LouFest | 08.28.10

It took us awhile, but we found our musical savior in LouFest organizer Brian Cohen. He has put together a mix of great local talent and internationally famous bands to put St. Louis on the festival map.




Finally, a real-deal, two-day outdoor music festival has come to St. Louis. Music festivals have been popping up all over the United States since the success of Bonnaroo, which debuted in 2002. It took us awhile, but we found our musical savior in LouFest organizer Brian Cohen. He has put together a mix of great local talent and internationally famous bands to put St. Louis on the festival map. For over ten hours each day, one of the eighteen bands performed, with only a five-minute break between each act. The crowd only had to walk the few steps between the blue Stage and the orange stage to catch every band.

I missed the opening band both days (they took the stage at noon), but damn it, I am just not a morning person. Stephanie Sid was just starting as I walked through the entrance, and she was ready to rock. It was only one in the afternoon and she was belting out screams and hopping up and down at the same time. Her voice and persona were reminiscent of a grungier Regina Spektor and/or Lisa Loeb’s evil twin. By the end of her set she was dancing with a long, white veil-looking material until it was wound around her entire body and she looked like the mummy of King Tut.

The nerdy, palindrome-d indie rockers So Many Dynamos followed up by boasting, “We are on a first name basis with 75% of the crowd!” The St. Louis band’s fun, fast lyrics and the synthesizer-driven tempo of most of their songs brought the fun level way up. They invited the Funky Butt Brass Band onstage near the end of their set for “Search Party.” The entire stage turned into an instrument-bashing frenzy that capped off the insanely high energy of the set.

Adam Reichmann came next with a solid guitar-rock set. He could get around his guitar with ease, but he almost seemed out of place. He wanted to curse, but wasn’t sure if he was supposed to. I love a straightforward rock band, but for some reason he didn’t fit in with the eccentric performances surrounding him. Many of the bands commented on the St. Louis heat, which wasn’t bad at all if you’re used to Missouri summers. Reichmann had one of the funnier lines about the weather when he said, “I’m about a million degrees, but you have to wear blue jeans if you’re gonna rock!”
Titus Andronicus pumped up the rowdy factor with lyrics that constantly bashed the happy-go-lucky audience over the head by screaming about how the end is coming and that we’ll always be losers. Patrick Stickles, the lead singer, mentioned that the cure for the “crazy” they were feeling was a singer-songwriter song. After about two minutes of the slow and steady music, he paused, and then yelled, “Fuck you!” while the instruments pounded and screeched behind him.
Lucero didn’t bring much to the show. Either front man Ben Nichols was extremely sick or waste-faced, because he came out saying he had been throwing up all day, from both ends. He left after about five songs, apologizing, “Sorry, that’s all I got in me, I have a date with an IV.”
Airborne Toxic Event played a solid set full of new songs that they’d never played live before. After mucking up the start of one song, they said, “We’re playing all these new songs for the first time and we’ve never been to St. Louis — it’s intimidating!” The entire crowd then cheered them on, which led them to say, “That’s very Midwest of you, in New York they would’ve yelled ‘You Suck!’” After a good ‘ole fiddle/cello off, they ended their set just as excited as I was for Built to Spill. They gushed over the chance to hear Doug Martsch and begged, for the sake of the entire crowd, that he play “Car.”
The heavily bearded Martsch did, indeed, play “Car,” much to the satisfaction of everyone. Fans yelled out random requests throughout the show, but there were just too many songs for the band play in their time allotment (especially because Martsch tuned his guitar after each song and never traded out for a new one). When someone yelled for “Kicked it in the Sun,” he looked over, nodded, and quietly replied, “Yeah.” After dedicating “Twin Falls” to his mother and crushing “You Were Right,” he closed out with the incredible, impeccable and spine-tingling “Carry the Zero.”
Broken Social Scene closed the night with an energetic set including “Texas Bitches,” “Fire Eyed Boy,” “Sweetest Kill,” and “Cause = Time.” This power group, at times, had 11-12 people running around the stage. During “Forced to Love,” Kevin Drew did ten push-ups on the drum platform. After bragging to the audience about it, one of the many band members called him out and said he had only done nine. He fell back down and pushed out one more. Broken Social Scene’s live act is the most beautifully organized mess I’ve ever seen. | Alex Schreiber

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