MIT Steer RoastMay 5 & 6 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Flickr stream here.
New rule: what happens at Steer Roast stays at Steer Roast. And in the insterest of there being future Steer Roasts, we've omitted any details that could a) get someone arrested, or b) give MIT an excuse to shut the shit down. Therefore, what follows concerns only the MUSICAL portion of the activities, which is what you're here for, right? Right?!
The Brooklyn via Boston via Athens duo USAISAMONSTER was put in the unfortunate position of kicking off the musical portion of the Steer Roast (after the official pit lighting and traditional mud wrestling, of course). They had to play first due in part to the fact that, later that night, they were on their way to Michigan to record some music for Load Records. But despite the early hour and a variably limited interest from the general population, Colin and Tom did not disappoint.
If you've never seen USAISAMONSTER before, they look like a couple of orphans left behind by a Viking trade expedition who were later adopted and raised by Mother Earth. And Mother taught them well: from, like, how to listen to the crashes of the waves on the sea shore, to the quiet cooing of the regional sparrows, as well as the roars of thunder a mid-August storm might produce. Their music reflects this tutelage. They can drop neu-metal riffage worthy of some serious headbanging, or lock into steady dance grooves that get the whole body thrusting, or they can just as easily swerve off onto a sleepy dusty Georgia road and sing in soft harmonics. Their set was spotless and definitely kicked off the '06 Steer Roast proper.
The next band was MODEY LEMON. They are some hardrock throwback trio out of Pittsburgh. The lead singer was a rocking a bandana as a headband. Once I realized he was neither Cheech nor Chong, I lost interest and left the courtyard to mingle with the locals.
I returned about a half-hour later as crunked up as the average coed, in time for NEPTUNE to take the stage and did they ever finish off the night in style. This homegrown trio easily blew the minds of the young Einsteins with one of their more dancier and energetic sets in recent memory. Their recent two week U.S. tour evidently sharpened their performance skills mightily along with solidifying their fresh new crop of songs. By the time they got to their jammy jam "The Penetrating Gaze" the students and onlookers shook and shouted in great exhultation.
The second evening started off with a lot less steer. In fact, not a trace was to be found by the time lovable locals B.E.A.R.D. took the stage to welcome in the last night of cow-cooking revelry. The bearded ones hyped up the crowd with a fine set of songs capped off by the lead singer's high energy falsetto tones.
BRIGHT were next up, followed by labelmates and loud atmospheric sympathizers PAIK. Both were of the mostly, if not all, instrumental variety and both rode into town fresh off recent high praise from their respective Terrastock Festival performances. Their stuff was alright and had a somewhat similar sound. It was loud, atmospheric semi-psychy and appealed to numerous swaying Roasters.
ONEIDA were the final band, and closed out Steer Roast 2006 on a serious high note. The organ, guitar, and percussion trio banged out dancetastic jams as well as dipping into some of their down-tempo and jazzier material. Their personalities really came alive onstage as well, referring to themselves as "The O" and announcing before every venture that the next number was an "Oneida song".
The scienticians were really feeling Oneida’s vibe and expressing it in a variety of bodily motions. There was one couple who held hands the entire time, facing the band doing a bit of an asynchronous jig. And then there were the likely Phish fanatics who were moving their heads and torsos in a wavy motion. But better yet, there were a select few who registered that it was not simply the end of the night, nor the end of the Roast grew near, but verily the end of the academic year, and so spazzed out one last time before the reality of studying for finals could set in.
[Um, so maybe that wasn't exactly the end of the night after all. I heard some electro party band set up in a dorm lounge at 1:30 a.m. and played guerilla style to a packed sweaty room. But, I didn't catch their name.]
-- Mac Carroll