Very occasionally, what should have been yet another multi-band bill turns into something much bigger than the sum of its parts. On Friday, The Smell witnessed what might have been the shortest, most satisfying mini-festival in recent memory. Though not billed as a music festival at all, the combination of Hawnay Troof, Snowsuit, The Urxed and Dave Scott Stone packed all the punch of a well-curated event.
(Mysterious Hawnay Troof transmission below. Read the rest of our “Smell-fest” review after the jump.)
The five-act bill started with the great Dave Scott Stone (note to the organizers: many might have missed due to the show's aggressively early start time), then rolled into The Urxed, the solo side project of High Places' Rob Barber's solo side project. Percussion-based (dare one say “trance”) The Urxed provided a sample phantasm that more than slightly alluded to heavy, darker parts of High Places–the points when the music reaches almost deafening levels and becomes a convoluted tunnel of off-beat cuts and drum saturated loops.
Next was Snowsuit, perhaps the night's most unexpected treat. A screamo one-man-act of such outright commitment and fervor that all watching were silent in their shared admiration. Just as the crowd had warmed itself to the spastic outbursts and flash stage-diving, Snowsuit threw the mic down and walked off, leading smoothly into the main event.
Hawnay Troof's act is a spoken word, loose-rap, dance/rock, small-stage-as-stadium masterpiece of self-confidence. The man otherwise known as XBXRX's Vice Cooler has no qualms interrupting an irresistible hand-clapping extravaganza to share with the audience the story of a friend who helped him find his confidence and voice and how she recently was murdered in a hate crime. The confession ended with him noting that art and music, in essence, are almost secondary to the act of community. He then launched into a brief cover of Laurie Anderson's anti-government anti misogynistic piece O Superman.
It was a tough act to follow, but somehow Panther managed to get up and pull together an ecstatic shot of energy that brought the entire thing to a neat cozy two-hour experience. The Smell, as usual, gets it right.