Hornucopia: A Musical Recap

Wait, wrong Hornucopia. Our bad.

So if you were anywhere this Saturday afternoon, you were probably at the Horn Gallery’s annual Fall Festival, Hornucopia. Between games of cornhole, sipping on fresh-pressed apple cider, and getting your face painted by Phoebe Rotter ’14, you probably also saw some ridiculously cool music. And if you weren’t actually doing any of those things, that’s ok – read on for our official recap of the show!

Starting out the show was Sleeping//Giant, the musical project of producer and spoken-word poet Oren Weingrod ’14.  Nocturnal synthscapes washed over the kick-snare beat of some seriously spaced-out hip-hop, while Oren graced us with alliterations literary and colloquial, spinning tales and images from his imagination straight to your ears.

We were also graced with a set by We Just Spoke, a folk-pop experiment consisting of Ryan Mach & Hannah Beckerman ’14 (with percussive assistance from Ethan Primason ’14).  While their recorded material tends toward the electronic side of things, their songwriting carries enough weight on its own that their songs translated effortlessly to acoustic instrumentation.  Classic slow-burner “Fall In Love,” for example, transformed into a double-time jamboree that you couldn’t help but dance to (even though you can feel the lyrics breaking your heart every damn chorus).

The midpoint of the show saw an exciting departure from the Kenyon music scene: straight from the weirdhouse that is Wesleyan, Faith Harding aka Novelty Daughter dropped by to play a quick interlude of soulful electronica for us folksy kids.  Armed only with a laptop & keyboard, Harding showed off her absolutely stunning vocal technique (and range!!) over an array of cold, moody beats & textures, all of which she produced herself.  Sounding like something between a 1940’s jazz soloist singing into the void and the thoughts that run through your head after a hazy, sad night at the club, Novelty Daughter’s haunting melodies and introspective lyricism captivated the Horn audience.  Her EP just came out on the Los-Angeles-based label Sterocure, and since it’s free you seriously owe it to yourself to pick that up.  Very exciting, forward-thinking sounds.

Next up were two alumni bands, beginning with Queens-based folk-pop trio Poor Remy.  Fresh off of finishing a new EP (it’s called Bitters and it’s due out tomorrow!), the lovably handsome outfit of Adrian Galvin, Andrew D’Amico, and Kenny Polyak (all ’12) rocked our world with their effortlessly singable melodies, feet-stomping energy, and emotive banjo techniques.  While there’s something not quite ideal about singing “Drinking All Night” when you’re stone cold sober at 3pm on a Saturday, they brought the hype nonetheless.  Check them out on Facebook for more news about the EP and upcoming shows!

And finally, the act most of us were all waiting for (and many of us had never even heard of before): Pinegrove.  I’ve waxed nostalgic about their presence on campus before, but man have they tightened up their sound since my freshman year.  What once existed as the bedroom project of Evan Hall ’11 (alone but with occasional collaborators like Nandi Plunkett ’11) has now transformed into a proper rock band: a raucous, shimmering, and technically brilliant foursome rounded out by Montclairians Nick Levine (Guitar), Sam Skinner (Bass), and Zack Levine (Drums).  Heavy chords smashed down in broken, ever-shifting time signatures while Evan danced around stage singing and grinning like a Corybantic imp.  Actual chills were provoked in the audience by lyrics deep and personal.  And first-years experienced their first true Horn baptism: a real live Pinegrove show.  And nothing would ever be the same.

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