The Bowery was hosting their Oktoberfest last week and we headed down last Friday to check it out. It was a night jam packed with bands, six in fact each as vibrant as the next. With nice picnic tables outside, flashy lighting on stage and tasty nibbles from Farmer Browns everything was on hand for an enjoyable night.
Free Sunshine Acid kick started the show. Their psychedelic rock swirling and entwining with blissful hypnotic delusion. The four-piece blasted out a set brimming with jams, it was organic raw and refined. They perform with such fluidity, they are a well-oiled machine each in synch with one another producing euphoric wobbly psychedelic rock. The guitars shrill with thrilling distortion while punchy drums keep a constant beat, giving something to hold onto so you don’t fully lose yourself in their mirage of liquid flexible melodies. Their sound is 60’s psychedelic rock wavy, shimmy ready and utterly trippy. Their stance simple, they are jamming together and we are fortunate enough to watch. ‘Carbon’ ‘Rays of The Sun’ And ‘Night Of The Lizards’ erupt with narcotic fluctuant soundwaves twisting and weaving between mosh ready pounding drums. Their catchy melodies and croony vocals with lush harmonies add a dreamy haze and radiate a euphoric atmosphere through the venue. It’s well trippy.
EHCO follow with the ominous dark eerie ‘FIA’. A thick sticky beat slaps against swirling chilling electronics. These guys build their tracks layer by layer right up until they become full-fledged dance almost disco anthems. The beats are chunky and infectious with two drummers belting them out it’s instantly body grooving. The crowd sway and bop to their contagious sound. Rich rhythms thump and pop while swirling danceable soundscapes wisp around, it’s quite entrancing. ‘Bodies’ introduces Jessica Lord’s vocals. Her vocals are powerful and compelling as she stands waving her arms in a floaty motion adding to the aerial breezy vibe. The crowd dance and swoosh enraptured in the gluey beat and airy soundscapes while the purple lighting aptly adds a mystical bewitching atmosphere to their set. The crowd were engulfed in their set shouting “EHCO! EHCO!” before the track ‘Eiclipse’. They deliver a full rich set mesmerising and hypnotic as well as insanely dance dominated. It’s the kind of music you could dance until you drop to.
Accidents in the Workplace begin their set as an audience member shouts “play Wonderwall” so they decide to introduce their first track as Wonderwall. With a triumphant brass section, keyboard, guitars and a violin it’s a packed stage. Vocalist Lauren Murphy stands in front, her red hair luminous in the lighting, she is a flamboyant front woman. Her powerful vocals knock you for six while the enthusiastic facial expressions and dazzling dance moves are captivating. She swishes, hops, jumps and does the body snake all while hitting some mighty notes. With witty jokes between songs they test the crowd for Germans “any Germans in the house say woohoo”. It’s a lively animated set with rich instrumentation and colourful vivid melodies creating a massive sound. ‘Late nights’ the anthemic full bodied track follows a brief bit of banter about the free pretzels available at the bar. With rich textures and warm brass injections between catchy melodies and electrifying soundscapes not to mention Murphy’s powerful vocals they packed a lot into their tireless dynamic set.
