It seems appropriate to begin this with a disclaimer: When the majority of the shows you are slated to cover are DJ sets or involve the Riot Room, a hazy fog of drunk will inevitably cloud your night. And that cloud most certainly blew in like a rainstorm over my Pitch Music Showcase experience last night.
Never mind that, though. Westport was the place to be for live music last night, and 2010's Pitch Music Showcase brought out some of the best our local music scene has to offer.
I started my night out like a senior citizen with Soft Reeds' early 8 o'clock show inside the un-air-conditioned Riot Room. I should have known better than to be concerned for the early turnout, though, because the Reeds always deliver a show solid enough to draw a proper crowd. By their third song, the Riot Room was full of people foot-tapping and swaying to what was one of the best performances I've seen from Soft Reeds yet. Hell, guitarist and keyboardist Dan Talmadge even took a blow to the face from lead singer Ben Grimes' unpredictable guitar gyrations. That's pretty rock-and-roll for 8 o'clock, gentlemen.
The Grisly Hand was up next inside Riot Room, but I could only handle the heat for a couple songs. By then, the crowd was so packed, and the heat so unbearable, that it was time to move on. Of course, I didn't seem to mind getting sweaty at the Max Justus dance party. The Foundry, in anticipation of drunk dance debauchery, had removed all the tables and chairs from its middle section. Dance party indeed. If only The Foundry had such a killer showcase of DJs every night.
I've always thought the placement of the DJ booth at the Foundry was a little awkward, as I like to watch the mix masters at work. But though I really couldn't see what Max Justus was up to, I could definitely hear his gift for crafting beats and multi-layered tracks. The Foundry was also air-conditioned; I stayed there for a while.
In my honest attempt to adhere to my schedule, I did make it back to the Riot Room for Hammerlord, but once again, the crowd was so impressively thick and the heat so oppressive that I didn't see much of them. And Stevie Cruz wasn't there, either. He's at the Twin Peaks Festival (metal nerd). The crowd inside Riot Room sure dug the Hammerlord show though: after all, the band channels the fiery pits of hell, so the heat seemed almost atmospheric. The tightly-packed, head-banging sweat fest was nearly impossible to navigate, but seemed rather appropriate for a Hammerlord showcase.
So it should be no surprise that I ran back to The Foundry for more cool air and another dance party. It may have been the smallest turnout for a Nomathmatics show, but the largest dance party of the night ensued regardless. My only complaint is that with the garage doors to the patio open and bands still raging in the Sponsor Area (parking lot), there was a fair amount of sensory overload due to the clashing noise. Perhaps this is why some popular bands who played outside, such as the Noise FM, drew such wimpy crowds. Maybe Schlafly crew should stick around a little longer next time--free beer is never a deterrent.
And it is on that note -- of free beer -- that I have to be honest and concede to the drunk haze. But if my bruised feet and pounding head have anything to say about it, this year's Pitch Music Showcase was definitely one to shake your hips to. Word of advice for next year: don't wear heels.