Despite the technical issues during sound check that delayed the start of the performances, the second annual LU Weird festival was a fun weekend full of radical and unconventional sights and sounds. Unlike last year’s LU Weird, this year’s festival featured campus bands but only two off-campus bands, Oshwa and Buke and Gase, hailing from Chicago and New York respectively.
LU Weird was begun last year by senior Addy Goldberg. About the event, Goldberg says, “There are many artists out there who are making some pretty crazy music, who can’t charge all that much for their performances, because of how off-putting their music, act or image is. So, LU Weird is designed to capitalize on the opportunity that these sorts of musicians create by hosting a large, festival-like event, comprised of a number of artists creating pretty weird music.”
While last year’s event was two days of music with a guest appearance by “presidential hopeful” Vermin Supreme, this year Goldberg aimed a bit lower. “Our budget was much tighter this year, so we aimed a bit lower, consolidating LU Weird into a house party at Art House on Friday.” The party on Friday featured four campus bands, followed by the two bands brought in for the event on Saturday.
Made up of vocalist Alicia Walter, vocal/guitarist Michael Mac, percussionist Jordan Tate and bassist Matthew Noonan, the Chicago-bred band Oshwa was one of two bands featured during LU Weird. Held in the Esch-Hurvis room in Warch, Oshwa kicked LU Weird off with their solid set. Featuring epic guitar licks and almost whimsical riffs together with the powerful and soulful vocals of Mac and Walter, Oshwa performed much to the delight of the foot-tapping crowd. With vocals that sound like a cross between the late Amy Winehouse and Swedish singer Lykke Li, Walter’s vocals were a definite highlight of the night. While the music is most definitely avant-garde and intricately layered with the overlapping bass and two guitars, there are still some nice pop elements thrown in there. The band played some hits from their latest album, “Chamomile Crush,” including “Old Man Skies,” “Baraboo” and the title track of the album. While it was difficult to grasp a recurring beat or melody while listening to Oshwa, their songs, especially “Tigers,” definitely had my feet tapping against the floor and scouring the internet for their music.
Similar to Oshwa in their experimental and progressive sound, the Brooklyn-based duo Buke and Gase closed the night’s events and were a definite hit with the audience. Made up of Aron Sanchez and Arone Dyer, the duo used their handcrafted instruments to perform a weird-tastic blend of some creative tunes and fantastic guitar riffs for the audience. With a whole lot of effects and some synth thrown in there as well, there was a particular homemade quality to their music. This homemade quality was further fueled by the band’s use of a “toe-bourine” (tamborine strapped to the bottom of the feet) and the very cool ukulele-baritone hybrid that inspired the title “Buke” in their name. The band played some loud hits, including “Hiccup,” “Sleep Gets Your Ghost” and others. Arone’s awesome vocals, reminiscent of Karen O’s of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, were a lovely high accompaniment to the low sounds of the gase. While their music, like Oshwa’s, may be difficult to navigate—especially to those who listen to Top 40 hits— their music is explosive, innovative and just what your ears need: Something a little different.