Posted by Charlee Redman on 04/20 at 10:18 AM
From classrooms and hallways, young musicians and artists practiced their craft for a nomadic crowd on Friday, April 9th. The fourth annual Arts Crawl, a five and a half hour synthesis of student art and music, brought an audience of all ages to listen to bands, watch performing artists, and create something to take home (there were even pillowcase superhero capes to make).
It was almost impossible to see everything at Arts Crawl, but there was never a dull moment. Early in the evening, Ethan Palmer and friends played their melodic piano rock in the Zoller Cafe and metal band Judgment Shall Pass screamed their songs of reckoning from inside the foundry by the Ceramic Studios (a very appropriate location for them, complete with a trash can fire to ward off the chill and rugged industrial equipment).
The only act to perform in the Palmer Art Museum this year was Lucas Carpenter, an acoustic guitarist and songwriter with a penchant for pop culture and a playful manipulation of colloquialism. Through his lyrics littered with bursts of “OMG!” and concerns with the etiquette of texting, Carpenter crafted an enthusiastic and theatrical rapport with his audience.
Arts Crawl veterans The Exclusive Document played in the Zoller Cafe as well, filling the airy space with ambient music. A few floors above, the Amber Lamps performed in front of screens displaying constantly morphing, abstract animations (similar to the technique of last year’s headliners The Buddy System). Although the band was formed recently, they showed a great deal of promise as an offbeat addition to the local music scene.
Streaks of Light, who played in the Stuckeman building, were a surprise. The Philadelphia-based band’s music draws somewhat from progressive and experimental genres (think Explosions in the Sky) but tempers that with harmonious horns, introduced at just the right points.
One of my personal favorites, The Fiddlercrabs, brought their punk spin on 60s surf rock to the Visual Arts Building around 9pm. The riffs reverberated through the large classroom, tight and fast like the Beach Boys would have been if they grew up forty years later: surfers with an edge.
No Age, the headlining band, played to a large and energetic audience at the end of the night. The duo performed a variety of old material, much of it from their 2008 album Nouns. Drummer Dean Allen Spunt beat his drums with a palpable intensity, his movements rapid and powerful. He and guitarist Randy Randall seemed to be enjoying themselves, often sharing a smile as they played.
At times it was difficult to make out the words, but that didn’t really matter - No Age’s noise-rock was more about raw enthusiasm, dedication to youthful exuberance, and the art of the moment. As the audience shook its heads back and forth to songs like “Teen Creeps”, Randall’s guitar rolled on waves through eardrums and the whole atmosphere of Arts Crawl fused together. Randall passed his guitar to the crowd, creating a wild surge of crawling hands and bodies as everyone struggled to touch it, to strum the beleaguered instrument and participate in the ageless music of the moment.
Want to see more photos of Arts Crawl? Click here!
Author: Charlee Redman
Bio: Charlee Redman is currently a sophomore studying English and French at Penn State. She enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, making ambient noise with the local band The Roaring Kittens, walking, and drinking lots of coffee. Although she likes many styles of music, some of her favorites are folk, indie, classical, and electronic. Her favorite bands at the moment are The National, Iron & Wine, Of Montreal, and Radiohead.
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