Whartscape 2008 Day 2 Review

inside the 2640 space

Whartscape 2008′s Friday show was at the 2640 Space, a church undergoing renovation assisted by the Red Emma’s collective. In exchange for their services, they get to hold events provided there is no alcohol sold/drunk on the premises…house of God and all.

This year’s line-up has more variety with a less shotgun-based approach of toss whoever, together whenever (as intimated by Adam in our interview). And what more perfect theme for the 2640 Space than a night focusing on folk, performance art and generally softer music and calmer music than the electronic spazz rock Wham City is better known for. The hallowed and empty space, presided over by stained glass cut with sacred and holy images, is one cavernous room. An orator’s dream, as well as any musician or vocalist.

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K-Swift passes at 27.

K-Swift, Bmore Club DJ and superstar, passed away this weekend at a far too young age. More official statements on the way. Make-shift eulogy from Dirty South Joe @ low-bee boards. Read on for the full post.

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Abe Vigoda – Skeleton (Post Present Medium)

Easily the most striking thing about the new Abe Vigoda album is its production, which is downright poppy relative to tour-mates No Age. Spindly guitars with bizarre effects take up odd angles against each other and tumble from the speakers like Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s used to do when he played in a rock band. Vocals are occasionally intelligible in the mix, performed with a discernible charisma, sometimes chanted, with a dedication to pitch and harmony that recall Eric Gaffney. They’ve also clearly taken a textural shade from another Pride of Baltimore, Animal Collective, minus their obvious influence of that fucking catbird that sits outside my Parkton window every morning and insists upon squaking until I wake.

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The Watchmen adaptation gets Smashing.

This is one of the few times my personal views will really skew a post on this site. I really shouldn’t even be posting this as it is so non-musically related, but hell it’s my ship and I’ll turn the rudder when I want to! First the music business: this may be the best use of Machina-era Smashing Pumpkins track…EVER (Nolen from Double Dagger agrees).

Watchmen is, in my eyes, one of the greatest works of fiction in any genre. Following the tortured existence of superheroes in an alternate reality 1985 Cold War USA, characters such as Rorschach, a vigilante force-of-nature whose only superpower seems to be tenacity and resilience, make the work truly engrossing. It puts brutally realistic and flawed characters in extremely unrealistic situations, while addressing universal themes and philosophical struggles.

One of the few works truly deserving the descriptor epic (it would seem I am in good company, as Time magazine agrees in its All-time 100 Novels feature in 2005). The news-stand meta-commentary and analysis running concurrently with the main storyline. Intrigue. Love. Death, unceremonious and final which is such a rarity in the graphic novel/comic book genre. For me, this work is probably the most compelling argument for the validity and power of the graphic storytelling medium, proving that it is just as valid as any other method of storytelling and can carry as much weight. In fact, the visual elements by Gibbons are so well done, so integral to the pacing and meaning of the work, it’s hard to imagine ever writing this story without the aid of visuals. Which bodes well for the film adaptation forthcoming from 300 director Zak Snyder. His attention to detail and fantastically accurate reproduction of scenes from the graphic novel onto the big screen will likely be a big asset.

If you saw The Dark Knight this weekend in a mainstream theater, then you’ve already seen this and probably though “WTF is this about?” If you haven’t then please, take a gander at this.

Now start salivating and praying this is more substance and less flash than Hollywood is used to.

Non-Whartscape events this coming weekend

So there is this little thing called Artscape coming up. Apparently it runs Friday to Sunday. I guess they are trying to compete with Whartscape?

Kidding aside, Baltimore is busting at the seems with live music this weekend. Also running, and partially funded by Artscape, is High Zero’s Exotic-Hypnotic Festival of experimental improvisational music. It takes place at the University of Baltimore’s Student Center Performing Arts Theater, 21 W. Mount Royal Ave., 5th floor.

I will not sleep for the next four days.

