Night two of the Baltimore Round Robin
As a mob of scruffy Wham City fans and I mill around MassArt’s Pozen Center last Friday on the second night of the Baltimore Round Robin Tour, the air is thick with excitement, as well as some pungent BO — understandable given that 55 Whammonites have been sharing one veggie-oil-powered tour bus for the last two days. Tonight is “Feet Night,” a 12-band showcase of the Baltimore art collective’s danciest, thrashiest material. Ringed with gear and hand-sewn backdrops lolling on dowels, the auditorium resembles the set-up for a very fucked-up Christmas pageant.
The lights dim, and Dan Deacon herds us into the room’s center, as band members join hands around us. To kick off, Deacon announces, “We’re going to make an ominous tone.” Then he leads us in a chant reminiscent of the 2001 scene where the apes touch the black slab, only with more giggling.
The next four hours of seamless sensory overload become a blur, each act performing one song per round, but a few bands prove especially memorable. Bathed in blacklight, Nuclear Power Pants’ two frontmen lurch and yowl in a crude Siamese-twin outfit while the other members rock out in fluorescent foam-rubber shark masks and zoot suits. Double Dagger’s sneering punk attracts a crush of kids eager to mosh and wave huge orange foam fingers; Future Islands’ soulful synthpop and Adventure’s eight-bit-inspired party bleeps have throngs of hipsters gleefully losing their shit. Then there’s Deacon himself, who sends the audience into paroxysms of hand-flapping ecstasy with every song.
Deacon wraps up “Feet Night” with an epic rendition of “Wham City” — yes, an anthem. Entranced, the front row cranes forward to caress Deacon’s green strobe-light skull. And then, suddenly, the whole thing’s over. As we stagger for the exit, marveling at how smoothly it all went, the air is humid with the smell of armpit — or perhaps it’s just the sweet smell of success.
: Live Reviews
, Dan Deacon, Pozen Center, Shaula Clark