MUSIC: Wooly Fair Transforms the Steel Yard

Thursday, August 22, 2013


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Photo of Black Oil Incinerator courtesy of Robert Houllahan

I've been to a lot of festivals in my life, and each one has something about it that makes it special. After going to Wooly Fair at The Steel Yard this past weekend, I don't think any other festival could compare to the craziness I experienced. With amazing DIY art exhibits, delicious food trucks and spectacular bands, you couldn't imagine a better way to spend your weekend than at Wooly Town Fair. The only difficult thing for me is knowing where to start.

The Mighty Good Boys

On Friday, DJ's Born Casual & Dan Tanner were spinning hip-hop and all sorts of other tunes over in the dome while The Mighty Good Boys rocked the main stage. A great performance is always a given from these country-tinged folk-rockers, they're always electrifying with their lightning fast rhythms and Chris's raspy & soulful voice. "Dead Done Wrong", "Upstate", "Take A Train", "Dakota" & "Stranger" were part of another splendid performance that had people loving every minute of it. One of the crown jewels emerging from the Providence music scene, next time The Mighty Good Boys perform in The Creative Capital you better go and enjoy an experience that's sure to be the time of your life.

Junior Beat

Drum & bass dynamos Junior Beat went up next and were simply fantastic. A whole lot of groove exuded from their amps along with a lot of dirty rhythms. Think of the raw styles of Death From Above 1979 mixed with the complexities of fellow Providence drum & bass act Olneyville Sound System and then you got Junior Beat. They currently have a self-titled EP available, I suggest you get your hands on it and give Junior Beat a listen.

Volcano Kings

A band that is always a pleasure to see, instrumental swing surf noir band Volcano Kings brought the noise. When you play songs like "Detective", "Space Warp To Zombie Cougar Planet", "UFO Pork Pie" and "Mechanical Beast" you really can't go wrong, Volcano Kings have such a interestingly cool sound you just can't ignore. Another one of those bands that everyone in the Providence music scene talks about, Volcano Kings will be playing within a stone's throw of the city in nearby Pawtucket at The News Cafe on October 5th. Get wild and lose your senses to a band that'll give you the necessary sensation.

Black Oil Incinerator

Down & dirty sludge rock courtesy of Black Oil Incinerator took things over and It seemed as if the melancholiness of The Cure got mixed with the weird tone of The Velvet Underground and a little bit of distortion a la Nirvana to create a really badass sound. "Bricks", "Window Pain", "Bus Stop", "Afterbirth" and "Ignite" highlighted a magnificent set, it was a grand departure from the music you usually see coming out of Providence. Black Oil Incinerator always plays around the city, make sure to give them a look next time they play your favorite music venue.

The Viennagram

The last act on the main stage on the first night of Wooly Fair was The Viennagram, and to say that they're from another dimension is a vast understatement of how weirdly brilliant this band is. Crazy insane avant garde minstrel creep punk, even that generalization of The Viennagram's musical style isn't enough to really make you know how awesome they are live. "Doom Patrol", "Straight To The Void", "99 Knives", "Glop It Up", "Long Way To Paradise" and "Fiend Age Lightning" were part of a magnificent performance that wowed the audience. The Viennagram has a new album coming out this fall, right in time for Halloween. It's going to send shocks up your spine and electrify your soul.

The Extraordinary Rendition Band

A surprise ending had The Extraordinary Rendition Band leading everyone off the premises of Wooly Fair to conclude the first night and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen the next two days. The extravaganza was only beginning and Saturday was going to be the top day of the fair, so you knew that anything could happen.

Herra Terra

When I arrived to the second day of Wooly Fair, I managed to catch Herra Terra on the main stage. I've seen these electro-pop guys before but there was something different about them this time around. Maybe it was the heaviness of the bass and keys, but Herra Terra had a harder sound than I've experienced from them in the past. "Portals", "Hyperborean", "Buried Youth", "Kittens" and "Reason To Lose It" had an extra edge that I liked a lot, less pop and more straight from the heart. I don't know what it was, but I hope Herra Terra keeps on playing the way they did at Wooly Fair.

Over in the dome, At Bay with Triangle Forest's Brendan Britton on vocals brought more of that electro-rock fury Herra Terra did on the main stage. I remember when these guys first started out and At Bay has really taken strides into honing their songs. Tightening of rhythms and danceable beats had people acting crazy, At Bay had more and more people gravitating to see them perform with every song. Stunning covers of Devo's "Girl U Want" and "The Walk" by The Cure along with "Lighthouse" and "Undertow" got people shaking their shoes all over the place. One of the best performances of Wooly Fair, At Bay is definitely a band that's getting better as time goes on. Keep you're eye on them for future shows or you'll be missing out.

Hard Nips

A band from Brooklyn that is no stranger to playing in Providence, Hard Nips brought their kickass garage rock as the attendees watched them on the main stage. The last act of the day went out with a bang, what I love most about Hard Nips is that they remind me a lot of Shonen Knife but they have an Iggy & The Stooges influence that really makes them rock the joint. "Oblivious In Babylon", "Amazing Guns", "No Action", "Surreal Surround" and "Good Reason" got people dancing, which seemed to be contagious all throughout the day. They might be from The Big Apple, but Hard Nips have gained quite a following here in The Creative Capital. Make sure you see them next time they play in your neighborhood.

Hope Anchor

The last day of Wooly Fair rolled around and when I got to the grand finale Hope Anchor were tearing it up on the main stage. You gotta love their fusion of blues and post-punk rock & roll, these guys aren't afraid to push the envelope with a nasty harmonica and a symphonic violin too. I was glad I got there in time to see Hope Anchor play and it's always a pleasure to see them bring that good ol' fashioned fury. Hope Anchor has a show on August 29th at The Met and a new album coming out later on in the year. So go to the show and get the album, I promise you won't regret doing either one.


A musical duo consisting of Burlapen's Alex Garzone and The Passionate Mammals' Noah Chevalier, Divey came to the stage and soothed the audience with their brand of lo-fi rock & roll. Alex had a new black guitar that definitely changed Divey's sound, giving it a highly amplified feel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Mackenzie Elizabeth also joining Alex and Noah on stage as well, a beautifully intimate departure from all the energy resonating from all the rock bands over the weekend. If you're looking for something a little sinister and dark, I highly suggest you give Divey a try.

Nervous Virgins

Sometimes the lead singer's mic sounded like it was autotuned and he also played his guitar like a bass. With a drummer who has a machine gun type rhythm and a whole lot of weird production, Nervous Virgins kinda threw me off. It's not that I didn't like their music and I champion anyone for creativity, but I just couldn't put my finger on these guys. Maybe that's what they were going for but I just couldn't get myself into them. Remember those times you went to a party at a factory space in Olneyville and you heard the weirdest music ever? Nervous Virgins definitely gave me that impression. One thing I didn't like from them is that one song had a pre-recorded guitar riff, which is a huge no-no in my book.

Even though it did end on a weird note, I had a blast at Wooly Fair and I can't wait for next year. Check out for more details on next year's edition of the art carnival along with logging on to see how you can get involved with the wonders of industrial art over at The Steel Yard. Until next time, see you next year and pay close attention to the booming local arts & music scene in Providence.


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