Friday night’s “Hibernation Station” concert at Takoma Park’s VFW Post was anything but sleepy. The show,organized by the Twin Moon Arts Collective and local band Aerial View, displayed a wide variety of local talent, ranging from comedians, indie rock, and metal.
For the Silver Spring-based Aerial View the show commemorated the launch of their first-ever tour. The band will be playing six shows around the Northeast, hitting cities such as Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.
“To see people who don’t live here, to play with various bands,a road trip is just fun.” said Aerial ViewfrontmanKjell Hansen, on the reasons for the tour.
Technical difficulties delayed the band’s set and forced Hansen to perform without the aid of guitar effects pedals. The group was unfazed by this,however, and quickly jumped into their latest single “Family Catalogue.” Hansen’s falsetto vocals during the chorus added emotional weight while the song’s high energy functioned as the sugar to help the dark lyricsgo down easier.
“It’s about my hatred of advertisements and how we are manipulated by ads and don’t even realize it,” said Hansen. “It’s had a deep effect on me I thought I could express it through songs.”
A highlight of their set was the song “Hypnotist,” a mid-temporocker, that the band used as a springboard for instrumental soloing. Hansen’s guitar melody started off the track strong,and bassist Rye Ann answered Hansen’slines with fills of their own. Drummer Branden Brady was a stable presence behind the kit, offering a bedrock for Ann and Hansen’s theatrics. Ann’s energetic stage presence was in full force; Annjumped around the stage, at onepoint lying on the floor of the venue while pumping out bass riffs.
“It’s like an addiction. If I’m not at a show playing or writing music,it’s the worst I can feel” Said Ann. “I think since I was 12 I would just go to school and say when will I play in a band and play shows. I didn’tpay attention in class that’s why I give it my all now; I have to make people notice every time.”
Comedian Christopher Isaacson kicked the show off with a stand-up routine. Organizer Eleanor Linafelt, who also performedas indie rock artist Rat Queen, commented that Isaacson's set might have marked the first time a comedian has performed at a Twin Moon Arts event. He started off his routine by feeding his voice through a vocoder, a synthesizer that alters the tone of human speech. He immediately began interacting with the audience, asking the audience where they were from, and cracking jokes at their hometown’s expense.
After leaving the vocoder, he poked fun at bad Christmas gifts, and his trip abroad to Japan. The latter segmentfeatured him mocking American “Japanophiles”, commenting that a significant portion of his colleagues just wanted to dress as anime character Naruto and stand next to a real Japanese person.
“I write three bad jokes for every one good joke, and sometimes the good jokes fall flat,” said Isaacson. “I have a notebook I carry when I have an idea I write it down. It starts as an observation that gets fleshed out through conversation.”
Northern Virginia band XK Scenarioenergized the crowd with their progressive rock-influenced take on hip-hop. Many audience members compared them to 90s alternative rock group Rage Against the Machine. The band’s rapper/vocalist Kaleab Elias threw the crowd into such a frenzy that a mosh pit formed in center of the audience. The crowd throwing their bodies at each other with reckless abandon until the VFW staff shut it down.
“I’m not the type of person to yell out commands to the audience. What happens on stage isn’t planned just the music,” said Elias. “It’s a matter of not listening to the voice in the back of your head saying why are you up here. Music is a communal thing you have to have fun with each other,”
The four-piece band displayed a great use of dynamics, moving from quiet, calmer sections to heavier, more aggressive sections with purpose. Drummer Ryan West and bassist Adrian Thies created solid grooves, while guitarist Alex Menick contributed several virtuosic guitar solos.
Silver Spring-basedbandCool Baby closed out the night. The band’s use of three vocalists, Reid Williams, Ian Donaldson,Nathaniel Marshall, plusrapperOcho Worldwide give their polished jazz-rock tremendous tonal variation. The group even brought out rapper WalaKalala, to guest on their latest single “Birds Chirping.” The two-piece horn section of trumpet player Julian Pregstone and saxophonist Zach Wathen gave them a unique sound compared to the guitar, bass, and drum-focused groups that dominated the night.
Other performers included metal band Yeah Baby and indie rock artist Connor St. James.