BRING IT! The Cups' grungy guitar rock was just one item on a bill that included psychedelic noise punk, acoustic-guitar hip-hop, and experimental theater.
"How many people here have been at all five Blastfests?" Kate Lee of Gracious Calamity asked the Saturday afternoon crowd from the bicycle-rim decorated backdrop of the "Moon Stage" at the Cambridge YMCA in Central Square. People scattered around the room raised their hands, before someone yelled, "I've only missed one!"
This year's Blastfest — an annual one-day showcase put on by Jamaica Plain's Whitehaus Family Record — featured nearly 30 acts in five hours on two stages, performing rapid-fire 10-minute sets. The inaugural Blastfest, in 2008, was the first show thrown by the Whitehaus outside of its JP home turf. As Lee remembers it, "Brian S. Ellis came home one day and said, 'Guys, I just rented a theater. We're gonna have a huge fest in Central Square.' "
The Whitehaus has expanded as a main hub for DIY community building in Boston, throwing fests throughout the city several times a year and acting as a base for blog the Boston Hassle and its always-useful monthly underground show list, the Boston Counter Cultural Compass. Still, Blastfest represents the heart of the community, bringing together all of the extended Whitehaus family — some who played on Saturday have been integral to the community since 2008, some were reincarnations of older outfits with members swapped out and sounds rearranged, and some were entirely new acts.
With its unique set-up and community-minded atmosphere, Blastfest is a reminder of how unique the Whitehaus is; when a showcase can seamlessly switch from the psychedelic noise punk of Guerilla Toss, to the folk sounds of Anna Fox (otherwise known as Anna Rochinski from Quilt), to the grungy guitar rock of the Cups, to an intricate acoustic guitar cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" by Illlich, to an experimental theater performance all within an hour, it's time to pay attention.
: Live Reviews
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