Live review: Judacula Fest

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Judacula Fest: Hungry Girl, Jason Michel, Emotron, Mr. Invisible, 2013 Wolves, 25 Minutes to Go

Featuring Art by Robert Childers, Andy Fenstermaker, Kelly Keith, Justin Coco, Frank Balthazar, Matthew Stover

Tremont Music Hall

July 1, 2011

The Deal: After I had experienced such amazing splendor and recognition of our local creative scene at the last art and music showcase at Tremont Music Hall, Judacula Fest was a no-brainer addition to my schedule. Although the line-up was different, it still incorporated some of our best local talent and regional delights that have become local favorites we are trying to coax into moving here. Hungry Girl, Jason Michel, Mr. Invisible, Emotron, 25 Minutes to Go and 2013 Wolves were to grace the stage and the walls, to feature the artwork of Kelly Keith, Andy Doorbum Fenstermaker, Robert Childers, Justin Coco, Frank Balthazar, Matthew Stover and more. I felt honored to be able to experience another festivity revolving around the multi-faceted creativity that surrounds us every day.

The Good: Hungry Girl was first to hit the stage and the audience, including myself, was truly impressed by what they heard. Although there weren't too many to witness this two-piece alternative rock group, the impression they left on those of us who did was a lasting one in the best of ways. Their musical style was reminiscent of mid to late '90s alternative rock with vocals that projected all the best of the 1970s. He almost sounded like a male Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane. Featuring members of Columns and One Another, we already kind of figured it would be awesome but no one ever expects to be floored like we were.

Jason Michel of Super Ape was next, calming the audience with his ambient tracks. Although I enjoyed his electronic soothing mini-symphonies, I would certainly prefer to listen to his music on a record at home. It's just not music of the standing variety for me. It's well-orchestrated and interesting to see the intricacies that go into his music and it was enjoyable live, like I said, I would just prefer it at home. It reminded me of Richard D James of Aphex Twin's more ambient tracks that have shared the more relaxing moments of my life.

Emotron took the stage third with a set that astonished many and caught a few by surprise. Recently evolving his character in darker, more outspoken ways, he used multiple genres of humor all wrapped up in one bizarre, macabre character that writes, programs and sings sweet, electronic-based, shockingly-blunt and twistedly-funny songs that range from leaving you in a complete trance to shaking your hips and nodding your head. Dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans and cowboy boots with blacked out teeth and weathered face, he bellowed his words towards the audience bantering about different random subjects in between songs and altering his lyrics to be comical like in “People My Age” snickering while adding how 25 Minutes to Go loves Jesus Christ, simultaneously spewing green liquid from his mouth and making turkey calls, sometimes in the place of singing. The Emotron is an anomaly and I cannot wait to see what becomes of his act during his upcoming tour with Andy the Doorbum. He certainly is taking it in a different direction that fascinates me with every progression.

Mr. Invisible melted our faces as they caught us off guard with a more ambient, purely instrumental set that incorporated Scott Blackwood. The three that seem to know it all when it comes to producing and performing electronic music stood beside each other radiating ill, bassy and laid back beats with apparent passion for what they were playing for us. When they laid down the sickness, each of them would naturally cringe in delight for the moment's melodies. Each of them had a workstation in front of them that showcased their skills through the manipulation of the equipment each of them had at their fingertips. I will never be able to get over how easy they make it seem while being able to display the meticulousness of it all. As if watching one of the crew lay it down isn't impressive enough, all three of these guys at once was intense as watching Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow side by side.

While I must say 2013 Wolves played one of the best sets I have seen, I have to admit that I truly prefer to see them on the casbah at the Milestone. They were flawless and got my head banging just as fast and consistent as usual, it's just odd to see them with so much space between them. The pyramid they form as they lean towards one another held way too big of a gap for my taste, although their southern punk was at its most pristine. However, I don't think I have ever seen Neal MF Harper and Robert Childers play a bad show, some are definitely better than others and this one was a shining example of what they are capable of, rocking out and spreading the filthy riffs and head banging beats.

25 Minutes to Go closed out the night to a smaller audience than I would've liked but a pumped one nontheless. Immediately, people started going nuts, banging their heads to the pop-punk jams vibrating from the speakers. Playing an array of songs, some new and some old, they captured our attention and created an overall positivity that was infectious. Smiles spread across faces as they experienced the sampler of melodies that came from the band. Some of their newer songs have a different feel to them, some grungy and less pop-punk than we are typically used to. Pig Mountain's Dustin “Doob” Outen even contributed guest vocals to add a raspy flavor to the new sound. Despite the fact that I have enjoyed every 25 Minutes to Go set I've seen, I have to admit that the stuff from their new album brings a new tone to their show. I'm glad to see them growing but still remaining just as bad ass.

The Bad: I was distraught with the turn out of the show in general. The previous art and music shindig at Tremont had drawn at least 150 people whereas this night, there was probably about 50 total. It was disheartening to see that so little attention was paid to such a sick line up and beautiful, local art.

The Verdict: Overall, this show was absolutely amazing; the music was great and the art, noteworthy and captivating. I hate that the turn out was not as grand as it deserved but it did create more of a close knit environment for those of us that had attended, which is a very special thing when you get this group of people together. All in all, it was a reminder of how much creative versatility circulates around us on a day-to-day basis within our scene. These shows that Robert Childers is throwing have now become kind of a creative community meeting to me. Some of the greatest minds in our community coming together to see (and purchase) the latest visual art and experience some of the freshest music coming from several genres across the spectrum. Until the next event of this nature, make sure you check out the bands on the bill, all of which should be playing in town within the near future. In fact, Emotron will be kicking off a month long tour with Andy the Doorbum this Wednesday, July 6 at The World Famous Milestone Club. Come out and send these boys off right.

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