Wrockstock Wrecollections – Part 3

Third verse, same as the first.  Or, that is, third part, same as the first.  That doesn’t rhyme.  Ah, well.  The point is, this is a more in-depth look at the Friday night mainstage sets at Wrockstock, with a little bit more heavy-hitting analysis than three numbers I pulled out of my rectal cavity.  Do bear in mind that it’s been over a week, the whole weekend is a bit of a hodgepodge of random, disconnected images and sounds, and I have an absolutely atrocious memory to begin with.

So, first off, we had the Parselmouths, and I’ve got to say, it was the weakest mainstage set (that I saw).  It was by no means bad, and it was even dancey at times, but only sometimes, and it just wasn’t the most engaging or memorable set – musically, that is.  It will be awhile before I forget the epic pillow fight, or the headshots with boxes of Magic cards, presumably left over from Comic-Con.  Speaking of which, while I like free stuff, and Magic is pretty cool, it was a bit of a giant non-sequitur. I mean, they did explain it through their talking between the songs, but it didn’t flow into another song or anything, there was just a portion of their set where they beaned people with chunks of cardboard.  Not saying that it was a bad thing or anything, but it come off a bit more avant-garde than I think they intended.  And that pillow fight was a great spectacle and a ton of fun.  So, I guess I ultimately enjoyed myself, but it wasn’t really because of the music.

Another reason why this was the weakest set for me was because it just didn’t sound great.  Now, normally, the sound was great all weekend (mainstage, at least), but often Kristina’s notes sounded really bad coming out of the sound system.  I don’t know if that’s because the sound tech crew were still figuring things out for the first set, or because she was singing out of her range, or what, but there were multiple times throughout the set where there was some pretty painful feedback and distortion caused by the higher notes.

While there were some musical highlights (like Eia [and I'd just like to point out how cool it is that someone has a name comprised entirely of vowels] donning a terrible wig and an equally terrible male British accent [though again, that was more because of the spectacle rather than the actual music]), I think my biggest problem with the Parselmouth’s set is something that’s not really their fault – I just don’t like their current music as much as their old stuff.  And not in the Onward & Upward sense, in that they got worse, they just changed their musical style, and it’s not a style I like as much.  Case in point: I got really excited when they announced they were gonna stop using real instruments and switch to backing tracks coming out of the speakers, because I like electronic Parselmouths even more so than acoustic Parselmouths (and I like their acoustic stuff – “Quidditch Is My Favorite Sport”, etc. is a classic).  But instead of getting something like “Illegal Love Potion”, it was just acoustic guitar coming out of the speakers, except a tambourine had been added.  Why exactly did they need to do that song using backing tracks?  Abby could have easily gotten up there and rocked out with a tambourine – or did they just not want to relearn that song, or what?  As the backing tracks section of the set went on, it did get more and more electronic, but never quite reaching the sort of thing I wanted.

But hey, that wasn’t a huge deal, because Swish and motherfucking Flick were immediately after, and gave me the sort of electronic wrock I was craving and more.  Getting to see Swish and Flick live was one of the biggest things I was excited about for Wrockstock, and they did not disappoint.  One of my problems with Ministry of Magic’s set (and I will be doing a more in-depth article about their set that’s not entirely pictures of Captain Picard sometime soon) was that since it was entirely done with instrumentals coming through the speakers, there wasn’t any room for improvisation, or repeating a chorus, or getting to see the technical and musical skill needed to make the music right in front of you.  But that wasn’t the case with Swish and Flick – not only was Flick melting elbows and knee sockets with the electric guitar, during one of the songs he pulled out this… thing, where when he touched it, it made a musical electronic tone, sort of like a theremin with a physical interface.  And not as ethereal sounding.  And he proceeded to become a rock and roll wizard on the touch machine.  But live displays of musical prowess aside, it was just a damn fun set.  You may have noticed that I tend to spend more time talking about things that I didn’t like or went bad than things I did like or went well, and while that might be because I am hardened pessimist that has forgotten how to love life, and doesn’t remember until I embark on an epic journey with a kid, a dog, and a shit-ton of balloons, at least part of it is also because it’s harder to come up with different ways to say that something was good.  When a lot of little things go wrong, it’s easy to mention and expand upon all of them. But when almost everything went right, well, you can say that everything went right, and… that’s about it.

