by Brad Roberts
It's hard to imagine a more stimulating or exciting event as this year's Culture Collide Festival. That's NO on stage at the World Stage at right. Now in its fourth year, I had only attended once before, two years ago and only saw a few bands, but getting a press pass this year, I decided to throw myself into it as fully as my time...and energy, would allow. The festival ran from Thursday through Saturday in as many as eight venues at its peak.
Going to their website, I was able to sample almost all of the bands on the schedule and jotted down quick shorthand notes like "dream pop", "shoegaze" or "sad girl folk", "delicate quivering voice" or "baroque pop" next to the band names. It gave me something to go on with my unfamiliarity of almost all the artists.
On Thursday, October 10, I raced over after work and got there in time to check in, get my treasured press wrist band and step into the Taix Front Lounge to hear Melpo Mene, a Swedish indie band whose lead singer, Erik Mattiasson, appeared to be suffering from some kind of stage-confessional jet lag, but pulled it together to deliver a couple of interesting songs. I saw them again on Saturday and was quite impressed by their second set. Catchy songs with nice vocal harmonies and complex arrangements.
I intended to spend most of the evening at Lot 1 as the band Secret Shine (UK) was the one I was most impressed with when I sampled their music and read their history as a seminal band in the shoegaze movement in England, and they were set to play at 11 PM. Before departing Taix, I stopped by the Champagne Room to hear a little bit of Wooster (US) who sounded very good as a representation of American indie rock with lots of jangly charm and a singer whose voice resembled that of Finn Andrews of The Veils. I really wanted to see Bombay Show Pig (Netherlands), not just because of the arresting name, but their energetic samples intrigued me, and they were scheduled to go on at Lot 1 at 9.