Photos by Sydney Root
Gazebos, the second of four bands on the bill, kept up the energy as if handed a wayward kite. With recent appearances on Art Zone and in City Arts’ “Best New Music” feature, the foursome have no reason not to ride high. Like an unpredictable signature from a shaking hand, the group dishes out chaotic key changes and spastic micro-grooving. Lead singer Shannon Perry’s crooned complaints are all too relatable, especially in the Emerald City’s dating scene, so what else could the crowd do but dance? (Check out “Boys I Like” and try not to nod along.)
Taking the torch from there was local favorite Great Spiders, the passion project of lead singer and songwriter Omar Schambacher. Streetsmart hooks latch onto the tunes’ lovelorn lyrics, creating an emotional tug-of-war. Resisting this rainy-day rock is as futile as convincing yourself you’re over that ex. The Cockpit’s lack of a legitimate stage continued to work in the performers’ favor, as attendees mashed into their space, elevating the in-your-face party feel echoing throughout the packed-to-the-max room.
That’s right; no calls for the crowd to move closer were necessary this night. The audience extended out beyond where people could even see the bands, and still they bopped along. Two platforms in the room allowed extra standing room, perfect for filling one’s eyes with the fog machine’s vapor and colorful, seizure-warning-worthy visuals provided by Kevin Blanquies. As Religious Girls blew the roof off the night, everyone seemed to crest and combust together. Swelling keyboards, tangential drums, and primordial shouting make the trio’s sound ethereal and visceral at once. It’s noise. It’s pop-metal. It’s romantic and terrifying. It’s exactly what the evening needed.
HER’s website states that its “focus is on found sound, field recordings, forgotten music, local musicians, bedroom recordings, low-fi demos, dreams, storytelling, and things that feel real.” This otherworldliness is exactly what was delivered on March 20th. If you like the sounds of that, consider supporting the volunteer-run organization yourself. Doing so can help ensure that a year from now, we’ll be cheersing to MAGMAFEST 2016.
For more photos from MAGMAFEST 2015 check out our album on Flickr