Wuhnurth Music Festival: Saturday
Words By J-man
Photos By Greg Molitor
... I awoke just a few hours after falling asleep, and already there was wookery in action. I could hear yelling, laughing and general non-sense. I climbed out of my tent, back into the world of Wuhnurth. The first thing that I noticed in the sunlight was a beautiful work of art. A glorious masterpiece of epic proportions... A unicorn vomiting a rainbow!
The first few hours of my day were spent consuming food and lounging in the shade in the vending area. There were actually two vending areas; one near the main and second stage, the other located near the parking and barn/general store. I was really pleased with the layout of the festival. It was clear that a lot of thought had gone into the planning on this one. The central location of the stage, the accessibility of the stages, the camping in the shade, vending locations, everything was perfect.
Like most festivals, the beginning of the day brought a plethora of generic folky/jamband music. I could describe how nice and mellow, the acoustic music was or skip ahead to some of the acts that stood out to me specifically.
Jaik is a Chicago based musician who's style is hard to describe. I would describe it as vocal driven folk/blues. His playing is loose yet aggressive. I had been talking with Jaik on and off for almost a year and was looking forward to finally seeing him perform. There was a great turn out for his set, as the circus style tent was overflowing with people looking to catch a glimpse and a listen to this viking looking madman. His music and playing were so emotional and unique. His range was wide and only second to the amount of guts that he showed. He was attempting notes that I wouldn't even dream of attempting (while alone in the shower)... and he was nailing every one. He did a few solid covers, and incorporated some beatboxing, while singing. I was throughly impressed with his set. It was raw, emotional, and heartfelt.
I am a huge fan of what Marco does. His melodic style and utilization of circuit bent toys provide a unique sound to our scene. I was captivated by his first few songs, before my interest started to fade. It wasn't that it wasn't good... It just sounded like the album, with very little variation. He would say to the crowd "Let's rage" (in the same tone a the Garage A Trois banter) and then go into to slow drawn out song that itself, housed very little capacity for rage. Ultimately, I ended up walking away from the set to wander aimlessly.
Wuhnurth was my second MC Sparkplug experience. The first was at Green Acres campground for Phish in 2009. Without going in to too much detail, I was not impressed. However out of fairness to them as well as a couple of my friends who enjoy them, I thought I should give them another chance. Prior to their set, photographer Rex Thomson pulled me over to the duo and pointed out that I was the cat that had trashed them openly. I smiled, and enjoyed the awkwardness of the moment. Later that evening we wandered over to catch the tail end of their set, and it was the same as what I had seen the year prior. A bunch of silly rhymes, with a goofy feel to it. The kicker was, they closed with "Under The Sea" from the Disney film the Little Mermaid. Am I missing something?
The Twin Cats
The Twin Cats had an interesting sound. From the get go I was excited about them. The musicianship was good, the energy was high. Granted it sounded like a lot of other bands coming up on the scene, I could not deny the talent or my level of enjoyment. I was moving and feeling it, when all of a sudden the jam went to where so many bands are taking it now days. The music became whompy and glitchy. I lost interest immediately. It was like the band hit a wall and figured they should cater to kids on massive amounts of drugs. After several minutes of this, we got up and walked away. Just as we were walking out of earshot, we heard the band go back to the raging music that we were enjoying. But by that time, it was too late.
UV Hippo is a band out of Michigan that I have been hearing about and listening to on the Archive for a couple of years now. Whenever a discussion comes up about the best up and coming bands on the scene, UV is always one of the first bands to be mentioned. I'm not sure I have seen this kind of open support for a band from the community with such little effort from the band in return. It's like they have no interest in building on their momentum. I had a chance to sit down with UV Hippo and ask a few questions...
From the minute they took the stage I was captivated. As this was the set that I was looking forward to all weekend, I made it a point to be right up front and center. The combination of two lead guitars, sick ass drums/percussion, space synth and grooving low end put me right where I needed to be. Every member of that band is good at what they do, both musically and in regards to reading the musical situation.
At one point, a young lady casual climbed on to the stage... I thought to myself; this is a little awkward, but alright. The next minute she is standing on the main stage as the band is playing. She stepped to the front of the stage and leaned back in an almost ritualistic fashion. Then she was motioning to the band, and speaking to the individual members as they performed? Where was the security? She then went into what appeared to be yoga positions... All while UV was killing it. The next event that occurred pushed this happening right to to the top of the list of fucked up things I had seen this summer. The young lady, while her eyes rolled back in her head; pulled out a marker and began to draw on her forehead. I was in utter shock... It was epic. She was eventually coaxed of stage with a tiny struggle and Hippo went back to killing it. Pure, beautiful, delightful insanity.
My mind wandered... I couldn't fathom how these cats were't bigger on the scene. Was it lack of exposure? Was it the vocals? Was it the fact that they are a bunch of lazy hippies? Maybe a combination of all of the above. After that night, I have decided to take the initiative to do everything in my power to help this band. Go see Ultraviolet Hippopotamus.
Again, the evening began to blur. There was nonsense and wookery, just as one would expect at any festival. Wuhnurth appeared to be an almost perfect balance of family style camping and madness. At some point, I again closed my eyes.