Not to say that the set was perfect – apparently they forgot the lyrics during “Cho Chang”, but I didn’t notice, or at least I don’t remember noticing.  And there were a couple issues with feedback, but Stacy managed to turn that into an opportunity for humour.  It was exactly what I want and expect out of live wizard rock – like the recorded stuff, but better.  More fun, funnier, and more energetic. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Now, for The Remus Lupins.  While the number I pulled out of my anus during the previous article was a fine “grade”, it wasn’t the best, and in retrospect, I’m not entirely sure why I did that.  I mean, really, you can just disregard all of those numbers.  It’s odd, but I find it hard to adequately represent my thoughts and feelings about an hour-ish long musical performance with a two-digit number – I’m not sure how pitchfork manages to do it.  I mean, really, what’s the difference between a 7.3 and a 7.4?  Really?

Ahem.  Anyway, I probably gave TRL a more middling score because 1) I’d already seen them before, so there wasn’t the joy of discovery, 2) They followed an amazing set by a band I had never seen live before, and 3) When I wrote the damn thing, it was, like, 3 in the morning or something stupid like that, and let’s just say I’m not at my most… effusive that early in the morning/deep in the night.  And… actually, I don’t have a real clear (OMG PALINDROME! Oh, wait, nevermind) memory of the set, but I remember having a lot of fun.  I remember them “closing” with “In Which Draco And Harry Secretly Want To Make Out”, which warmed my crusty old heart.  I remember that, unlike The Parselmouths, who had a spiel between each song that connected each one (something that I did like and forgot to mention until now), it was just “Here’s a song that will kick you in the face,” and then they played a song that kicked you in the face, and then Alex was like “Here’s another song that will kick you in the face,” and then they played another song that kicked you in the face, and then Alex was like “Here’s another song that will kick you in the face,” and then… well, you get the idea.

While I’ve seen TRL live acoustic before a couple times, and TRL live electric in a library before, it was pretty damn awesome to see TRL live, electric, and with 200 or whatever other people singing and wrocking out, not quietly humming so as not to upset the librarians.  Though I must admit I was a tad disappointed when Tyler only played the Mario theme on bass.  I mean, it was cool and all, but it didn’t really convince me that you knew “pretty much any video game theme song” – how about Frog’s Theme from Chrono Trigger, or Wily’s Castle 1-2 from MegaMan 2?  Or pretty much anything from MegaMan2?  Or the castle theme from Super Mario World?  Or freakin’ Zelda?  Okay, I’ll stop now, and I do realize that this was a wizard rock convention, and not an OCremix convention or whatever, but still… you got my hopes up, AND I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!

Okay, this is getting needlessly nitpicky and silly (pretty much that whole last paragraph was at least partially tongue-in-cheek).  My point, and I do have one, is…  Okay, maybe I don’t have one.  Either Wampum Willow or Sunday afternoon is next.  And you have until tonight to vote in the poll over to the right there for best mainstage set at Wrockstock!

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christie
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 13:26:14

    Hahaha almost a palindrome… YAY FUN WORD STUFF.
    Anyway, I guess I actually agree with pretty much everything you said here. Which is somewhat unusual, as I generally find at least one or two things I would argue against.
    Granted, I didn’t actually go to the Parselmouths set (we arrived late at the lodge midway through their set and perhaps dillydallied a little until we knew Swish and Flick was coming on), but everything I’ve heard pretty much matches what you said.

    Reply

  2. Dee
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 14:39:20

    The only thing I 100% agree with you about is the Parselmouths set. Sorry if I don’t like getting hit in the head with Magic cards or pillows – those pillows hurt :( . I don’t think Kristina sounded great and I don’t think it was the sound crew’s fault. Sorry Kristina and Eia, you are great girls but you don’t sound very good.

