Jack Downey ’23
Obviously, there were quite a few events happening this Halloween. Not only were there fewer COVID-19 restrictions than last year, but the weather was also immaculate despite all the terrible weather in the past week, with the sun bursting forth from the sky. It could only be described as peak fall. Under the smiling sun and the falling leaves, a music festival took place in a backyard in Wakefield, RI. It was called Moon Raid, and it was legendary.
Even before the show itself began, the staggering array of groups associated with it turned heads: there were twelve bands and nine vendors present at the festival, which, for a local show, was astounding and unprecedented. Set construction began at 1:00 p.m. and the stage came together quickly, with the setup of gear being completed efficiently and conveniently.
Leading off the event was Wave Goodbye. Building the sound of a full band using nothing but a guitar and a loop effect pedal, Wave Goodbye’s set received a warm reaction and helped draw in the audience. Following Wave Goodbye was Rather Nice, who recently released a new EP, Diane’s Van. Playing all the songs off that EP and more, the funky indie rock band had people dancing along to their mellow tunes.
After Rather Nice was Fort Revere, a fairly new indie rock/surf rock band based out of Providence. While their sound was sparse, the songs were catchy and had some people singing along. Occasionally, the band would turn up the distortion, keeping things interesting. However, their distortion had nothing on The Gotham Lights, who were up next. Despite only having two members, their sound was enormous and blew people away, almost literally. Lead singer Jake Draven’s howling vocals only added to the wall of leaden noise that filled the entire backyard for the duration of their set.
Continuing the wall of furious sound was Bozo Brain. Another two-piece band, this group was a female duo and their sound was more based around hardcore and metal. The crowd truly came alive during this set, moshing furiously to the distorted bass and pounding drums. At one point during their performance, the two members switched instruments to showcase their dexterity and indeed continued to bring the power. Considering this was their first show, it was rather impressive.
With the energy of the audience mostly spent after Bozo Brain finished their set, Harrison Dolan provided some soothing, if not incredibly melancholy, relief. Despite being another one-man act using a loop pedal, Harrison’s music was jazzier than that of Wave Goodbye and featured far more guitar effects. His soft voice carried with it an undercurrent of sincerity that drew many people to his music. Multiple people commented afterwards about how they had become emotional during his set and, as if Rhode Island was responding to this shift in mood, there had been several sirens audible during Harrison’s set, creating a strangely alluring ambience.
After this brief lull in the energy, Bellyache came in screaming, literally. Not much was known about this band prior to the show, since they have no social media presence and have not played many shows. However, they blew people away with their talent. They had an interesting mix of hardcore and indie rock, with the hardcore songs featuring a singer and the indie songs being instrumental. Whichever sound they choose to play in the future, Bellyache are an intriguing band.
Cameleopard was next in the lineup. Echoing some of the blusier aspects of The Gotham Lights’ set, the crowd was immediately captivated by the group’s melodic yet crunchy guitar, flowing bass, and impressive drumming. The band functioned like a fine-tuned machine; they had people moving and grooving to their tightly-wound style of rock.
This rock sound continued with the following act, Depopulate Montana. While their sound was straightforward, their songs were interesting and captured the audience. The sound had many elements of nineties indie rock as well as those of earlier rock icons such as Bruce Springsteen, with some punk rock thrown into the mix. Their set ended as the sun fully disappeared beneath the horizon.
Although the sun had departed, the show went on. The Park Hill Romance took the stage and ripped through several beloved covers, such as Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” and Green Day’s “Holiday.” Their fans ate it up, dancing and singing along, illuminated by the car headlights which were being used to light the stage. After them were Alligators On Acid, who delivered a gloriously ramshackle punk performance that included bassist Luke Kelley throwing his bass aside and running into the crowd, starting a tidal wave of a mosh pit that resulted in him getting punched in the face. Considering this might be their last show for some time, they went out with style. Last but not least were The Moon Rakers, who hosted the entire event. The band’s sound was remarkably minimal in the most interesting of ways, and many people seemed to be drawn in by the dry guitar sound and the unorthodox drum beats. It was a fantastic way to end such an insane concert.
All the above acts sans Bellyache have Instagram accounts and deserve attention, so give them a follow.