Bamalama Fest 2 Rips Huntsville a New One

Jacuzzi Boys at Will's Pub 2008, photo by <a href=
Jacuzzi Boys at Will's Pub 2008, photo by Peter Betancourt
posted Thursday Jun 4th, 2009

The 2nd Annual Bamalama Festival goes down this weekend in Huntsville, Alabama. Getting the four day long party going tonight at the Voodoo Lounge in downtown Huntsville, this year's installment promises to be a rock'n'roll bender like no other in the Southern US, save for the annual Goner Fest in Memphis. Tonight's line up features headliners International Date Lines, who boast that they are not technically a girl band, but their bubbly, power pop tunes and "ooh ah oooh" refrains definitely give that feeling. The Milwaukee act barrels through cute little Nikki Corvette-type shit that will pump the sugar straight into your boozy heart. The Oxford, Mississippi 2-piece, John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death have a supporting slot on the bill and blast a far cry from the headliners, banging out fuzz-ridden noise calamities wrapped around simple pop tunes that seems as brilliantly eroded and dangerous, as they seem to bleed with modern blues shards. And as if you might have thought that the belly of Fat Possum Records was getting too full to suck up another modern hitmaker, it looks like these guys have landed on their roster, which is fitting because they both fly their flag down there in the Oxford mud. The Group Hug, and effects-pedal noodle heads, Squidbotz open the show, but not until after that damn Huntsville Stars game is done and over on the Voodoo Lounge boob tubes first.

Friday night gets underway at Lowe Mill with a ridiculous line up that is going to wipe that smirk off your sub-drunk face and replace it with a permanent, gaping ogle. I mean seriously, Pink Reason, Digital Leather, Box Elders and Goodnight Loving on one bill has got to be breaking some kind of cosmic law. Opening the showcase are the contagiously optimistic sounds of The Magic Kids. A Memphis act featuring members of the Barbaras and the Girls of Graviton, whose stage shows come off as a sort of melliferous and enchanting whirlwind of good time hits, and inflatable buffoonery. Keep an eye out for their debut on Goner Records sometime soon. Pink Reason will hit the stage next, and you'll be second guessing your enjoyment as his dark, cerebral songs will knock that cloudy air of optimism right out of the atmosphere and replace it with eerie fog of self-affecting doubt. You'd better bring your lithium tonight, because you're going to need it. After a set by the yet-to-be-crowned kings of contemporary electro-scuzz pop, Digital Leather, Omaha's golden sons of dressed-down party pop, Box Elders hit the stage to reset the mood once again back to an emotional overture of beer-spilling, buddy-hugging and worry-flushing songs that will get the whole house bumping. Then Milwaukee's Juiceboxxx will wipe their alabaster hip hop across the crowd, leaving you bouncing to party beats with a self-conscious simper on your less-than-hip face, but that's OK dude, because Goodnight Loving headline. Just off their third album on Dusty Medical, Goodnight Loving's set will reset the evening back to a straightforward luster with their slightly southern-fried and timeless tunes.

Saturday is going to be a little rough after the time you had Friday night, so after you wake up in a strange place, sneak a hitter and embarrassingly dry heave into a neglected philodendron in the living room of an unfamiliar apartment and then re-meet the person who was nice enough to put you up for the night. But you'll have to put that all behind you as the day show at Bandito Burrito starts at 2:00 PM in the afternoon, and you don't want to miss Church of My Love, Lil Daggers, and Ryan Pits and the Boy Toys.

Saturday night at Lowe Mill holds another crazy and unmissable line up, kicking the night off with the murky, modern psych tunes of Woven Bones. Look out for 7"s coming out on Sweet Rot and Needless Records out this month, along with their debut full-length on HoZac coming up in the near future. Then after a set by Alabama's weirdo of bare bones twang, Dan Sartain, another couple of Alabama freaks hit the stage, Wizzard Sleeve. Now trimmed down to a two-piece, these backwoods robots remind us that the foreboding future of certain Armageddon is destined to happen everywhere, and won't be skipping over the less nihilistic and flowery meadows of the less populated parts of the map. And with their debut album coming out on HoZac soon, the rest of our small world will be certainly warned. The Jacuzzi Boys, from the sandy back alleys of Miami, take the stage after Nashville's The Mattoid. Playing their brand of dejected hippy shit fits, more with the times than say, their scarves, but their songs are simply brilliant and are injected with a spirit of timeless, rollicking grooves. They've got a split 7" single with Woven Bones out on Needless as well, and you'd be a tard not to pick it up. After the Jacuzzi Boys, Mobile's Super Nice Bros headline.

OK, it's Sunday morning and you're pretty wiped, you smell like stale beer piss and cigarettes, but the show isn't over quite yet. Maybe you should go get some pancakes or something, and get some nourishment in you for the free show tonight at the Voodoo Lounge featuring Dan Shatterfield's Dick, the Detroit two-piece The Mahonies, and Brooklyn rippers Liquor Store. Headlining the show are the always excellent grit-pop pioneers who set up the Bamalama Fest, Thomas Function. Be sure pick up their new 7" on Fat Possum before you get some rest from the long weekend.