In its third year, LouFest is quite possibly the summit of live indie music in St. Louis. Drawing just-left-of-center acts from the past 30 years and showcasing local and national up-and-coming bands, LouFest has become something of a landmark in the Midwest.
Opening with the titular track from 2011's "With A Bang," the Blind Eyes brought out feel-good rock with a lightheartedness about it. Fresh from their recent first ever South by Southwest performance at the KDHX-sponsored Twangfest, the Blind Eyes showed why their hometown of St. Louis is so crazed about them.
Their lightly distorted guitars and chug-along bass lines reminded me a bit of good '90s alternative rock. Other times, I felt a We Are Scientists or the Strokes vibe from their accessible brand of upbeat pop. The band played a currently untitled new song that blasted their harmonies and guitars into the crowd. This being my first time catching the local legends, I found that I was most into how every Blind Eyes song felt like it could be a single. Between the catchy drumming and hummable choruses, the Blind Eyes are a sight (and sound) I'm sure I'll return to for an awesome live experience once again.
Throughout the night, pictures from LouFest 2011 streamed across a screen while Mark Lewis DJed. His set of '70s and '80s punk tunes and the occasional disco number kept the room vibrant in between the festivities of the night.
Announced via a video between bands, the LouFest Lineup thrilled the attendees of the show. Headliners the Flaming Lips will be an awesome sight on a sweaty summer St. Louis night while co headliner Girl Talk will surely turn the fields of Forest Park into a contagious party. Hometown heroes Son Volt alongside veteran noise rockers Dinosaur Jr. and folk-influenced rockers Dr. Dog should make for a killer freakout. Classy synth-pop act Phantogram, garage-heads Hacienda and R&B-influenced hip-hop twosome THEESatisfaction promise to chill out the late August sun. The gently rolling indie rock of Dawes and the quirky pop of semi-locals Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin should appeal to a wide audience, as should Little Barrie, Cotton Mathers, King Tuff and St. Louis bands Sleepy Kitty and the Pernikoff Brothers.
After the announcement, Morning Teleportation of Bowling Green, Ky. roared out some psychedelically-inclined indie rock. With lead vocals delivered with a dizzying pace and an equally speedy outpouring from their instruments, Morning Teleportation jammed well together. A friend mentioned that the band had performed on the David Letterman show a week prior, further piquing my interest in their performance. As their set continued and the sweatiness of the members increased, the band steered out of straight indie rock into dancy-er, guitar-tapping territory.
I was surprised by the technical prowess of Morning Teleportation's members, but exceptionally psyched to hear how much the band's keyboards and synthesizers were featured. It was refreshing to hear a keyboard as a lead instrument, giving the funkier half of the set a certain authenticity. Consistently changing time signatures and thrashing heavily during extended outros, Morning Teleportation definitely held up well throughout their fairly-long set.