On inauguration day, Acrobatics Everyday celebrated its one-year anniversary and kicked off the beginning of a historic new presidential administration with the music of High Places, Protect Me and 60 Watt Kid.
The set was led by 60 Watt Kid, a San Francisco trio led by vocalist Kevin Litrow. The singer’s bow-tie and outfit made him look more like a 30-year old prep school drop-out than a frontman, but Litrow’s occasional bursts of what looked like a cross between interpretive dance and epileptic seizures energetically punctuated the band’s meandering and trippy music.
The juxtaposition of Litrow’s shrieking and reverb of the guitars was enough to make listeners feel as if they were watching two separate bands perform. The serene yet sometimes psychotic blend of musical styles reverberated throughout the room, creating a fascinating blend of experimental cacophonies and slowly entrancing reveries. This sense of musical split personality disorder worked out for 60 Watt Kid, giving them a unique style that can’t be easily labeled.
Protect Me was next to perform. The super-charged and energized Los Angeles-based punks played a quick set of steady lo-fi tracks, with its lead singer nasally droning lyrics over the grate of guitars.
After a break for some Acrobatics Everyday birthday cake, the night’s headliners took the stage. The New York duo High Places (Robert Barber and Mary Pearson) played tunes from its most recent home-recorded album of juxtaposed beats and samples. Vocalist Mary Pearson sang her simplistic lyrics over the layered tunes of Barber’s drum machines and turntables. Pearson’s childlike and wispy voice was at times almost drowned out by the strangely cohesive pings and scrapes of the percussion. Pearson’s dreamy melodies were as calming as her schoolgirl rhymes were charming.
High Places was a relatively low-key act compared to the night’s earlier performances – Pearson stood over Barber’s table of electronic noisemakers, softly singing into the microphone and moving very little. Despite the band’s low-key stage presence, its techno-tinged indie pop gave the show a decidedly more dance-hall feel as people in the audience proceeded to sway and move to the beat.
Sam Farzin, creator and coordinator of Acrobatics Everyday, has been working to bring new independent music to UC Irvine for a year now, and after almost being shut down by the administration late last year, the one-year anniversary of the group was a landmark event.
“It is incredible to me that Acrobatics Everyday has been happening for over a year now,” Farzin said.
Since its creation in January 2008, Acrobatics Everyday has held shows with indie headliners like Dan Deacon, The Mae Shi, Japanther, Ponytail, Parts and Labor, Indian Jewelry, The Shaky Hands, Ian MacKaye and Gowns.
“Every show we do feels like the first time all over again; there’s a sense of amazement that it is actually happening, every time,” Farzin said.
“It has been an incredible experience and I have met a lot of worthwhile people I otherwise would not have had the privilege of meeting. It is my hope that the spirit continues and does not fade abruptly like it did in the mid-90s. Hopefully soon enough we will have a legitimate venue on campus to call our own. Until then, the unfettered ambition of Acrobatics Everyday will continue as well as it can,” Farzin said.