Firecrackers and Final Exaltations: Voice of the Valley Noise Rally 2011, Day Three
Voice of the Valley Noise Rally Report #4
On the morning of the third day of V.O.V. 2011, our bodies were catching up with us. The driving, the confederate graveyards, the camping, and two full days of music (way more than we can cover completely here, so check out the complete lineup and VICE's recap) had us feeling raw and slimy, like we'd just been born.
Crossfade, Bleeding Palm and Roofless all -- collectively and individually -- identify as city slickers, wimps, big babies, etc. So we were tired. And dirty. And tired of being dirty.
Our fatigue passed, however, at the first sound of music-slash-noise. This duo performed early in the afternoon in the open-mic elevated pavilion we mentioned yesterday.
Weyes Blood was one of a few analog, song-based acts that provided welcome foils to the predominantly electronic (and often abstract) lineup, and one of even fewer acoustic acts. (The number changes depending on whether you consider playing a creek "acoustic".) She performed dark folk music akin to the gloomier Celtic-slash-psych acoustic acts of the '60s. Her final song -- particularly the chord progression, tone of her mandolin, and vocal pattern -- sounded like unplugged black metal.
As discussed previously, various iterations of dance music are being cultivated within the 2010s "noise" scenes. Unicorn Hard-On dropped a stealthy succession of slow-burning electro-house bangers, our favorite being "Persian Cats."
Tusco Terror sounded like an amplifier engulfed in flames. In the above photo, you can see the dudes in the middle leaning into each other. This gradually became more and more aggressive until the table started getting pushed off the stage, and a war erupted with the audience over destroying all of their gear. (The band was trying to trash it; the audience save it.) Tusco was "victorious" when it all came crashing down.
Twig Harper performed the final set of the weekend, and his finale brought V.O.V. back to its square-one roots -- noise. Like an elegant mage standing over a phantasmagoric cauldron, Harper ran a sonic gamut of explosive, pulsing, droning, shrieking, and myriad other tones and textures.
As the weekend's final exaltations rang out through the meadow, someone high on the hill (and who knows what else) set off a small arsenal of firecrackers and bottle rockets.
While Harper was the weekend's official final act, Riley Walker, a guitarist from Baltimore, performed a final benediction. He was completely unamplified and the crowd huddled close around the foot of the stage. The set was short (two or three songs) and comprised of beautiful, palate-cleansing, Fahey-style American Primitivism.
In between the delicately, intricately fingerpicked psalms that signaled the weekend's close, he paused briefly to meditate on all that had transpired: "This V.O.V. shit was pretty fun."
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