WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

The Return of Troika!
November 7, 2008, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Durham, Shows

After last year’s awkward gasp of the previously inspiring Troika Music Festival (aka the Durham Music Festival), it did not look too good for the longevity of the event or its handlers. It rattled the community and left bands crossing the festival off their lists of possible future shows. It was unnerving and I was even guilty of not saying very nice things about it to a few friends. Not being easy things to organizing and maintain, festivals rarely run smoothly in their first handful of years and this was absolutely no exception. Before the work started getting done this year, it was already not looking too good. Then something happened, something flipped inside the inner workings of Troika and a ship that was once slowly sinking was immediately righted to enthusiastic, cheering masses. Even bands that had sworn off the festival reapproached it, excited again.

On stepping into the Pinhook last night, I was enamored with the overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment I saw on faces as I entered. Then it slowly crept across my own face. This wasn’t just another show in another city. It was the Triangle celebrating itself. It was music bound by a community that loved it and appreciated it. It was a newly opened, three-day-old meeting place packed wall to wall with an unapproachable bar! It made me proud of Durham, the Troika Music Festival and all the bands that exist here. It’s amazing that so many bands of different styles and backgrounds can play shows together, share crowds, even members and end the night with smiles on their faces and exclamations of how good the other groups were.

In my little corner of Troika last night, the belles of the ball were the Screaming Females. I have never, hands down, seen a better guitar player in person in my life. Granted, they’re not exactly local, but they’re honorary Durhamites having played here countless times and befriended countless music geeks and lovers. They’re an always welcome guest at area spots like BCHQ and the Nightlight as they make a point to play all ages spaces. All five plus feet of Miranda channels every ounce of her being and passion into her squealing guitar. Quietly she mumbles into the mic in between songs, but as soon as you’re thrown thick into the heart of the song, you realize you’re witness to a battle – the bending of the will of an inanimate piece of wood and metal turned screechingly animate. Blues. Punk. Psychedelic garage. It’s the best, bastardized awkward hybrid I’ve seen of those genres. To see this band is truly something magical and I suggest you make a point to see them next time they’re in the area.

Future Islands then crashed the stage and took the night in a totally different, though equally awe-inspiring direction. As the bar was so packed (and the band played on the floor), I could only make out the mylar-colored backdrop aiming all noise directly at the audience. No one’s ears were to be spared or left unbruised. This was my first time seeing the group and I was surprised to find myself really getting into their dark dance synth dance party dance music. Sweaty. 80s dark dance wave? There, that’s it. The singer has a great, creepy way of offering out his lyrics which becomes the main aspect of the group that really draws them out ahead of the pack of their fellow dance wavers. In my opinion anyway. Anything that veers off in a creepy or dark direction will always get my attention.

Don’t miss another night of this Festival. Make it out. Those were just a couple of the amazing bands playing. Both were from a little bit out of town, but have close ties to the community through friends and labels.

Highlights tonight – the Rosebuds and Kimya Dawson at the Carolina Theater! Wigg Report at Bull McCabe’s!
Highlights tomorrow – Hammer No More the Fingers, Tooth, Midtown Dickens, Dry Heathens, Travesties, I Was Totally Destroying It, Heist & the Accomplice, etc, etc, etc. Good luck making it to all these as they’re all over the place and all happening at the same time!! Yikes!!

It’s the most amazing thing when there’s too much in this town to see everything that you want to see. It’s truly inspiring. Thanks Troika!!! We owe ya one!