shot.
Lady Pills - Having spent a couple of hours having our palettes
scorched, Lady Pills cleansed the char. Ankle boot gazing rock of high order
slipped and swayed from quiet to light psych. Tasty guitar solos, tight rhythm
section and mystery guest on chicka chicka percussion.
Nice Guys - Allston crew keep that Boston sound evolving.
Clatter, short, catchy rock. Alternating vocalist. Everything but the garage
and that's a good thing.
Creative Healing - Ok, so they must have some good reason
for going with that name. Don’t hold it against them. They bring the math
and fractal beat poetics. And, you know what that means, right? Saxophones (and
flute). Starts and stops. James Chance contortions and a very Ornette Coleman
tone on alto. The outlier of the day award goes to…
Silk Purse - a touch of Suicide with lots of pedal and repeat
patterns on a thick bass. Tension building vocals. Synth squiggles all under.
Trinary System - Roger Miller and Larry
Dersch and P. Andrew Willis stretch out and interact
with less rules and structure than MOB. Loose, freed up, another facet of a
fine cut rock.
Obnox - make the best of technical difficulties with the guitar
and give us a punchy set of beats and raps with occasional bursts of temperamental
guitar. We can always take more of Lamont Thomas’ guitar.
Pere Ubu - miss New York’s Pill so it's on to the venerable
David Thomas and Pere Ubu on the big stage.
Tonight, Thomas floats between genial abstract Uncle and bad boss. The band
is playing most of their new disk 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo.
Things are a bit tense as the band has a few moments of open practice that piss
Thomas off. That aside it is a fantastic set. How many bands can play through
most of a new disk and keep the audience in the game? Hope they hit town again
after the glove starts to fit.
Sunburned Hand of the Man
Sunburned Hand of the Man - Boston to Berkshire transplants,
SHotM fry all the side stage synapses with one long blast of acid drenched psych
with two drums, an alien, skullboy, creepy hand drawn masks, lurching violin,
a horse's head, some ebb, some flow and fine mind meld melt.
Ono - Another Cleveland based crew. Leader,
Travis takes us on black history tour focused
around the Tuskegee Airmen experiments over beat gospel poetics.
He riffs on sodomy, changes dresses and ends on a Vietnam vet
tribute tear jerk rendition of "America the Beautiful".