    Also, can I just say that as much as I dislike you, wrocksnob, I like this:
    “while that might be because I am hardened pessimist that has forgotten how to love life, and doesn’t remember until I embark on an epic journey with a kid, a dog, and a shit-ton of balloons…”

    And I think you are wrong for judging The Remus Lupins less because you have seen them before. You are right that Swish and Flick is awesome, but as someone who has seen them six times, I see them differently than you do. But TRL, who I have seen many many times (I can’t count that high), blow my face off every time. And Alex deserves credit for being able to do that time after time after time, for constantly bringing it to the stage and putting on an amazing performance.

    Reply

    • wrocksnob
      Nov 14, 2010 @ 17:58:20

      Ummm… I don’t judge them less because I’ve seen them before. I judged them less because I’d seen them before at 3 in the morning after a long day of plane flights, on about 3 hours of sleep. I guess I didn’t make it clear, but I’m pretty sure in my article I said that I though my previous grade of 8.4 or whatever was too low. I didn’t add a new, higher grade, because I find it difficult to adequately express my thoughts using a two digit number. Sorry. But it was definitely a positive review of TRL. So, you agree with me on The Parselmouths, you agree that Swish and Flick are awesome, and you agree with me that The Remus Lupins gave a great show (I would say “great” and not “amazing”, but hey, tomayto tomahto). So, why again do you dislike me? ;)

      Reply

    • Lewis
      Nov 14, 2010 @ 19:26:31

      “Sorry if I don’t like getting hit in the head with Magic cards or pillows – those pillows hurt.”

      They’re pillows. Pillows don’t hurt.

      If you dislike a band, that’s fine. We all have different opinions. But don’t actively look for reasons to put down someone or hyperbolize reality just to state your case.

      Reply

      • wrocksnob
        Nov 14, 2010 @ 20:00:56

        Dude, pillows can def hurt. Really, it depends on who’s hitting you, and where you’re hit. Pillows can hurt. Also, if they’re filled with magic cards instead of fluff.

        Reply

        • Julia
          Nov 14, 2010 @ 20:18:57

          Not to mention those of us in the front row who were in constant danger of getting hit in the face by falling mic stands or having our glasses smashed into our faces by flying pillows or mic stands. I’m sorry, but pillow fights on stage absolutely don’t do it for me.

          Reply

          • Lewis
            Nov 14, 2010 @ 23:12:57

            Constant danger? Did you feel the same way anytime ANY band member was dancing around like crazy on stage? They could have knocked a mic stand on you then. Or even have fallen on top of you. Or accidentally thrown their mic at you… (oh wait, that DID happen during one of the sets…)

            This is ridiculous. You* are blowing the (and I can’t believe I’m using this term when talking about pillows) risk-factor way out of proportion. If you’re that worried about things that *could* happen, maybe you shouldn’t be in the front row.

            *I’m using the plural form of the word ‘you’ here, not singling any one person out.

            Reply

            • wrocksnob
              Nov 15, 2010 @ 01:26:12

              Dude, gotta admit, a mic being knocked down is a lot more likely when there’s like, fifteen people up there hitting each other with pillows. And you have people in the audience throwing pillows at the stage. I for one knocked at least one mic down (not on purpose, I was aiming at someone’s nuts), and while that would probably knock it down away from the audience, the danger was definitely still there, moreso than during any other set.

              Reply

            • Julia
              Nov 15, 2010 @ 15:51:02

              Dude, relax and get over it. Just because you enjoyed the pillow fight on stage doesn’t mean the rest of us did. Respect my right to not want to get knocked into by people trying to avoid things flying at their heads and to keep my glasses from getting smashed into my nose or broken by said flying things (it doesn’t matter if you’re flinging a pillow or a clock, if you throw it fast enough it hurts). I didn’t like the pillow fight. You did. I’m glad you had a fun experience, but please don’t tell me I’m being ridiculous because I didn’t.

