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Concert Review Festival Coverage Local Music

Manifest Review: A Loud Festival That Shines in the Quiet Moments

I think it was partway through Sister Brother’s set, a ski mask-wearing punk duo with anti-capitalist vocal samples and attacking guitars when I realized just how good of a weekend this would be. For reference, Sister Brother was the third set I went to.

Manifest did not pull punches. This was an event that threw punk and metal bands at you and you had to hold on and enjoy the ride. I spent most of my time in the Local 506, the main venue of the three, and the intimate size combined with the sheer ferocity of the instrumentals meant I had to pull out earplugs at a concert for the first time ever. 

Bands blurred together, but saying that sounds bad, like things were getting stale. When I say blurred, I mean that one band perfectly picked up the energy level from the previous group while adding their own spin on the rebellious under (and over) tones. Of course there were individual highlights. BANGZZ lived up to its name by getting the whole crowd headbanging and kicking off the night with interludes talking about the importance of taking up space and respecting others. Pie Face Girls described themselves as a “comedy troupe first, band second”, and their stage banter was as hilarious as their songs were captivating, with groovy instrumentals and repeated vocals that wormed their way into the brain and didn’t leave in a hurry. And Sand Pact came from left field with an experimental electronic set paired with performative dance that brought a bit of the club with them.

Of all the pedal to the metal guitars and screaming vocals this weekend, the most memorable act I saw was Raleigh “conjurer of sound” Spookstina. Their set consisted of the artist crouching over their decks and playing a continuous wall of distorted sound for over half an hour, punctuated by a couple minutes of vocals and some plucking of guitar strings and, most notably, the rattling of chains. Some of the rattling was recorded, but a lot of it came from them picking up and dropping chains that were on the small triangular stage in the corner of the room. This crescendoed into one of the most surreal experiences of my life: Spookstina picked up what they later told us was a sewer ladder, walked into the audience, and started hitting it with a chain to a beat that apparently only they could hear. 

What really made that work was how close the audience was to the action, and that was a major part of the experience. Artists were just hanging out in the bar after the show and were happy to be interviewed by a college radio station. Indie folk band Honey Magpie didn’t have any merch at the merch table; my friend and I got t-shirts by talking to them after their set and paying the lead singer on Venmo. It was adaptable too. There were plans for an outdoor day party with an art market on nearby Graham Street, but when rain started coming down, they just moved everything inside the Local 506 and kept the fun going. There weren’t many people there during the day, but those who showed up between 1 and 7 p.m. got to experience some great sets. I didn’t expect to hear much country music at Manifest, but Charly out of Lumberton NC surprised me with an emotionally resonant and personal hour of music.

But Manifest, in structure at least, was still a music festival like any other, and this means that its greatest strength is in allowing for the creation of certain moments, pockets of infinite joy, where you stop and realize just how much fun you’re having. The alley in front of The Nightlight, maybe the most underrated venue of the weekend, is perfect for squealing with your friends about how insane a set was, and the distance between venues allowed festival goers to slow down and really sit with the experience they just had. History dictates that, barring another global pandemic, Manifest will return to Chapel Hill next fall, and I’m already counting the days.

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Concert Preview Festival Coverage Local Music

Preview: Chapel Hill’s Manifest Aims to Break Barriers

In my training class to become a WKNC DJ, among the many pieces of advice our then station general manager gave us was to “not just play music made by four white guys”. This was met by laughs, but that line stuck with me because of how relevant it still is. When I was a daytime DJ I tried to have sets with a strong female representation, but four or so guys still made up most of the songs aired from 10 to 11 p.m. on Thursdays. And that doesn’t even take into account the “white” part of that; many genres such as modern indie rock are overrepresented by white artists and artists of color will often have their work labeled as R&B even when that label doesn’t fit the music, which can box in both exposure and creative freedom.

Enter Manifest. This is a festival that, according to the website, is “focused on dismantling patriarchy, misogyny, and white supremacy” with a diverse lineup that draws from a wide variety of races, sexualities and gender identities. Now dismantling vast social hierarchies is a lofty goal, but they’ve definitely got the lineup down. This is a festival that has seen acts like Skylar Gudasz and Hopscotch 2021 attendee Sarah Shook, and this year the acts range from Basura who make minute-and-a-half long death metal bangers to trans experimental artist KHX05 who brings a nervy and rebellious energy to her mixtapes and remix EPs. 

