Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012: Turbonegro, Pallbearer, Cult of Youth Rule Day Three
Pallbearer may have started around 1 pm, but kept its audience in mourning. The group moved with the deliberation and anguish of its namesake. Guitarists Brett Campbell and Devin Holt dropped emotional bombs with weight comparable to receiving bereaving news. Campbell used an effect to make his voice appear distant like a ghost whispering in the ear of its lost lover. This was the third time in the last year I caught these Arkansas melancholic musicians, which is special since they only have one album of material to display: Profound Lore released their debut full-length recording, “Sorrow and Extinction,” in February.
Cult of Youth played next on the Black Stage. Without giving me much to go on, a fellow photographer recommended Cult of Youth. The only piece of info he provided was the group uses a trumpet. Judging by the fashion and tattoos of bassist Jasper McGandy, I figured the group as a punk band. They loosely fit this genre tag—resembling Irish punk groups such as Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. In fact, singer Sean Ragon informed me one of the members, I believe it is was McGandy, does backing vocals on Dropkick Murphys albums. The neo-folk vibe was strong, further reminding me of English neo-folk bands Death in June and Sol Invictus. Still, the punk vibe was rampant during moments where the band yelled at the crowd about how we’re all slaves, the theme of their new album “Love will Prevail” on Sacred Bones records.
Brooklyn’s Liturgy could be a poster boy for today’s multi-branch-named bands. They prefer the descriptive tag Transcendental Black Metal. Of course, the term shoegaze and post-whatever always comes into the discussion for bands like this. All these terms aptly describe the band. Other terms to describe their sound include post-prepubescent and ante-middle age, which describes the age gap between their two members. A drum kit bearing Transmission’s logo sat unobtrusively in the back of the stage, saddened by the fact that nobody was pounding its skins or tapping its cymbals. Bernard Gann’s headless stock guitar produced an eerie ambiance doubled by Hunter Hunt. Although the two utilized no bass and drums, they created haunting ambiance.
I walked the length of Auditorium Shores to the Yellow Stage. Like David Cross from the day before, Eugene Mirman presented his comedy bits in front of a rocker crowd. Known for television shows “Flight of the Conchords” and “Bob’s Burgers,” Mirman presented absurdity based jokes. He riffed on the Tea Party a little. He even created a film that he showed on the screen behind him that showed him superimposed into famous movie roles. Stoner comedian, Doug Benson took the stage next to deliver, quite slowly, a few jokes about weed and other topics. He was so stoned his eyelids were bloodshot. He received a huge applaud when he mentioned the upcoming marijuana reformation votes—ones that resulted in Colorado, Washington and Detroit legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Fucked Up walked on stage right before 8 pm. The last time I saw this band, 2007 at SXSW in Waterloo Park, the singer Damian Abraham climbed to a scary height on a stage rig. This was in the day. Now, the Canadian hardcore band was enveloped in the limelight. Abraham took little time before he jumped into the crowd and allowed his fan an opportunity to sing along. A sea of hands and din of voices accosted the big bellied front man. Fucked Up played killer hardcore tunes, but again it was Abraham’s stage antics that have endured in my memory.
Much buzz surrounded Turbonegro’s performance. Transmission really pushed their name and many Turbonegro fan members were found walking around the festival’s grounds. Besides creating a style of heavy rock termed “deathpunk,” which influenced Entombed to go death-n-roll, the Norwegian group utilizes stereotypical homosexual themes in its music and look—all done humorously. New singer, "The Duke of Nothing" looked as if Rob Halford donned Alice Cooper face paint and went on a six-week diet of Twinkies (R.I.P.). The bassist and guitarist on the right of the stage wore jean jackets and sailor hats. The Duke of Nothing and the bassist lovingly smacked each other on the ass.
Before launching into “Shake Your Shit Maker” from their latest recording “Sexual Harassment,” they brought one of their Turbonegros on stage to shake his ass in the gayest manner possible. Whether their shtick offended the crowd or made them laugh, these Norwegians know how to rock. Their new album “Sexual Harassment” will elicit a rise and tingle in the taints of its listeners.
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