              Reply

        • Lewis
          Nov 14, 2010 @ 20:24:25

          True as that may be, THOSE pillows didn’t hurt. And were not filled with MTG cards. (Although I wish they had been.) And unless you were onstage, you would have only been hit by a pillow that was thrown into the audience, in which case it would have even less force behind it because of the distance it traveled.

          I’m busting chops today. You can ask anybody.

          Reply

          • wrocksnob
            Nov 14, 2010 @ 20:37:50

            Yeah, and do you think that the pillows that were thrown into the audience just lay there? No, people were smashing each other in the face with them! As Julia mentioned, what if you were wearing glasses? Or holding a camera to your face? Or hell, I don’t know how many times I’ve hit someone in the eyes with the corner of a pillow. That shit stings. Though I do gotta say, that this is definitely the silliest debate there’s ever been here on the WrockSnob, and I must thank you for that.

            Reply

          • Fran
            Nov 15, 2010 @ 13:30:39

            so personally, I think, that pillow fight was a remake of last years epic pillow fight, during Whopmy’s set. Which was epic. Epic.

            I dont remember anyone complaining about that one…though I definitely was hit with a *lot* of pillows. And yes, it was epic.
            (man, I loooved that set!)

            seriously though guys…ok, it’s not cool to be hit by something if you dont wanna be hit, even if it’s just a pillow…but come ooon…
            not something that should overshadow your Wrockstock experience ;)
            Did I mention last year’s pillow fight being epic? Epic!

            other than that: Swish and Flick were amazing! And TRL played definitely the best set I’ve seen them play so far. Freaking awesome!

            Reply

      • Dee
        Nov 14, 2010 @ 22:37:31

        Did you get smacked in the head with a pillow during the set? I did and I did not like it.

        You’re right that it didn’t hurt like “I need to go to the hospital” hurt or even “I’m bleeding” hurt or “I am going to have a bruise tomorrow” hurt but it still hurt, okay?

        Next time you disagree, have Aaron throw a pillow at your face and then we can talk.

        Reply

        • Lewis
          Nov 14, 2010 @ 23:03:57

          You bet I got smacked in the face with a pillow. Probably about 58 times or so, considering I was on stage and in the pillow fight. (Which, for the record, Aaron was not.)

          Although I’ll have to suggest the pillow thing to him for every time we have a disagreement.

          Reply

          • Abby
            Nov 15, 2010 @ 10:35:30

            My 2 cents… Had anyone actually cleared it with me first, I’d have had some safety rules to lay down regarding onstage antics such as pillow fights. I’m not too tickled about it, to be honest, but it happened before I had a chance to say anything and I’m sorry to the folks who got cracked upside the head in an unpleasant way. I tell bands to ask us about this stuff in advance, but things get crazy in the last few weeks of planning and so who knows how the miscommunication occurred.

            Reply

  3. Zoë (Split Seven Ways etc)
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 15:51:22

    There’s nothing quite like a live Swish and Flick performance. Seriously. I can’t wait to see them again at the Snow Ball!

    As for TRL – I’ve only seen them once despite being present at three events they were playing at. Well, almost present the first time – Jess and I missed the Wrockstock bus so didn’t get there ’til late. And the time I did see them, it was just Alex rather than the full band. Anyway, this means I can’t judge the repeat performance factor. YEAH I FAIL.

    Reply

  4. J C
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 16:00:42

    I think TRL should loose a point for everytime Alex initiates that &#$@!* slow clap during a song.

    Reply

  5. Abby
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 17:06:10

    This article would be better if it talked more about my mad tambourine skillz. :D

    Reply

  6. wrocknquidditch
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 21:39:15

    OMG the Gunther song! xD Way to bring up the memories of my freshman year of college.

    I just want to chime in for defense of The Parselmouths.

    I’ve never been their biggest fan or anything… but just in comparison… between Infinitus and Wrockstock (the only two times I’ve been able to see them perform), I’d have to say that their performance was significantly better. I was very happy about that.

