2007 Troika Music Festival | Music Feature | Indy Week
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2007 Troika Music Festival 

Saturday's schedule

Contributors: Rick Cornell (RC), Grayson Currin (GC), Kathy Justice (KJ), Ian Miller (IM), Chris Parker (CP), Dan Strobel (DS), Chris Toenes (CT)

Denotes Editor's Choice


Notes: All ages. Bring your own booze. $10.

The songs of singer/songwriter/bandleader David Karsten Daniels build on grand structures and plaintive lyrics, his penchant for self-examination reflected in his mix of straightforward jangle and orchestral pop. Whether soft and reflective or ragged and fighting back, Daniels' odes to hurt and confusion hit like a medicine ball to the gut. Think Little Wings with a good, dark beard. 9 p.m. —IM

A Boston four-piece led in the highs and lows, Plumerai owes its measured intensity to bassist James Newman, who gives the band's art-rock dioramas a thick, popping backbone influenced by dub and British dance. The surface comes equally equipped, shaped as it is by Elizabeth Ezell, whose tense air could make a whisper sound like a threat of seduction. 9:45 p.m. —GC

As All Smiles, former Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild makes plaintive, familiar pop with an acoustic guitar and a meek voice. His casual care for phrases that twist and romantic thoughts that resonate feels like an arm around a shoulder on a chilly autumn evening. 10:30 p.m. —GC

Nearly two years since he dropped the moniker Pedro the Lion, David Bazan's songwriting has forged into political waters and drifted away from the Christian moral-in-reverse M.O. However, the music remains familiar, as plaintive guitar strums meet a bellowing tenor that's both distinctive and beautiful. 11:15 p.m. —IM


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Notes: No alcohol. All ages. $10.

Whether giving instructions on how to make a cheese quesadilla or telling tales of Icelandic girls from Raleigh and robots, The Drowsies ply pop-punk with the knowledge it had better be fun. 1 p.m. —DS

click to enlarge Betty and the Boys
  • Betty and the Boys

The Boys' plucky female-led alt-rock aesthetic is alternately jangling and jagged, though its constant drive recalls the gritty drama of early Concrete Blonde. 1:30 p.m. —CP

Sweet, simple indie rock about girls and making out and trying to stay somewhat carefree, this Chapel Hill trio supplies a Guided by Voices ease for the romantics. 2 p.m. —GC

N.C. exes who recently made the move to NYC, Fan-Tan plays nervy post-punk with terse rhythms and tinny vocals. They've just finished EP one, Bars and Ones. 2:30 p.m. —GC

Cinematic scope sometimes gets the better of Sweater Weather, as it crams so many ideas and dramatic movements it fairly groans under such weight. Still, Sweater Weather's autumnal tone blossoms and blooms in bright, lilting, multilayered compositions, where generous melodicism and adventurous arrangements offer an open ticket elsewhere. From the dramatic swells to the choppy orchestral churn, the Chapel Hill octet often recalls The Decemberists. They recently released their full-length debut, Now Everyone Can Sing. 3 p.m. —CP

Getting a little more brazen all the time, Eberhardt—like proud Triangle forebears Des Ark and Alina Simone—puts gnarled female vocals in songs that move from cocoon to catharsis. Secret touch: Colin Booy's trombone on songs like "Brittle." 3:30 p.m. —GC

Two gracious performers who invite their audience into a terrific pairing of folk and pop, Midtown Dickens builds winning songs with élan, enthusiasm and a self-made ensemble of banjo, guitar, harmonica, trombone and drums. Expect plenty of laughter and smiles, but don't be surprised if you head home with some of the Triangle's best songs stuck in your head. 5 p.m. —KJ

Carrboro's Happy Bird sports an endearing amateur love for keyboards, loops and guitars, crafting little pop curios from melodic fragments and, more recently, bits of noise that chew at consonance/dissonance perception. Delightful. 5:30 p.m.—GC

Electro-clash bounce and spring-loaded riffs from Asheville, On The Take sounds as concerned with the garage as it is with the dance floor. 6 p.m. —KJ

This is one of the best stage shows you'll see all festival, mostly because it refuses to be confined to the show: Rhythmic and loud and visceral and ecstatic, A New Dawn Fades uses avant investigations and atypical songcraft to challenge its audience and itself. You'll be asked to participate (Bang on a ... Pot), and you'll want to. 6:30 p.m. —GC

Former D Generation guitarist Richard Bacchus has a healthy respect for the Bowery-bred bite of old-school punk. His ringing Thunders-style guitar has a patina of grime, and the songs have a chunky power that recalls hooky, hard-rock mavens Cheap Trick. 7 p.m. —CP

The latest EP by this trio of Durham vets burns with past-midnight club fire, peaking on "Into the Nite," where Shirlé Hale leads a dance march through darkness into light. What a fitting marker for a band who nails positive pop-rock to the wall. 7:30 p.m. —CT

As the duo of Heather McEntire and Nathan Buchanan, Bellafea was a well-crafted spear, moving through the space of whatever room they happened to be playing and pinning the audience to walls. Buchanan's heavy, pattern-resistant drumming drove McEntire's singed and singing voice, the tip of the weapon. Now as a trio with Fin Fang Foom's Eddie Sanchez on bass, they boast the same slice, just driven from the rear by an extra locomotive that gives McEntire's voice and jagged guitar lines that much more power. And any silence you hear, remember the storm is coming. The band's pummeling debut LP, Cavalcade, will be released by Southern early next year. 8 p.m. —GC

Clamoring rock 'n' roll with a sardonic edge, former Milemarker Ben Davis grinds smart guitar leads against pounded piano chords. Co-ed vocals for moody indie rock drama. 8:30 p.m. —IM

click to enlarge Phosphorescent
  • Phosphorescent

Matthew Houck's words—mostly metaphors for and machinations of love and nature—are the string quartet. His voice, so perfect and potent, is like the fine, handcrafted bow. See this set. 9 p.m. —GC

Something like Danielson Famile enlisting the Animal Collective in a living room production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Los Angeles' Bodies of Water welds the orchestral shamble of a Bright Eyes album to a psych-folk aesthetic. Very majestic, theatrical stuff. 10 p.m. —CP

With an aw-shucks charisma, a mountain-song base gathering all of kinds of styles under one sound, and Jill Andrews and Sam Quinn out front, the Gillian Welch and David Rawlings comparisons remain inevitable for Johnson City, Tenn.'s the everybodyfields. But this band is poised to break out on its own terms, not in someone else's wake, be it that of Welch and Rawlings or that of Ramseur Records labelmates The Avett Brothers. Creative Loafing's Hal Horowitz sums up the everybodyfields' appeal best: "Rootsy by nature, not design." A dreamy finish for Troika. 11 p.m. —RC


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click to enlarge Sweater Weather
  • Sweater Weather


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