GlobalFest was, for the majority of the group, the best part of the entire APAP trip. Essentially, this is a festival that featured twelve bands on three stages, each on a separate floor of Webster Hall.
The three floors each had their own distinct feel, and the atmosphere really added a lot to the experience. The bottom floor, in the basement, was called The Studio. This was a tightly packed dance floor with a relatively small stage. At any given time, the audience members were no more than forty feet away from the stage, which was an incredibly intimate scenario. The Marlin Room, which was on the “second floor”, aka ground floor, was much more of a club setting, with a few tables, a bar, and a large space for standing room/dancing. Lastly, the grand ballroom was a massive empty space with a very large stage, encircling the entire top of the room was the unofficial “fourth floor”, which was the VIP section. As APAP members, we were allowed access to this level as well, which was a really great experience, as it allowed us to take breaks from the crowd to take a breather, so to speak. My personal favorite area was the studio, as I tend to like smaller venues, but all three were amazing, and added their own elements to the performances.
Now, I did not see enough of every band to give a detailed description of each set, so I will just touch on the sets that I saw in their entirety, or almost entirety. The first performer that I saw was in The Studio. It was guitarist Stephane Wrembel, who is most well known for being a contributor to the soundtracks of Woody Allen’s films. Another guitarist, as well as a bassist and a drummer accompanied him. The speed, as well as the complicated nature of the music, made this an exciting opening act for those of us that were watching. The film buffs among us also greatly enjoyed hearing him play the main themes to movies such as Midnight in Paris and Vicky Christina Barcelona. Following him, we bounced around, visiting various acts. While many of the groups were good, another real standout was LoJo, a multi-ethnic group based in France. A larger ensemble, the most impressive members were the two female singers, who, I learned later, are sisters. They added percussion elements and sang in harmony, which was beautiful. The leader of the band, an older man who played the piano, among other instruments, was also quite impressive. All in all, the night was full of bands that truly impressed.
Now, however, is time for the paragraph devoted to the last two bands of the night. Like Timur and the Dime Museum from a few nights ago, both these bands were highlights of the trip for many artists. The first band is Mucca Pazza, a “punk rock marching band”. The second is A Tribe Called Red, which is a Native American electronic group who combine traditional pow wow music with the sounds of the electronic music scene. Mucca Pazza, who performed in the grand ballroom, entered in style, with a parade line through the audience. The split and ended up interacting a lot with the audience on this first song, which immediately made us like them even more. Accompanied by their punk rock cheerleaders, they took to the stage and provided one of the most amazing live shows I have seen. A completely instrumental group, they showed that you don’t need lyrics or vocalists to be a top-notch punk group. My favorite part of their performance was the dancing of the cheerleaders. Deliberately ridiculous, it added a sense of freedom and a lack of self-consciousness in their work, which made them an immediate crowd pleaser. Another hilarious bit about the cheerleaders is that the pompoms were made of caution tape. The bandleader, who serves as the tuba player as well, was an incredibly charismatic leader who was able to make it seem like the group was being spontaneous. The main thing about Mucca Pazza, and probably why I like them so much, is that they seemed to be having fun themselves, which I feel is incredibly important. Tribe Called Red, performing in The Studio, was another highlight of my evening. I am not, usually, a fan of heavy electronic music, so I was greatly surprised to discover that I really loved this group. The incorporation of the Native American style of music, provided by sampling, as well as by two guest vocalists (both women), added to the feel of the music, which was a very new and innovative feel. The three DJs were top notch, and the entire crowd was jamming along with them before long. The coolest part of this show, though, was the fact that people of all ages were enjoying it. A highlight for me was witnessing a couple who were in their early to mid sixties dancing along like the rest of us, who are much closer to the “target age” for this kind of music. I honestly found that to be awesome, and incredibly unexpected, as most of the time, you are aware of who your audience is. That being said, I have learned that at least one person is reading this blog, which has me incredibly excited. As the first person I know to be reading this, a big shout out to Mrs. Cohen, mother of one of the students on this trip. Thank you for sticking with this!
GlobalFest was an amazing evening, and a great segue into our last day of this trip to NYC. Stay tuned for the final installment and enjoy the pictures below! For more pictures, check out the flickr account. I may also post a purely picture entry after tomorrow’s report on the final day.
Posted by BCRC Admin on 01/15 at 02:46 AM