Lobsterfest started with a bang Thursday night at The Union. The night had mostly an electronic feel to it, with genres ranging from ambient free-form to chillwave.
The first group out was Whirl, a Columbus two-piece playing their second Athens show. The duo, consisting of ACRN alumnus Ty "Death Beef" Owen and Tin Armor's Matt Umland, plays a free-form style of electronic that is full on synth worship. The music doesn't stop until they are done playing, adding to the effect of what it all sounds like. There is an underlying structure to it, but the music is obviously impromptu, full of sound manipulation, synthesizers and digital sequencers. The two seemed focused during their entire set, constantly doing something to change around their ambient sound. The addition of a projected logo image in the background and the ever-changing lights of The Union made it seem eerie and apocalyptic, but one could only stand, listen and just feel.
Next out was Blithe Field, a sample-electronic artist from Athens. The creation of Spencer Radcliffe, the sound is just pure and fun. Even with how chilled out the music was, Union attendees were eagerly dancing and enjoying everything that Radcliffe threw in. Spencer seemed very relaxed and comfortable playing on The Union's stage, playing very loose, but focused all the while. He played tracks from his most recent release Warm Blood and his 2011 album Two Hearted, such as the ever popular "People I Love." Radcliffe ended his set with "bible school," a song from his album Beautiful Wave '74. I especially enjoyed it because I was screaming at him to play it right before he dropped it.
John Jagos, the sole brain behind his chillwave/nu disco project Brothertiger, gave his last (and best) Athens show to date. The whole crowd was supportive of Jagos throughout his entire set, singing and dancing along to the songs they knew and even the ones they didn't. Jagos played songs that ranged from his two EPs to his full length, opening with "Vision Tunnels" off of his Vision Tunnels EP, then playing "A House of Many Ghosts" off the Point of View EP. Jagos ripped through some of his more recent songs off of his Golden Years full length, including the upbeat "Golden Years," the heavy bass-driven "Out of Line" (a song that belongs in the 80's) and the ever popular "Lovers." After working the crowd into a fever, Jagos covered "Ask" by The Smiths, which sounded great with his synthy feel and breathy vocals. Before closing his set with "Feel," Jagos, through near teary eyes, graciously thanked everyone for the support over the years and expressed his love for everyone in attendance. Best of luck to him.
Last out was Lazer Babez. The Athens six-piece was the only band that used any drums or guitars throughout the night, but they were distorted and affected like crazy. The only sort of vocals that came from the group were little hums and whistles expelled from the bongo player, then heavily distorted. They too had an underlying structure through drum beats, bass lines and drum sampling, but mini Korg-playing and guitar riffs gave them the feel of a free-form noise band. Ambient and experimental, the group ended the night in a great way.