Hey Louisville, if you weren’t at CROPPED OUT at some point during this past weekend, you really missed something quite special. It wasn’t just that there were a buncha noisy, arty bands and rock n’ roll and whatnot. There was actually a quite palpable community spirit, evidenced by the smiles, high-fives, and general fun it seemed that most everybody had. Didn’t hurt that some of the best weather of the fall made it possible for lots of bands to play outside, too. So here’s a quick rundown of best parts of the festival, complete with crappy pictures from my cellphone.
DAY 1 — FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11th: Though it got started way early on Friday afternoon, and there was some noise issues early on, Friday was a good start, especially for the Louisville bands on the bill. SAVAGES played immediately after LEARNER DANCER, both of which brought forceful, guitar-heavy rock (the former more in a pop vein, while the latter mined some heavy Sonic Youth-style dissonant territory).
One of the early Friday highlights was, of course, Louisville’s SHEDDING (disclaimer: Connor and I are buds, but even if we weren’t, I’d still love his music). Despite his talk of being influenced by RUSH, Connor really brought more of a CURRENT 93 vibe, perfectly mellow yet eerie.
Another Friday highlight was Austin, Texas’s SHIT & SHINE, which featured none other than the BUTTHOLE SURFERS’ KING COFFEY on percussion. Tribal, BOREDOMS-esque throb with synth squiggles and CB radio nonsense. Totally fun.
Other Friday night highlights included (in no particular order):
1. apologizing to KING COFFEY for talking his ear off at SxSW ’07
2. MOUNT CARMEL — and the revelation afterwards that KING has never seen ZZ TOP!
3. bonfires (more on them later)
4. hangin’ with MV + EE‘s dog Zuma
5. SHIT & SHINE‘s bunny suits
6. MV + EE singing “Fire on the Mountain” at the end of a fantastic set backed by TIM BARNES and CHRIS from the CHERRY BLOSSOMS (thanks for the beers!)
7. Locals ALCOHOL PARTY, NATIVES, ANWAR SADAT, and AXEL COOPER showing how it’s done
8. Chorizo taco from the Holy Mole Taco Truck
9. Good times with friends old and new
DAY 2 — SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12th: Saturday started inauspiciously as I showed up to the venue, the CRUMMY DEN, way early, so I wandered over to the FLEA OFF MARKET (where I bought an excellent book of photography from Louisville Hardcore’s poet laureate, Mr. BRETT EUGENE RALPH), then had lunch at the Blind Pig. Missed most of the early sets due to some errands I had to run, but caught a little bit of VIDEO DAUGHTER, who were okay.
After picking up BILL ORCUTT at Louisville’s fantastic International Airport, we made it back to the fest to catch TROPICAL TRASH (above), another Louisville band who were really great, and Lexington’s CROSS (below), our favorite country goth rockers from Kentucky’s Second City.
By the time Nashville’s NATURAL CHILD played, we were a little music’d-out (or perhaps CRAPPED OUT?) and ready for some Cuban food courtesy of the El Rumbon food truck — we got a killer huge Cuban sandwich with a side of insanely good chorizo and rice for only $7! We settled in by the bonfire, telling jokes and stories (and most importantly compiling a list of names that start with “M”), missing most of the rest of the night’s music. Sorry.
One of the highest expectations we had for CROPPED OUT was getting to see BILL ORCUTT, and he did not disappoint in any way. If anything, BILL brought one of the most tense, intense and compelling sets of the entire weekend, managing to do so with only a beat-up, four-string guitar and his voice. Comedy, violence, music-qua-music, sounds-as-music, obsession and improvisation were all there. Yeah. It was tough.
Our only disappointments with Saturday was due to our own negligence in missing CIRCUIT DES YEUX, BLACK GOD, and SAPAT, which were all things we wanted to see. On the other hand, we did open a bottle of 15-year Pappy Van Winkle and shared it with BILL, which was a lot of fun.
DAY THREE — SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13th: It was pretty fitting that the final night of CROPPED OUT was set to end on the 13th, as something this good couldn’t be expected to last. Louisville, this is why we can’t have nice things: SCRATCH ACID almost going to jail while just being in the band room (because the design studio next door had their alarm set wrong) was a pretty bad start to the day, and Louisville’s Finest continued the idiocy by, hours later, shutting down their set with only six songs left to play. Pretty bogus.
However, despite the law enforcement issues, SCRATCH ACID brought it in a major way. Seriously, do whatever you can to see them before this tour is over and they disappear forever. You will not be disappointed.
Also, we have to give major kudos to YOUNG WIDOWS and COLISEUM for being really great openers, perfectly setting the scene for SCRATCH ACID. All in all, even with the “injustice” of being shut down, it was a great end to a great weekend.
Mad props to Ryan Davis, James Ardery, Sabrina Rush, and Mikie Poland for making it all happen!