Manifest bills itself as mostly a punk festival, and there are a number of punk bands making an appearance. Gown is a hardcore metallic punk band that has seven members, three of whom play the cello, while Fortezza is an doom punk band out of Asheville whose long guitar solos and verses screamed over a lone drumbeat create a chaotic and apocalyptic feel to fit their hand-drawn album covers. The artists have a distinctly local flavor too. Of the 28 acts coming to Chapel Hill this weekend, 21 are from the Triangle area, and five of them won’t have to leave their hometown to make it there. 

This is the fifth iteration of Manifest, and it’s the fifth time in these exact three venues. The festival is mostly based around Local 506, a bar and club that, when not hosting live acts, is known for having themed dance parties such as the 80s-style one that I went to this summer. This is where tickets and wristbands are picked up and where WKNC is running the merch table. When not at the Local 506, festivalgoers can head to two other locations, one of which is The Cave. This is another bar/club hybrid, iconic in Chapel Hill for its alley location and will often host rock and punk rock bands. 

Now despite having essentially grown up in downtown Chapel Hill, I’ll admit I had to look up the last venue, Rosemary Street’s The Nightlight. It’s the only one of the venues not located on Franklin Street, and its website is at time of writing a single page detailing its closures due to COVID and in the spirit of Manifest, a link to a mutual aid fund. All of these are within a quarter mile walk of each other so it should be easy to go between any of the simultaneous shows being played.

Continuity is a major theme here, and not just in the venues. Manifest 5 marks the fourth appearance of Raleigh’s Fruit Snack at the aforementioned festival, a band whose members work at multiple venues in the Triangle and whose themes of anti-capitalism, openness about sex and dislike of the police fit right in with Manifest’s mission statement. It also features a ukulele player. Meanwhile, punk act Pie Face Girls has attended every single iteration since the festival began in 2016. This in combination with its many local sponsors including Orange County Arts Commission, Chapel Hill’s own Midway Market and this radio station gives this festival a strong feeling of community that puts those goals of social change front and center.

I’m personally quite excited to cover Manifest. While I won’t be able to see every artist (The Cave being 21+ is unfortunate but understandable) there are a lot of acts I really want to see and blog about, and a lot of artists I had never heard of before and really want to get to know as part of my ongoing efforts to further connect with the local music scene here. After all, homegrown music with a message is the new punk rock. And the old one too.

-Erie

Categories
Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review Local Music Miscellaneous New Album Review

New Music Alert: Rehearsal

One of my long-time favorite bands, Skegss, has finally released another album. Skegss is a group of three guys from Byron Bay, Australia. The group formed in 2013 when childhood friends Johny Lani and Ben Reed started playing together as a duo around local venues. They soon paired up with Noa Deane and Tony Cregan and released their the singles “LSD” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio.” However Noa left the following year in pursuit of a surfing career, leaving Johny, Ben, and Tony to run the show. 

Since then they have released three EP’s and three albums. My personal favorite is their self-titled debut EP, however their two most recent albums are close contenders. Rehearsal is their most recent one to date and includes 13 surf-punk-garage styled rock songs on the album. It starts off with “Down to Ride” and “Valhalla,” which are both upbeat, fast paced songs that set a good tone for the album. However, my two favorites of the 13 are “Bush TV” and “Savor The Flavour.” They perfectly incorporate the iconic Skegss style and listening to them makes me feel like an angsty teenager again. Another honorable mention off the album is “Wake Up,” which is a bit of a slower song. That being said, I feel like this band doesn’t make slow, sentimental songs like this all that much, which makes it all the more meaningful. 

Fun fact about this band, they actually had their cover art for the EP “50 Push Ups for a Dollar” stolen by Lil Yachty and Reese for their single “Do It.” Go ahead and look it up, the comparison is laughably similar. 

That’s all for this week, hope you guys enjoy the music. 
-The DJ Formerly Known As Chippypants

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Local Music

Support Local Music

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Support local anything honestly.

