Posted by Charlee Redman on 04/20 at 09:39 AM
Last Saturday the artists and crew of Movin’ On upheld the festival’s spirit in a way they may not have been expecting. It was a literal moving on, facing difficulties and continuing despite the challenges. There was snow, hail, a little rain, an injured drummer, tuning problems, and malfunctioning sound equipment. But the show went on.
Braving the unseasonable cold and scanty attendance, Radio Empire started off the festival with verve and enthusiasm. Their pop-punk songs, while never really escaping the narrow confines of that genre’s clichés, ripped through the freezing air with a sincere intensity.
Scranton-based ska band Skip Town Matty was energetic too - for the very short set they played. Their horn section, consisting of a trombone and sax, was the highlight of their performance.
The first remarkable act of the day was local band So Long, Pluto, who played through the mid-afternoon hail. Their alt-folk music was a refreshing departure from some of their less colorful predecessors (despite the absence of their regular drummer due to a broken arm). The songs were stylistically varied, moving between builds and playing with dynamics. Murphy’s bluesy violin, quirky vocals by lead guitarist Chet, and talented keyboardist Dan completed their set. It’s a shame they don’t play more shows in State College.
Central Pennsylvania natives The Click Clack Boom have relocated to New York and integrated themselves into the Williamsburg music scene, and it shows. The indie rock band plays with a tightly controlled energy that frequently threatens to burst, as when singer Nathaniel Hoho vigorously bangs a tambourine against a snare drum. The Click Clack Boom’s sound incorporates elements of electric dance rock, a straightforward alternative rock sound, and skillful guitar riffs into a catchy blend sure to take them far.
Local favorites British Phil received one of the biggest audiences of the day with their swamp troll rock. The band’s folksy blues and warm melodies echoed across the HUB lawn, filling the air with Mike Doyle’s distinct tenor and Mike Rudolph’s swinging violin lines. Guitarist Tim Vitullo stole the show with his awe-inspiring virtuosic solos. Jimi Hendrix probably rolled over in his grave to hear Vitullo’s dexterous playing. The show ended with Vitullo smashing a guitar in full rock-star style, shocking the audience (but don’t worry, it was supposedly a cheap instrument bought for that purpose). British Phil epitomizes the sometimes sluggish State College music scene and has a dedicated fan-following no other local act can claim.
Headliners Less Than Jake started off strongly, only to stop abruptly when guitarist Chris Demakes’ guitar head blew out. After a few minutes of cracking jokes and goofy dancing, the band played a semi-acoustic version of “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” from their album Anthem (2003), one of their few slower songs.
Once the technical difficulties were resolved, the band continued the show with renewed energy, blasting through a mix of material from their older albums. The crowd danced and moshed enthusiastically to numbers like “Cheese,” “How’s My Driving,” and “Scott Farcas.” Less Than Jake definitely stuck to their old sound, which combined with their live shows and comedic rapport with audiences has won them a small but loyal army of fans over the years. They know what they do best, and stick to it - I first saw them play at another college nine years ago, and the Gainesvile ska-punk rockers haven’t changed all that much.
Didn’t get to Movin’ On this year? Check out photos from throughout the day 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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