OFF Festival 2013, OFF Festival 2013: Day 3, We Draw A, Rebeka, Tres B, Autre Ne Veut, Deerhunter, My Bloody Valentine
OFF Festival Day Three: Deerhunter, Autre Ne Veut, My Bloody Valentine, and More, August 3rd, 2013
It’s a particular feeling, knowing that if my niece ever asks what I did the day she was born, I have a very specific answer. OFF Festival day three, featuring We Draw A, Rebeka, Autre Ne Veut, très.b, Deerhunter, and My Bloody Valentine. For the record: she was born almost exactly as Kevin Shields and the gang took the stage. Congratulations kid, you’re already cool. (Clearly you take after your aunt.)
The funny thing about music festivals: many elements are interchangeable. The same line of porta potties. The same bright-eyed fans, jostling for position to see their favorite acts. The same hot sun. (Note: next time, sunscreen.) While music fans have come to see them as hallmarks of summer, sometimes it’s difficult to know where in the world you are—save for the color of the money in your hands or the language drifting around you. While OFF Festival is careful to maintain its regional favor, they out did themselves on Sunday’s bill, booking three outstanding Polish acts: We Draw A, Rebeka, and très.b.
We Draw A and Rebeka both traffic in danceable rhythms and electronic polish. Perfect for the afternoon fog, We Draw A played an airy, ambient set. One member of the Wroclaw-based duo wore a creepy black and white mask. (Is Burial Polish?)
Rebeka were a bit more upbeat, while still maintaining an air of mystery. Their sound was somewhere between The Knife and Susanne Sundfør. Frontwoman Iwona Skwarek’s painted facemask and a glittery gold dress was somewhere between the disco and the cabaret.
Holding down the Polish rock department was très.b (Pronounced tray-bay.) Having begun their musical career with a PJ Harvey cover, you can still hear the songstress’ melancholic roots in the trio’s original material, which heavily features squealing guitars and melodic, minor-key vocals.
Autre Ne Veut’s Arthur Ashin had the unenviable hard task of translating the slick R&B pop of his new album Anxiety into a live setting. (Thankfully he had some help from keyboardist/vocalist Cristi Jo Zambri.) Ashin strutted across the stage (Yes—strutted. Peacocks are clearly his spirit animal), wrapping his arms around him and occasionally dropping to one knee. Which makes sense—you can’t sing lines such as “hey girlfriend, you’re sexy, I can’t feel my body moving,” without feeling. Or rather FEELING.
It was Deerhunter’s first show in Poland. Frontman Bradford Cox gleefully announced that fact, peering out from behind a mop of black hair. In honor of the occasion, the Atlanta, Georgia-based quintet dug into their back catalogue, delivering a varied set that leaned heavily 2008 album, Microcastle. “I love Poland!” Cox declared after receiving a rose from a fan. He went on to qualify his love—rattling off a long list that included both the “attractiveness of the men and women,” and “Polish New Wave Cinema” as examples of things he adores about the country.
Deerhunter was noisy. Garage is in the band’s DNA. But they didn’t hold a candle to the brain-rattling squeel of My Bloody Valentine. After taking twenty-two years to follow up 1991’s Loveless, it’s as though the Irish quartet made up for lost time by turning their amps up even further. (They go past 11 these days. The ringing in my ears is proof.) Even though performing as though launching a sonic assault, live the songs of their newest offering m b v have an ethereal quality about them. Well—save for their set-ending wall of feedback that rained down on the audience like a sonic storm. Loud, yes. But one, thing’s for certain, My Bloody Valentine certainly know how to go out with a bang.
With that, another year of OFF Festival was in the books. A huge thank you to our hosts. From discovering new regional favorites to dancing to old favorites, we enjoyed every moment. Dziękuję!
Check out a gallery of day three photos here.