MUSIC: Rocktucket Gives Life To the Heart of Pawtucket
Monday, September 17, 2012
Rocktucket, a block party put on by the Pawtucket Arts Festival featuring amazing local and touring acts on Main St. in the heart of one of The Ocean State's most creative communities. Countless food trucks, a cash bar featuring nothing but the best local and national brews and wines, rabid fans and good vibes were resonating in the air as spectacular displays of harmonious excellence put the immense crowd in a midst of shock and awe. Part of a fantastic 3-week festival schedule, Rocktucket was in a class of its own by having a great smorgasbord of musical talent showcased on a extravagant stage set-up. A great time was had by all, especially with one guy who made some weird, eccentric dance moves while repeatedly taking his clothes off and putting them back on in celebration of the dynamic tunes put on by each band.
I made it in time to see a great local rock & roll duo that call themselves Party Pigs show their stuff to a captivated audience. Sounding like a mix of Motorhead and The Sex Pistols, Party Pigs with their electrifying chords, pulsating drums and howling voices really blew my mind. Singin' about good ol' sex, drugs and rock & roll, these two guys even had someone from the audience get on the mic with them as well, giving a Kurt Cobain-esque vibe of just not caring about what anyone else thinks with reckless abandon while letting their tunes serve the role for kicking ass and taking names. I hope to see Party Pigs play again soon, maybe even throw back a couple beers with them sometime just to see how rowdy they can get.
Microwaves, a progressive hardcore math rock band from Pittsburgh, PA with droning riffs and psychedelic tendencies, went next on stage and definitely had an original sound that combined all sorts of genres and influences into one. Their music felt like if you threw the sounds of Lightning Bolt, Pink Floyd, The Ramones and Black Flag along with a gravely version of Fugazi's Guy Picciotto's voice into a blender and out came this black sludge. With a bass player that was using a bass without a head stock and tuning pegs, drummer with a microphone headset and a guitarist who sometimes played a guitar without a head stock and tuning pegs either, Microwaves displayed the innovation that I've witnessed in the legendary noise scene in the Olneyville section of Providence. Why not start a campaign to get them to move from The Steel City to The Creative Capital?
Providence's own Lolita Black and their ingenious brand of metal-punk graced the Rocktucket stage and put on the best performance I've seen from them yet. Kaleigh Crass's furious display on the drums syncopated with Jacob Blanchette's unfathomable skills on bass, Bob Otis' loud, badass guitar playing and the howling, Edgar Allen Po-etic voice of Scarlett "Skiz" Delgado on her golden microphone made you want to scream at the top of your lungs, set things on fire and cause flat out destruction to everything around you. A great set featuring "Black Witch", "Criminal", "Tightrope" and "Serpentine" dropped jaws, melted faces and made sure you were never going to be the same ever again. These hellacious human phenoms are putting new album out called Flesh, Blood & Bone, you better get yourself a copy next time Lolita Black shows up at a venue, basement, dungeon and/or crypt near you.
The Rice Cakes
The Rice Cakes were playing their last show in Rhode Island for a while to start off a 15-date tour of New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North & South Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey and they sent the crowd a great temporary goodbye with a fantastic exhibit of their unique brand of indie-pop that has garnered them so much respect and praise from their fans and peers over the past 5 years. Kicking off their set with the one-minute number "Hate", everybody (as with every Rice Cakes show) started dancing up and down Main St., an energetic performance resumed with "Halloweenie", "Floor Boards", "Zabudabudee" and "Magma" that ended with a huge applause from the people in attendance. Best of luck to Roz, Justin and Casey on their tour, and if you manage to be in the neighborhood when The Rice Cakes come to your town, you better show up and see one of the best bands to come out of New England in a very long time.
Neptune from Boston had a very different stage set up than everybody else who played Rocktucket, with makeshift instruments and an experimental industrial sound that made me think of Nine Inch Nails but if Trent Reznor used nothing but pots and pants to make music. These guys had an organ made out of black PVC pipes, a guitar made out of metal wiring with no body, another guitar that looked like Bo Diddley's "The Twang Machine" cigar box guitar but with devil horns sticking out the bottom of it, a drum set with two snares and a wooden keyboard. Their droning, clashing sound put the audience into a trance, the sheer originality being exploited by these guys put me in a state of absolute amazement. Hopefully Neptune will come back from the cosmos and grace Rhode Island with their music once again.
In my opinion, Verse is the best hardcore punk band in Providence and maybe even beyond. With the raw fury and emotion showcased by vocalist Sean Murphy, Zak Drummond's and Eric Lepine's traversing guitars the did nothing but express emphatic riffs and shredding through each song, Chris Berg's elegantly rigid bass frets and Shawn Costa being a complete beast on the drums brought the crowd to their knees in a setting that Verse isn't really used to with a stage looking over the crowd while Verse is famous for engaging with their fans to get everyone pumped up around them without a stage. Starting off with "The Relevance Of Our Disconnect", Verse had a fulminating demonstration of anger and rage featuring the songs "The Selfless of The Earth", "Oceanic Tendencies" and "The End of All Light". Verse recently released their fifth album, Bitter Clairity, Uncommon Grace, another great record from an unbelievable band from Providence that you have to get your hands on.
What Cheer? Brigade
Providence brass brand revolutionaries The What Cheer? Brigade brought the night to a close and made everyone boogie and shuffle their feet like no tomorrow. Starting off in the middle of Main Street and then going into the corner of a nearby parking garage where the audience followed suit and raged it up for a performance only What Cheer can deliver. A non-stop dance fest that included the songs "Malequena", "Green Eyes" and their cover of Lightning Bolt's "13 Monsters", The What Cheer? Brigade provided the perfect finale for what was a memorable day of music for all to enjoy. To keep up on what's going down for Rocktucket and The Pawtucket Arts Festival as a whole, log on to www.pawtucketartsfestival.org for all the info. It's a great way to have fun and most importantly, an awesome way to support the local art and music that make the communities of Rhode Island a treasure to behold.
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