Loufest | 08.25.12

girltalk sqGirl Talk’s energetic frenzy wasn’t just evident in Greg Gillis’s convulsive musical mashups, but also in his uncontrollable enthusiasm.



Epic dance party among the rain, confetti, toilet paper, light show, and dance-crazed freaks. No one left disappointed.
Below: J Mascis 

St. Louis, Mo.

Humidity is no stranger to St. Louis summers; however, rain has been an unfamiliar guest this season. As persistent as the rain was this weekend, though, it only added to the already enchanting atmosphere contained within LouFest’s Forest Park corridors. The rain could not at all compete with Saturday’s stellar lineup of local favorites like Sleepy Kitty, Nottingham retro-surf rockers Little Barrie, and veteran mainstays Dinosaur Jr., and more.

St. Louis’s own Sleepy Kitty opened the festival and certainly set the tone for what was to be a great weekend. As LouFest-goers walked in to the festival, they were welcomed with singer/guitarist Paige Brubeck’s gritty rendition of George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” leading into their song “Speaking Politely.” The duo took no time at all to win over fans both new and old. Their set featured several guest musicians, as well as handmade testicle maracas that were thrown in to the crowd for rhythmic assistance.

Fans traipsed to the blue stage shortly after to be introduced to the weirdly psychedelic-scuzzy-rock quartet King Tuff. A few songs in, singer Kyle Thomas took a swig of whatever it was he was drinking (who needs water?!) and milked his voice for all it was worth, exclaiming, “I’ll still be a freak when I’m dead,” before attacking their tune “Keep on Movin’.” Some moments of the set were akin to Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” with a mix of haphazard, heady American rock ’n’ roll, full of distorted guitar solos.mascis

The Austin, Texas, foursome Cotton Mather pounded through their set, riding high on founder and vocalist/singer Robert Harrison’s swagger and dreamy voice. Harrison spoke very highly of St. Louis and gave love not only to Sleepy Kitty, but also to Troubadour Dali. Harrison went on to encourage St. Louisans to support local bands and to patronize local vendors, saying, “outside of home, we love playing here—whether you are or not, you guys always look like you’re having a great time at our shows.” The band slowed things down with their lush melodies, singing “Spin My Wheels” with three-part vocal harmonies, and a beautiful Gibson guitar solo to boot. “Two people fell in love during that song and I know…because I saw it,” asserted Harrison.

Perhaps one of the louder and more surprising acts of Day One, London-based trio Little Barrie wrecked festival-goers’ eardrums with their stripped-down, blues-infused surf-rock. Drummer Virgil Howe even chimed in regarding the relentless rain, saying, “Nice of it to rain; we were getting a bit homesick.” Though traveling the most miles in order to play LouFest, the group was as tight as possible, striking hard and fast through rollicking and punchy English garage pop. Frontman Barrie Cardogan thrived on the crowd reaction, led clap-alongs, and even jumped into the photo pit while wrestling a brutal guitar solo.

The clammy crowd came out to sway along with Jay Farrar’s alt-country crew, Son Volt. Drawing one of the biggest crowds of the day, Son Volt impressed the crowd with rich orchestration, including a pedal-steel guitar and Farrar’s warm, commanding voice. The sauntering, harmonica-filled tunes made for a relaxing soundtrack to LouFest, shifting gears from day to night.

With thumping bass, trip-hop loops, Sarah Barthel’s soaring vocals, and Josh Carter’s bending and distorted guitar, Phantogram sent shockwaves through Central Fields. Breathing became a burden, as forceful beats went straight through the hearts of LouFest listeners. Barthel was genuinely thankful as the crowd overwhelmed her, and told the crowd that their first visit to St. Louis wasn’t as appreciative. “There were only, like, 10 people the first time we came here,” exclaimed a breathless Barthel. “We are definitely coming back!” The seductive and glossy mix of trippy-rhythms, samples, glamorous vocals, and jangly guitar got people of all ages up and dancing despite the rain picking up (again).

Rain continued to blanket the fest, and Dinosaur Jr.’s Lou Barlow reminded the crowd about how rain water and electricity don’t mix; however, that wouldn’t stop them from ripping the grounds to shreds. Smarter concert-goers put earplugs in their ears, ready for the assault; others were treated to hearing loss attributed to J Mascis’ 24-speaker setup. Barlow’s banter was second to none as he rebuked higher education, exclaiming, “Fuck college!” and later saying, “Just kidding; college is all right, I guess.” The hour-and-a-half set list included “Thumb, “Feel the Pain,” “Little Fury Things,” and a wonderful cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” The crowd rejoiced in an enormously loud set, pleased with the peppering of hits and funny banter from the indie rock legends.

The only LouFest artist not donning a guitar of some sort or any percussion equipment was the one who drew the largest, most rambunctious crowd of the evening. Girl Talk was the party to close out Saturday’s LouFest-ivities. Gregg Gillis, sole member/creator of Girl Talk, greeted the crowd in a red hoodie, which was quickly torn off and thrown in to the photo pit (which, one lucky writer—ahem—caught). While Gillis cranked up the Black Sabbath on top of Santigold on top of—you get the picture—the Girl Talk crew, wearing trucker-like hats and Girl Talk shirts, blew rolls upon rolls of toilet paper with a homemade leaf-blower toilet-paper contraption, kicked out beach balls, and lit the gigantic confetti cannons.

Gillis’s energetic frenzy wasn’t just evident in his convulsive musical mashups, but also in his uncontrollable enthusiasm. He teased the crowd a few times, “closing out” his set only to come back seconds later, gasping for breath, asking, “Can we keep this party going?!” Bodies convulsed and contorted in every way imaginable, on stage and in the maddening crowd. Central Field was turned in to a massive dance floor as Gillis ran from amplifier to computer and around the stage and back again. Several LouFest-ers were chosen to dance onstage, while disjointed video screens displayed images of pumpkins, spiders, flames, and skeletons.

After nearly two hours of pulsating party jams, Girl Talk finally ended his set and sent all LouFest attendees home with a smile on their face, rain in their hair, and maybe a little confetti or extra toilet paper around their shoulders. LouFest-ers were serenaded on the walk to their cars while Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” blared over the blue stage speakers. | Jenn Metzler


Sleepy Kitty autographs as the Euclid Records booth


Girl Talk


Son Volt

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