A Place to Bury Strangers, Weird Wives at Moonfest, October 30

Weird Wives' Nick Klein back from the dead.
Weird Wives' Nick Klein back from the dead.
Photo by Monica McGivern

View a detailed, 50-photo Moonfest slideshow featuring amazing costumes and performances right here.

Moonfest
With a Place to Bury Strangers, Weird Wives, Surfer Blood, the Freakin Hott, the Band in

Heaven, a Hunter's Pace, Woodmen Hall, Bladesong, June Bug & the

Reborn Highway, the Clementines, and Under Every Green Tree.
500 block of Clematis Street, West Palm Beach
Saturday, October 30, 2010

Better than: SunFest, possibly?

The Review:
Covering the monstrous spectacle that is Moonfest -- even with just a musical lens on the evening -- is like trying to soak up a puddle with a paper towel.

A high percentage of drunken, costumed attendees -- garden gnomes were popular this year -- looked satisfied to bounce up and down four densely packed blocks of West Palm Beach's Clematis Street. "Let's make some mistakes tonight," one of the members of Value Meal Killah & the Snack Pack called from the stage. But there were trying moments for your yellow-haired County Grind correspondent, clad in a Metallica T and portraying half of perhaps the best cultural critic team since the Muppets' Statler and Waldorf. Chasing down music through a storm of skull shields, stilts, and dudes trying to look like Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover is hard-earned fun.

A Place to Bury Strangers, Weird Wives at Moonfest, October 30
Photo by Monica McGivern

Nothing less than a face-melting was expected from Brooklyn shoegazers a Place to Bury Strangers, the lone out-of-Florida act. On the smoke-filled street stage, the trio looked like a goth adaptation of CHiPs with their all-black outfits, aviator shades, and badges but played with no regard for the law or for eardrums nearby. The crowd near the stage was patchy but dedicated. It was hard to tell if people were standing farther back to better withstand the bleeding speakers -- or perhaps the lack of a posted schedule and staging Surfer Blood inside Respectable Street simultaneously cut the numbers a bit.

Through the nine-song drubbing, APTBS' singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann mostly struck a defiant pose -- but allowed for a few thrashing sessions on his vintage Fender, which had most of its black paint already beaten off of it. By the time the fuzz-drenched exercise in ultraviolence "Drill it Up" kicked in, a group of youths dressed as Teletubbies opened up a sizable and ferocious mosh pit -- which is just as subversive as it sounds. Although it was louder and much more sinister, what seemed very much to be a cover of Bad Company's titular track (but was actually a new, unreleased song) about gun-toting rebels figured in.

A Place to Bury Strangers, Weird Wives at Moonfest, October 30
Photo by Monica McGivern

By the end of the set, the weaponry was strictly the instruments, and "I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart," eventually exploded into a demolition fest. As sheets of feedback and high gain sprayed over the audience, pompadoured Dion Lunadon's bass took the worst beating, and he tossed shards of the black instrument into the crowd with obvious glee.

A Place to Bury Strangers, Weird Wives at Moonfest, October 30
Photo by Monica McGivern

Only a few minutes before, an equally visceral display unfolded inside Respectable Street during Weird Wives' blistering set. With the pose-perfect Nick Klein (fresh from a flight from Cincinnati, he said) straddling the monitors, weaving through the crowd, performing a headstand off the front of the stage, towering atop one of the speakers, and dramatically diving onto the floor next to his bandmates, there was nary a moment when he wasn't reflecting the enthusiasm of the Wives' enveloping noise-punk.

Thomas Fekete (also Surfer Blood) took command with his guitar work throughout the evening and offered coherent banter during moments when the insatiable Klein ("I shoulda had a wireless mic," "It's time for the kissing contest") needed a breather. "Sativa Diva," built on a riff just as tar-black as the Jesus Lizard's "Puss," got the crowd churning. Drummer Marcos Marchesani and bassist Brian Black ably beat the snot out of the low end for "When Doves Cri," a Prince "cover" in lyrical content only. "Bulldozer Puppet Fucker," a lengthy, butt-clenching closing jam, brought Klein into the crowd to shake as many hands as he could.

Critic's Notebook

Best of the rest: Witnessing area folk/alt-country act Under Every Green Tree as a full band was arresting. Frontman Danny Brunjes' singing affect edges close to Conor Oberst's at times, but "Doubt, the Monster" shows that his songwriting prowess is also approaching the same level of sophistication. Add a cover of "Twist and Shout" and the young crowd would've eaten those atrocious peanut butter toffee candies in the black and orange wrappers out of his hand.

The crowd: Sauced, slutty, and often covering their ears. 

Best costume:

A Place to Bury Strangers, Weird Wives at Moonfest, October 30
Photo by Monica McGivern

Random detail: Although it was somewhat gratuitous, I could understand why a girl straddled her guy and made out throughout most of the Weird Wives' sexually charged set.

By the way: Hey, organizers: Please post set times, don't start charging $10 at the door at Respectable Street when Surfer Blood shows up, and put the headliners at the end of the night instead of tacking the Freakin Hott on after everyone's ears were scorched from a Place to Bury Strangers. Just a thought or two.

A Place to Bury Strangers' Set List

Ego Death

Bad Company (Bad Company cover) New song: Heart

In Head (working title only!)
In Your Heart

I Know I'll See You

Deadbeat

Drill it Up

Everything Always Goes Wrong

Don't Think Lover
I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart

Weird Wives' Set List

Snake Boy Fudge

Head Bugs

Burger Bash

Sativa Diva

When Doves Cri

Soft Blanket

Bulldozer Puppet Fucker


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