MAMF tonight, and the missing bands…

Category: Blog — @ 5:48 pm September 5, 2008

No MAMF for me last night as I wasn’t compelled to attend, so let’s look at the rest of the festival’s schedule. Tonight is strongest of the four days. Bring your walking shoes. Primary on my list is David Hurwitz of Brooklyn band The Boy Bathing, playing at PS Collective at 7 p.m. You might remember that I mentioned his band in my column a few weeks ago (the one that talked about the Magnet Magazine sampler, here). Hurwitz has one of the stranger voices you’ll likely to hear at this festival — it’s how I imagine author David Sedaris would sound like if he sang indie folk songs. Still, his songwriting is compelling, especially on his band’s new album, A Fire to Make Preparations. I’ll be talking to Hurwitz about his overall impressions of festival for next week’s column.

The rest of my picks for tonight:

— Scott Severin & Milton Burlesque at PS Collective @ 8:30.

— Shiver Shiver at The Foundry at 10:30.

— Kyle Harvey and the Great Disappearing Act at Burke’s Pub at 11.

— Filter Kings at Musette at 11:30.

— Little Brazil at The Waiting Room at 11:30.

— Big Al Band at the Barley St. at 7.

Ironically Saturday, which you’d think would be the strongest night of any festival, is the weakest. The only shows worth mentioning:

— Dereck Higgins at Mia’s Bongo Room at 10:30, and

— Sleep Said the Monster at The Foundry at midnight.

That doesn’t mean that Benson won’t be hopping. Festival organizers back-loaded the most popular pop-fueled local bands for Saturday night.

Let’s be honest: MAMF isn’t an indie-music festival, and I doubt that it was designed to be. The event’s line-up underscores the difference between “indie” when it describes a style of music and “indie” when it describes bands that aren’t on a record label. For the most part, MAMF simply didn’t attract indie-style bands, local or otherwise. Other than Little Brazil, there are no local indie bands in the festival that have done extensive touring. Missing from the festival are bands that represent these local record labels: Saddle Creek, Team Love, Speed! Nebraska, Boom Chick, Slumber Party, It Are Good, Ant, and Coco Art (I’m sure I’m missing someone).

It’s not like those bands weren’t at MAMF because they weren’t allowed to be. I’m sure MAMF would have loved to have had any of them play the festival, but none signed up during the open-invitation phase of the registration, presumably because they didn’t see any value in playing another local festival. Fact is, almost all the bands from those record labels tour regionally or nationally, and can’t afford — or simply aren’t interested in — playing for free.

Compensation also is probably one of the reasons why Lincoln Calling has such a strong representation of bands from those labels. Since its inaugural year, Lincoln Calling always has paid bands either a guarantee or a piece of the door, realizing that they’re the reason the festival is even happening in the first place. Check out the Lincoln Calling schedule at lincolncalling.com. More on that festival later, and look for more MAMF coverage this weekend.

What else is going on this weekend outside of Benson?

Well, there’s the Free Yr Radio concert at Slowdown Sunday night featuring Flowers Forever and Dan Deacon. Admission to the 8 p.m. concert is free with a ticket you can print out from www.freeyrradio.com/concerts.html. More details at theslowdown.com.

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