Goldrush Music Festival at Deer Pile, 9/21-9/22
Tom Murphy Echo Beds at Goldrush 2 at the Deer Pile.
GOLDRUSH 2 @ DEER PILE | 9/21/12-9/22/2012
By Leya Lynette and Tom Murphy
The hype around Goldrush 2 had not been identical to that of Goldrush 1. The original crew that did the booking had changed, and the festival this year focused on more under-the-radar acts from around the country in comparison to last year's lineup, which had more established bands. This year's primary organizer, Crawford Philleo, moved the show to a smaller venue to retain a larger amount of control over the show.
- Q&A with Goldrush Festival co-founder Crawford Philleo
- Review: Goldrush Festival, Night One, 9/16/11
- Review: Goldrush Festival, Night Two, 9/17/11
- The Organizers of Goldrush Festival on the festival and blogging
What was lost in space was gained in pure enthusiasm from those in attendance, who may have not been familiar with each group, but felt excited to see so many new faces, many from outside of Denver, and many of whom they may have read about on Phileo's blog, Tome to the Weather Machine. With everyone walking around, smiling, meeting new people and shaking hands, there was a feeling of optimism and community that made even the first soundless moments of the festival seem exciting and new.
Local industrial act Echo Beds didn't so much open as rip open night one, tearing apart everyone's ideas of the kind of music they were in for at an indie-rock music festival. Phileo joked before their set, "These are three of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, but...you might...not think so...after this."
The massive amount of gear that was hauled up the long flight of stairs leading up to the Deer Pile space alone was intimidating enough to make anyone ill at ease: three floor toms, multiple mixing boards, two speaker stacks, several smaller amplifiers, a giant grate that stood between the band and the audience, and more cracked cymbals than you could count.
The music began slowly, with an almost gentle ambience creeping around the room to lull the excited audience. Except that the moment David Mead picked up a modified microphone that fit in the palm of his hand and began pacing the floor, peering out intensely at the audience huddled around on the other side of the grating, it became alarmingly clear that this set would be anything but a peaceful ambient set.
On cue, Echo Beds exploded into an industrial-noise assault, as Mead began screaming guttural sounds into his heavily distorted microphone and Tom Nelson and Keith Curts thundered away on their strange percussive ensembles, glaring with anger and bizarre understanding at each other. Eventually, Mead put down the mic and began slamming sticks against the grate, which was amplified through contact microphones, and Keith picked up a bass. This went on with sharp ebbs and flow for the duration of a twenty-minute-long song that, despite its brutality, kept people dancing. Echo Beds left the stage to thunderous applause, and the room cleared out to give them space to disassemble their insane setup.
As an almost geometrical opposite to the fury that was Echo Beds, Former Selves was one lone man: Paul Skomsvold from Oakland. He set up his gear with gentleness and care; a few tape decks, a guitar, multiple small keyboards, and a string Christmas lights around his gear for helpful lighting. With a shy smile, he cast his empathetic eyes at the audience. "I'm going to, um...bring it down a bit, if...that's okay?" and began playing soft, otherworldly guitar sounds over tape and Casio loops. For something like 25 minutes, Skomsvold played beautiful, zoned-out lullabyes to an audience that sat peacefully on the floor, hands in their laps, listening with rapt attention.
Having proven to us that we literally could not expect what was coming next at this festival, Crawford did a short introduction, and Denver's Kevin Costner Suicide Pact took the stage. KCSP is a four-piece that plays slow guitar noise that seems to go on a permanent build with no clear moments of gratification. Four guitars and an entire table filled with dozens of pedals might give you some idea of what kind of set you were in for, but KCSP is well known for sticking with a riff in an almost obsessive way, until you are stuck in their world, wondering where the door back to your reality disappeared to.