I had a huge dilemma as to which show to go to. There was the Fuzzstival in Cambridge, which had a great lineup, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Providence and Foo Fest. I decided to keep my annual tradition of hitting up AS220’s Foo Fest just days after Lollapalooza going, because 1, I love Providence, and 2, it’s a hell of a lot easier to make friends at shows in Providence than it is the Boston area. Foo Fest is an annual block party, with a lot of very unique bands on Empire Street in downtown Providence. It’s crazy cheap to get in (only $7), the beers are also cheap, and there are hipsters…a lot of hipsters because hey, it’s Providence.
After getting a much needed coffee at one of my favorite Providence coffee shops, the Coffee Exchange, I got down to the Foo Fest a bit later than planned. Once through the gate, I got a Zeppelin Heif beer, but can’t remember what the brand was, but it was pretty good. I had just missed Medusah Black on the outside stage, so I went inside to check out the Maker Faire, where there were a lot of people showing off 3D printers as well as a lot of homemade gadgets and robots. It was some pretty interesting stuff if you like geeking out to that kind of thing.
Rhode Island Maker Faire
I made my way back outside in time to see Providence’s own Littlefoot, who played a mix of 60’s surf rock with a bit of dreampop. They totally blew me away and were my favorite band of the day. This was also probably the most mellow band I saw.
On the inside stage, the most insane set of the night goes to garage rock band, Atlantic Thrills. The crowd went nuts moshing to every song the band played. At one point, lead singer Eric Aguiar asked for the head of the paper mache donkey that was on the side of the stage, which ended up in the pit and was completely torn apart by the crowd and subsequently left pieces of newspaper everywhere. It was great!! This band was much louder live than their recorded stuff would have you believe, and that’s always good thing!
After Atlantic Thrills’ set ended, I went back outside to get another beer and to see VulGarrity. This brother and sister duo’s music was a nice change from the insanity that I had just witnessed on the inside stage. A little bit glam and a lot of rock, the two members kept trading off on guitar and drums (and synth). It was pretty interesting to watch them create live loops as they played as well. I was really liking this band a lot.
I went back inside to see Downtown Boys, who put on a show almost as crazy as Atlantic Thrills. It’s not that often you see a thrash/punk band that is fronted by a female and featuring not one, but two saxophone players. Their songs were short at about a minute and a half each, but I’d definitely recommend experiencing their live shows. I even helped people up that fell while in the pit.
Back outside, Lolita Black was already playing and I caught the majority of their set. With a dark and heavy sound, the band had a pretty good sized audience who were really into it. Singer Scarlett Delgado made her way into the crowd to sing for a bit, which was pretty cool. This was one of those Providence bands I never got around to seeing, but was glad I finally did.
Next was the night’s big headliner Ssion (pronounced “shun”), who I never heard of until the Foo Fest lineup was announced. I caught a good portion of his set, but left a bit early since I was starting to get tired and still had an hour drive back home. The first song had a sample of “Rock On” by David Essex and sounded pretty cool with visual on a large screen behind him. For the time that I was there, Ssion’s set consisted of pretty mellow dance music that people really seemed into.
Although it would have been more fun to have people to hang out with during the shows, especially since last year’s Foo Fest was epic in soo many ways. I was bummed about not hitting up Olneyville N.Y. Systems for some delicious 3am junk food, but Haven Bros had to suffice for my ride back home. All in all, I still had a great time by myself and look forward to next year’s fest!