Thank you for reading.

Just kidding, I won’t you hanging like that, but I did want to get my bottom line out there before anyone got bored of my rambling. I think supporting the local art scenes is very important; local markets, local businesses, etc., totally count to. You’re local scene can only thrive and grow with the support of… well… the locals. Which is you and me. It’s important to remember that as members of our community we should be trying to be apart of our community and helping it thrive.

So shop local, listen to a local band, go to a local show, attend local events, and get to know the people around you. Not to go on some weird tangent, but I think communities are important means of support for each other, if we aren’t looking out for our community who is? We’re a community here at NC State, at WKNC, and in Raleigh. Communities are everywhere and you need to give support in order to get it. Never forget that. So if you ever want to start a business someday, or make your own local living in some way, remember that’s only possible with community support, so as community members we should go out now and start supporting.

Even if you don’t plan to do something yourself through a lot of local businesses still have good visions and are benefiting our world (and community) by simply existing, so support them and let them carry out their missions. I’m not going to get political here but corporations shouldn’t run everything, local work is important and that is why we should all take part in supporting it.

Thank you for reading if you got this far~

– DJ Psyched

Categories
Local Music New Album Review

Album Review: Thirsty Curses – Thirsty Curses

BEST TRACKS: VHS Release, Red Marks, I Want to Wreck Your Car

FCC Violations: VHS Release, Smash-Hit, Slice of Paradise, You Don’t Have to Tell Me That You Love Me,

Recommended if you like: PUP, The Fratellis, The Front Bottoms

Thirsty Curses pummels the scene once again with a new, label debut album. Thirsty Curses is a local four-piece rock and roll band straight out of our own beloved city of Raleigh, NC. Their latest album, which is self-titled, was released last Friday! I had the privilege of listening to this album before it was released on streaming platforms and I was blow away by the raw energy and deep cutting lyrics encompassed in this release. I am so excited for you guys to finally be able to listen to it. There was also a record release show at School Kids Records last Friday and while I wasn’t able to make it (I had a Biochemistry test that I had to cram for ☹), I heard that it kicked ass and that the album was received phenomenally well. I wouldn’t have expected anything different from Thirsty Curses. They’ve been putting out good stuff since 2017.

There is some phenomenal songwriting on this album. In every song, the lyrics flow and swing together extremely harmoniously, creating a sense of continuity and balance that lets you just sink deep into the music. My favorite song on this album is track 1, VHS Release. Packed into this short, 2 minute 39 second song are several punky riffs, lighthearted drums, and some creative similes that outline heavy themes of being anxious and dissatisfied with your mediocre life, feeling lost about what to do next, and craving a clean start.

If you like drinking beer or if you’ve ever dressed up like a pirate for Halloween, you’ll probably like this album.

I feel hopeful whenever a local band comes out with an album this fresh and amazing. It shows that we don’t have to look far beyond our own backyards to find incredible talent. Fight the corporate machine, keep supporting local music.

-Safia

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Local Music Music News and Interviews

The Local Beat: Goddamn Wolves

The Local Beat: Goddamn Wolves

Dj Beowvlf sits down with Goddamn Wolves as they play songs off their latest album, talk about their music journey and more! tune in for a great edition of The Local Beat.

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Local Music Music News and Interviews

Off the Record: Lord Fess

Lord Fess and DJ Iron Mic speak about updates in Fess’s life, including changing his stage name and becoming a father.

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Local Music Music News and Interviews

Off the Record: Sk, the Novelist

DJ Iron Mic sits down with NC State alumnus Sk, the Novelist to talk about his new album “Baggage.”

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Local Music Music News and Interviews

Off the Record: Ty Harriz and J.O

DJ Iron Mic, Ty Harriz, and J.O talk NC State cyphers and how they promote the growth of hip-hop, influences, and more in this week’s episode of Local Rap Lunch.

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Categories
Local Music Music News and Interviews

Off the Record: Freedom Infinite

DJ Iron Mic interviews one of his first guests as a beginner DJ, Freedom Infinite! The pair discuss growth in production and stage presence, and how to facilitate both.

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