Here is a quick rundown of non-Whartscape events the Aural States reader my find interesting:

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Whartscape Recap

So Whartscape is here. If you were smart, you saw Matmos last night. If you are smart, you’ll be seeing Arbouretum and Beach house headline tonight’s lush 2640 bill.

For those of you who might have missed it, we did a series of small interviews (min-terviews) with notable ne’er-do-wells who are performng Whartscape, asking the same 5 questions and seeing who tolerated us enough to get themd one; it was called Countdown to Whartscape.  Here they are, rounded up for your enjoyment and edification:

T-7 Andy Abelow

T-6 Arbouretum

T-5 WZT Hearts

T-4 Parts & Labor

T-3 Ponytail

T-2 Thank You

T-1 Jana Hunter, DD/MM/YYYY, the Creepers

T-0 Cex and Dan Deacon, Matmos

So, who did you like best?  Find anything interesting and informative, or maybe downright shocking?

Jay Reatard, Vincent Black Shadow, Ratsize @ Sonar

Ratsize @ Sonar, BaltimoreAlexa’s Take:

On a Sunday, I was curious to see what crowd would show for this rainy summer night of punk-ish madness. Sonar introduced Ratsize, leading the show with a loud, messy performance, including a cover of the Adolescents’ “No Way”. Lead vox Pat Martin put on a pretty good show, ramming into the crowd and spitting beer on himself, but the band lost momentum when they paused between songs. Right when you got a steady beat, hyped up and ready for more, the song would end and they’d take a minute to recall next-up on the set list. Maybe it was just Pat getting some Oxygen after choking himself with the mic cord.

Next up was Vincent Black Shadow, and I’m not sure if it was the gangly long-haired bassist rocking out across from me, or the loogie that hit me around the third song, but something about this act was disgustingly exhilarating.

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Countdown to Whartscape: All systems go! Last minute mini-terview w/ Dr. Drew Daniel (Matmos)

1. Describe your feelings on Wham City and what it means to you?

When I first was making a decision about whether or not to take job
offers in Toronto and Baltimore I told my grad students in a class at
the Art Institute about the tossup and one of my super energetic and
hilarious students from Baltimore started ranting about Wham City and
how righteous the scene here was and telling me that I should skip
Toronto. I took her advice and haven’t regretted it. (Sorry Toronto!)

2. Describe your feelings on Whartscape and what it means to you?

The show we are playing takes place on my birthday so it mostly means
Happy Birthday! Aside from that, it’s the fest that we missed last
year because we were moving and now we get to play in the sweet spot
with some of my favorite people from this city. Being on a bill with
Leprechaun Catering and Nautical Almanac is intimidating.

3. Describe your feelings on Baltimore and what it means to you?

More than I can say in a questionnaire.

4. Come up with a snappy tagline/mantra/motto for one or more of the following: Baltimore, Wham City and Whartscape.

You’re never going to top “The City That Reads” for Baltimore.

5. If all Whartscape performers were required to don some sort of
costumage, in the spirit of Baltimore, Whartscape and Wham City, what would
yours be and why?

I would wear a snake costume because Baltimore has been a
skin-shedding place for me.

Countdown to Whartscape: Ground Zero feat. Dan Deacon, Cex

This is it. It’s here. Whartscape 2008 kicks off tonight at the Charles Theater with a spectacular, Matmos- headlined line-up and we hope everyone makes it out.

For the last day of our Countdown min-terviews, we’ve got some heavy-hitters including Mr Green-skull himself, one of Wham City’s patriarchs, Dan Deacon, homegrown electronic music royalty Cex.

Read on!

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MP3: Dan Deacon – Wham City

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Whartscape 2008 Schedule, now with set times!

Now you can plan your time tables between Art and Whart!  Have at thee!  Any bets on what the circles vs triangles thing signifies?

-Remaining tickets will be sold at the door on a first come first serve basis (duh)
-If you plan on attending getting a ticket in advance is highly suggested
-All Show Pass is $40 (6 shows, 77 Performances)
-Individual Day tickets are $12
-more info on tickets and other at whamcity. com


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