Mik Pyro & The Shogunz Of Stank cruise in with their funky flavoured bluesy rock. It’s all swagger driven cool grooves and shredding slick guitar lines. Sensual licks and steamy hip swaying tempos these guys have the crowd gyrating and going wild in no time. With a jazzy keyboard and an enthusiastic bassist, it’s a pretty slick sight. Naturally they build their sound becoming more ear blasting and frantic as their set progresses, getting the crowd riled up and frenzied. Their rendition of Funkadelic’s ‘Get Off Your Ass and Jam’ brings us right down to funky town. That “Shit! Goddamn! Get off yo’ ass and jam!” lyric will now forever be in my head. The audience go nuts some on their knees doing air guitar to the shredding solo. A slicked back version of Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) ’ oozes swagger and strut quality it’s fluid, vaporous and drenched in panache. It’s a swanky flaunting set exuding sensual tones and intricate instrumental flamboyance and sass. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
Meltybrains? follow next. Wow words can hardly describe their set, it’s not for the faint-hearted. The lights go down and the crowd pack to the front, creepy masks on their heads they await the entrance of the five piece. They appear on stage all in white with masks on their heads to massive cheers. Their set is intense and spine chilling Donnacha looks like an evil surgeon serious and sinister he taps the keys in an eerie theatrical manner, while Brian across from him appears to be having spasms. The blue lighting with dry ice blasts create a menacing smoky backdrop to what we are about to witness. The crowd begin to sway and bounce to their unique sound. There are a few at first in the crowd that seem shocked by the wailing and screeching obscure sound they hear but when I look at them later they are completely mesmerised, joining in with the mass adoration. The band throw out more masks for anyone without one and the crowd fight over them, its chaotic. These guys drive the crowd wild with their music, it seems to bring out an animalistic character in each of them as they itch for more. It’s a sight to see when nearly everyone is either wearing a mask on their face or the back of their head it’s like you are being watched everywhere you turn. The band enjoy themselves throwing everything they have into their performance. The crowd shout for the track ‘The Vine’ the band graciously grant their request. The room erupts singing along and dancing to its jungle like beat. Drummer Micheál begins to climb up to the ceiling before resting on the pillar above while the others dance about the stage. This sets the crowd alight. They cheer for him like he is a hero as he climbs back down to the stage. Brian swings from the sails and ropes above the stage, the band go all out monkey and so do the audience, its insane. There is a particular dance to this track and all the audience join in like their minds are in synch with the band, maybe they are through hypnotic waves or something, but it’s a mind boggling spectacle for sure. The band request the audience to all kneel on the floor and they obey in a flash just to spring up in a mad frenzy of jumping. The audience worship them and idolise their spontaneous madness. So much so they give them a hero’s cheer as they line up to leave the stage. It was crazy, a bit unorthodox and immensely energetic. The crowd appeared lost without them when they left. Meltybrains? set was a unique experience for sure.
Circus VIII take to the stage the final act of the night and they brought the after party with them. Their Dublin debut, and boy was it incredible. Kicking off with ‘All Of Jason’s Beans’ they grooved and funked their way in style. Chantal Brown’s vocals, outstanding and powerful and Charley Taverner full of passion and soul. It’s charismatic explosive and oh so funky. With vibrant saxophone played by Toby Stewart, Bryan Corbett on Trumpet and Edu Bisogno on Keys, they blew us away. David D’Andrade is one of the most striking guitarists I’ve seen, imagine Jack Black with a hint of Meat Loaf theatrics teamed with slick guitar poses and swagger soaked spirited solos. Their sound is so full and bursting with life and dynamism it’s a rush of tantalizing soundscapes. Dramatic stops and starts they bring a fresh new thirst quenching sound to the Bowery audience. The crowd yell “yeah!” as they dance uncontrollably to their infectious groove. Jason Tebble’s slick bass adds a funky sensual elastic buoyancy to the tracks while Jon Harris’ drumming keeps a punchy foundation for Tebble to rebound off. With more energy than a bolt of lightning these guys blaze through their tracks oozing swagger leaving nothing but burn marks behind. ‘Sunshine’ is an absolute gem each note radiated golden vibes. Their set is playful vibrant and fun. Their sound immensely rich it’s honey to the ears, so jam packed with luscious melodies and intricate compositions all weaving together to create a blissful experience. These guys exude so much energy it pounds through you and lifts your spirit, it’s hard not to dance. The crowd loved every minute of it, one guy went to the edge of the stage to bow down in worship of the band another shouted while they were deciding what song to play next “just play some bass”. In their live set these guys exude slick panache and style with a flamboyant disco vibe blended with their funky rock, they are just too cool. Though their set was cut short it was pretty extraordinary.
All round Friday Night in Oktoberfest was phenomenal each band brought their own unique twist to the night some more obscure than others but it made for an amazing night. Definitely make sure to check it out next year there is something for everyone. So all that’s left to say is … do the vine (Meltybrains? quote).