    If I had to take a stab at what was amok with their set… I’d say it had something to do with volume… Kristina and Eia’s mics were too loud…or they were too close…or something.

    From what I could tell, they were as on key as most people are for Wizard Rock… they sound fine together, but the balance was all off. And that has something to do with electronics. I remember trying to figure out what exactly was bothering me during their set…and I think that’s it.

    I don’t want to nitpick at the wonderful sound crew…that’s not where I’m going with this. I don’t know who or what was the source of the volume-y troubles. But it seems that both Kristina and Eia would have…a good amount of volume coming out of them WITHOUT the microphones.

    Long story short… They don’t need as much amplification outward. Maybe they need more of themselves in their monitors, but…for the audience… the volume made them sound a little shrill. To no fault of their own. I’m almost completely positive that if they had been playing in the Willow or something…they would be getting some more positive comments.

    Also, it’s ridiculously hard to go first. At anything.

    I ADORED Swish and Flick for the first time. I’ve seen them 2 or 3 times now-ish…and I liked them alright before…but Wrockstock was the first time I really got into them. Their set was a BLAST! I’m sold. SOLD. <3 I look forward to seeing them many more times. ^.^

    As for The Remus Lupins, I have said on many occasions that I wish I could bottle whatever it is that Alex Carpenter has. I never fail to be impressed by his charisma on stage and his ability to perform songs most people have seen him perform numerous times…and still make it seem new, interesting, and really effing fun. They remain one of my favorite wizrock bands for exactly that reason. And don't doubt Tyler's mad skillz. I've seen him play some crazy stuff on that bass! xD

    Lastly, I think Abby and her awesome tambourine should get their very own article.

    Reply

    • Abby
      Nov 15, 2010 @ 08:48:35

      “Lastly, I think Abby and her awesome tambourine should get their very own article.”

      Uh… No.
      Most of the reason I jumped up there was because I was STRESSED OUT at the moment and really needed to blow off some steam. Let’s not make a “thing” out of it, please.

      Reply

      • Whompy
        Nov 15, 2010 @ 10:04:28

        Oh, Abby. Don’t be modest. You’ve been talking up that tambourine thing every chance you get. ;D Work it girl!

        Reply

        • Abby
          Nov 15, 2010 @ 10:24:20

          Dude… You’re making me blush in the painful way. I really haven’t gotten onstage much in the last year. My stage fright keeps getting worse… but I was pissed off about missing the MoM set due to administrative duties and needed a healthy way to vent and knew DA wouldn’t mind. I hyped for Kreach for one song in order to inject the crowd with some energy, otherwise they woulda just continued to just stand there in a sleep deprived daze… Just part of the job.
          *tips hat, twirls cane*

          Reply

    • Arodhwen
      Nov 22, 2010 @ 23:38:08

      Got to agree with Kelli. I think if their mics had been a little lower, or at least the backing tracks louder, they would have sounded really good. I remember thinking when the vocals first started that they were kind of shrill. And I don’t have this problem with their recordings.

      And, also. Someone please make a FB page called “Abby’s tambourine skillz” so I can “like” it.

      Reply

  7. wrocknquidditch
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 21:43:53

    And just to clarify, I meant Kristina and Eia playing in the willow as an example of un-mic’d-ness, and in no way am suggesting that they should not be on the mainstage.

    Reply

  8. Kayshay
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 10:59:49

    ….nice Violent Femmes reference.

    Reply

  9. Sophie
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 11:54:02

    On the Parselmouths’ set-
    I wasn’t at the set because I had what I suppose would be called a fatigue headache of sorts, and Kristina in her higher register has the sort of voice that will make that worse.

    And as for the band itself, honestly, it hasn’t really been the same since Brittany left the band for Real Life. And I really wish that Kristina wouldn’t sing in Brittany’s register, she sounds much better in her own, which is mid-to-low. Brittany was the one with the nice high notes.(See: “My Obsession,” which has two of my favorite voices that were ever in Wrock)

    Reply

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