Molo at City Arts Fest

Reflections from the Inaugural Heineken City Arts Fest

I’m still reeling from all the great music and art I saw this weekend (Dum Dum Girls! (shown above) Vaselines! Brother Ali! Poet Jason Whitmarsh!). Here are a few favorite moments in particular:

Just because you look like “a cross between Santa Claus and the KFC guy” doesn’t mean you can’t flow. Brother Ali brought the hip-hop love and energy, opening for Blue Scholars at the Paramount on Wednesday.  He had the crowd going and his banter between songs was funny (like the comment above – he’s actually an albino) and touching when he spoke about Eyedea, a fellow Minnesota rapper who tragically died last weekend. He was 28 years old. 

Poets are funny. Sometimes I think that poets can be depressed, lonely, melancholic sobs (maybe I’m projecting) but The Off Hours Reading sure proved me wrong. I was snickering when poet Mary Paynter Sherwin started her reading by saying “I don’t do banter cause you’ll think I’m cool and it will be a disappointment [when you meet me later].” Actually, now that I think about it, that was a bit melancholic…but later poet Jason Whitmarsh talked at length about a fictional board game called Hasbro Poetry Death Match which brought out the LOLs. 

Playful bickering in Scottish accents. No, I’m not talking about Belle & Sebastian, but that other Scottish band in town, The Vaselines, and the robust insults thrown between singers Eugene Kelly and Francis McKee onstage. Eugene commented on the dress of Francis, insinuating that it was from the Salvation Army and Francis fought back with some snide remarks about Eugene’s fading hairline. Francis actually had to encourage the polite Seattle crowd to boo Eugene, when he insulted her.    

Other highlights

Big Boi bringing several ladies from the crowd onstage – words cannot describe the dancing that occurred. Rich Jensen’s ill-fated use of an overhead projector at The Off Hours – why couldn’t he get that thing even remotely straight and legible? The prevalence of horizontal striped shirts (think Picasso). (Was it because Gogol Bordello was in town? Or is it the new retro style?) James Carter making the most amazing sounds come out of a sax, and his drummer who I think actually did a behind-the-back move. And of course, the mesmerizing legs – I mean music – of the Dum Dum Girls (they are great musicians, really, but I think going to all these shows as a single guy just made me more than a little girl-crazy.)

(Apologies to anyone I stared at, including the Dum Dum Girls).

Photo by Nate Watters


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