Live Review: Superfresh, Saturday and Sunday, Jan 2-3 @ Rotture
Superfresh, the winter companion to this past summer's Superfest, opened to a sparse crowd on the early side of Saturday evening, but quickly kicked into gear with a homecoming set by Wampire. Having just returned to the Rose City after a brief West Coast tour with ASSS, it was up to the trio to create some energy which they did so with some jumps, gratuitous shredding and purposely laughable stripping during the final song.
Meanwhile Rob Walmart held down the fort outside, beginning before doors opened and continuing on through to the evening's second indoor act Breakfast Mountain. Playing a host of new material in the absence of vocalist Jordan Bagnall, Breakfast Mountain brought the jams and displayed a level of commitment—especially considering two of its three members were due to play a Typhoon show on the other side of the river shortly after finishing at Rotture.
Excessive fog and plenty of cool predictably defined May Ling's set, and then it was time for the Miracless Club, the latest outlet for Honey Owens of Valet and Rad Summer, among other things. Combining yelled vocals and vocals delivered mostly in yells and danceable, looping beats, the duo's very experimental house music was eaten up by a crowd that wasgrowing each set.
Unfortunately, the lure of Taco Del Mar and hash browns at My Father's Place caused me to miss Atole—a band I also missed at the Children of the Revolution festival two years ago. Superfresh actually seems very similar to that festival: both were two day, all-ages festivals in the winter with similar attendance numbers, and I also missed Atole then due to the temptation of fast food. I heard many good murmurs about the quartet's set, though, and was bummed to miss Superfesh organizer Manny Reyes manic onstage dancing.
The night charted new territory by the time headliners Glass Candy took the stage. In the first song a small flood of females clawed their way onto stage to dance provocatively alongside frontwoman Ida No. The general consensus was that if they waited until the final songs of the night, it would have been no big deal, but the fact that they decided to get up there from the very beginning to dance with distaste rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Soon there were unrelenting shouts for the girls to get down. Ida's proclamation of "God doesn't have rules. Neither do we," did little to quell the crowd and soon a fight broke out amongst audience members between a guy who wanted the girls gone and one who wanted them to stay up on stage. The main perpetrator was a blond girl who repeatedly lifted up her skirt to touch herself. I quickly shed such taxing thoughts about the influence of social networking on our generation and got back to the point of the show: dancing. Wampire singer Rocky Tinder gave a shootout to his DJ gig at Union Jack's during his band's set, and that venue seems more suited to the blond and her coterie of ladies than Rotture during a Glass Candy set.
Eventually the question of whether the dancers should stay on stage entered the court of public opinion. All eyes were on Rotture booker Conrad Loebl, who made his way throughout the clutter of human debris onstage to ask Johnny Jewel (of Glass Candy) his opinion on the situation. Ida then ushered the dancers off the stage with a comment about how there's never enough space in the U.S.A.
Fortunately, the sour moments quickly drifted to the background and Ida was able to strike her modern dance poses unencumbered. Barefoot and in a skin-tight black bodysuit, she shuffled around the stage like she owned it. Rather than dancing for attention, she danced it because of the music.
Sunday started in smiler fashion to the previous day, with Jeffrey Jerusalem gracing the floor in front of the stage for his half-hour long set complete with laptop, keyboard, light-up tambourine and a plethora of drums. His between song banter varied from quips about only having to use his computer once to jokes about only agreeing to play Superfresh if he could perform after Glass Candy.
Up next was Portland's latest power trio, Fake Drugs, comprised of Pyramiddd's Keil Corcoran and Shawn Glassford and rounded out by Ian Anderson of Guidance Counselor. For a moment it looked like the three-piece was going to go the instrumental route, as each member stood behind their respective instruments without a mic stand in sight. But then Corcoran leaped off the stage with a mic in hand and proceed to snarl his way through synth soaked jam after jam. Playing their first real venue show, the group truly made a splash with its effortlessly danceable formula.
The next act I caught was Deelay Ceelay. While the duo mentioned it'd be a set heavy on new material I failed to differentiate any new additions. Leaving out its signature "Whatever You Like" revamp, Deelay Ceelay closed out its triumphant, but far too short set with a mashup of Jay-Z and the Knife, The crowd went justifiably wild.
For the second day in a row Taco Del Mar called me from Rotture and into the street on a pilgrimage towards a 99 cent kids meal Sunday offer. While I was able to hustle back for the final song of Hooliganship, I missed the boat on Dat'r due to a beans-and-rice-fueled-gossip-session in a friend's car down the street. We spent the time debating about the upcoming Best New Bands poll, so it wasn't a total loss.
Finally, Strength brought both the night and the festival to a close. The trio reached new levels of showmanship, sending the crowd into overdrive, even when lead singer Bailey Winters introduced a forthcoming song as a slow jam. Supporting its new 7-inch single "Metal," Strength saved the ditty for one of the final two songs of its performance. Almost instantly people began joyously singing and shouting along. Pop glory? An identifiable hit? "Metal" embodies both. The track is so sure of itself (and rightfully so) that those who don't necessarily embrace Strength's pulsating disco-fied anthems won't have a hard time clinging to it. It was an unshakable way to end not only the group's set, but the fest as well, along with a dedication to Manny Reyes and the other acts. High notes and good times were seemingly had by all, which I fully realized as I walked across the Burnside bridge to catch the last bus with a huge smile on my face.