The Houston Music Blog section of the Free Press Houston.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: special Terrastock 7 edition

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 5:16 AM

Terrastock is not just a festival, it’s a family. There’s a feeling of community that you won’t get anywhere else and you can’t help but feel caught up in it all. This isn’t Boneroo, Lollapalooza, or Austin City Limits. People aren’t here for spectacle or to be seen – they are here for the music and the community that surrounds the psych genre whose umbrella is the zine Ptolemaic Terrascope. That sense of community extends from the biggest acts to the smallest. This is, when you get down to it, nothing more than a big house party at (founding editor of PT) Phil McMullen’s pad. The pad this year just happened to be in lovely Louisville, Kentucky in the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center - a former factory turned multi-use facility.

Perhaps it’s the Terrascopic Family vibe but I swear the artists were all the nicest and most generous people you’d ever want to meet and not an ounce of pomposity to be found anywhere. Where else can you sit around and chat about that cool nightclub back at the Brownsborough Motel with one of your musical heroes or talk to someone whose music you just discovered a few months ago then have them actually greet you by name at the merch table later that evening? You greet artists you haven’t seen a while with a great hug and meet new kindred spirits (all the while reminding them not to forget Houston on their next tour). And the sense of community isn’t just the artists but the fans were just as wonderful (special shout out to the kids from room 285) and these fans came from far and wide. It was pretty telling when Wayne Rodgers of Major Stars asked “Who here is from Louisville?” and perhaps two people raised their hands. This wasn’t a local event, this was international - an international event brought together from a love of music.

And that music was phenomenal. A short cross section of the bands would dizzy anyone. Off the top of my head? OK. Damon and Naomi played a gorgeous and beautiful set that was amazing plus, I just love Naomi’s distinctive phrasing on the bass. The pairing of Maski Natoh and Helena Espvall was incredible. I was particularly entranced when Espvall would play her cello through a flurry of effects giving an otherworldly quality that would play beautifully off of Batoh’s strong and emotive guitarwork. Tara Jane O’Neil’s performance was inspiring. I’m always stunned how as a solo performer she is able to be able to use that negative space around her and be able to make music that is at once wrenching and lonely but also joyous and communal. MV & EE and The Golden Road put on a heavy and heartfelt performance, despite sound issues, that wasn’t merely giving the audience a note by note rendition of their recorded work but clearly expanding the material to great effect. Mono’s performance showed why their careful and patient arrangements really have to be experienced live. The impact of the sound waves hitting you, surrounding you, and carrying you along is simply incredible. That’s just a smattering of bands; there are a hell of a lot more that deserve mention but it's just too overwhelming. Hell, just this morning before I left I heard an incredibly textured impromptu set by Windy Weber (Windy & Carl) and then 15 minutes of Insect Factory’s sonic explosion. That’s just poking my head in for a few minutes before making my way out of Louisville on a ride back to Texas. As I was leaving, a friend shrugged and said “Well, I guess it’s back to the real world huh?” and I nodded my head and sadly agreed.

Terrastock Photo of Mono courtesy of Tracy Popp on Flickr (Link)

Other Terrastock 7 Images from Opurt2007 Day 1 (Link) and Day 2 (Link)

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