The MEGAPOLIS Audio Festival

June 8, 2015  |  Featured

This weekend I caught a few shows from the Megapolis Audio Festival.  In their words:

“The MEGAPOLIS Festival is a multi-day series of events for people to create, experiment with, and experience sound. Artists including documentarians, technologists, musicians, educators, urban planners, scientists, and radio producers come together to celebrate the audio medium and to encourage each other to push the boundaries of sound, art, and thought.”

There were like a million events connected with it, here’s a bit about what I got to see…

Matmos and Kevin Blechdom at The LAB

When I ambled into San Francisco’s The LAB, opener Kevin Blechdom (AKA Kristin Erickson) was pounding the keyboards with both hands, amid a storm of flash cut electronic noise.  After about thirty seconds, they shifted into a piano ballad with a cheap sounding, almost karaoke style backing track.  It was indicative of their whole musical and visual aesthetic, juxtaposing the hallmark pretty with the horror movie ugly, shifting on a dime.

Matmos began their set walking around the space, clapping and making short vocalizations, which began to be picked up periodically by the quadrophonic speakers.  Gradually the duo made their way to their computers, and noises both natural and artificial were slowly introduced and taken away.  After an energetic peak, the music pared down to creaky ship like sounds, and one of them (I believe it was M.C. Schmidt) played a flute!

Block Party with Fantastic Negrito, Chief Xcel (Blackalicious), The Kitchen Sisters, Glynn Washington, DJ Shruggs

This was awesome, it was held outside Black Ball Universe Studios & Gallery, and it was super fun.  Food trucks, great performers, good intentions, and the fantastic funk soul gospel of Fantastic Negrito.

Doseone, Gamelan X, & TFPP with Nelson’s Electric Chaircuts at The Oakland Metro

Gamelan X opened the show, with the high energy funk fused gamelan music.  There are numerous great gamelan ensembles in the Bay Area, some traditional, and, some not so traditional.  This group lets other genres weave their way into the sound, and the result is energetic and fun.

Nelson’s Electric Chaircuts is a guy (presumably Nelson), cutting hair while wearing an amplifier on his back and effects pedals on his belt.  He’s been doing them since 1989, and it’s a refreshing kind of performance art that isn’t pretentious but rather all around fun.

TFPP had a few sound issues early on, but they hit their stride after a few songs.  The performers at this stop were all energy!

Doseone closed out the show with his hip hop tinged electronica, along with colorful polygon filled cardboard cut outs, in the shape of Ronald Weasley, someone from Dr. Who, Draco Malfoy, and a bear (possibly Smoky).

All in all it was a huge range of artists, and these were just three of the music events.  The festival takes place in different cities, so hopefully it will be back in the future!

– Michael Bang







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