Local music review: Rocktoberfest

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

As anyone who endured the cold and incessant drizzle can attest, Saturday wasn't the best day to throw an outdoor music festival. Yet Alive's first Rocktoberfest, a daylong celebration of Columbus music at the South Campus Gateway, was a blast for me.

Because I booked the entertainment, consider this more of a recap than a review - a very satisfied recap.

On the artistic front, I couldn't have been happier. Way Yes began the day by drawing a line somewhere between Islands and Animal Collective - giddy and melancholy, boisterous and thoughtful. Watching water splash off Colin Odden's drums during Exwhites' set was only one of the visceral highlights of experiencing the most thrilling local punk combo.

Joey Hebdo took the event title as a cue to get all Led Zeppelin up there. L.e for the Uncool descended from the stage to eye level for his final performance before skipping town, inspiring a pod of break dancers with quirky cuts from "The Measure." Guest appearances by P.A. Flex and Dez Arnez added to the family feel.

Super Desserts played offstage too, gathering under a tent to protect their violins and cellos. It didn't stop them from playing lush originals and a carefree cover of "God Only Knows."

Each of the last three acts showed commanding stage presence. Phantods oozed feminine fury, then the Floorwalkers proved to be pros at soundtracking a good time. Fly.Union overcame technical difficulties with some smooth beatboxing and freestyling then launched into a setlist that only teased at their already bulky catalog.

As exciting as it was to see some of the city's most exciting musicians, it was even cooler to see each of them greeted by a throng of faithful supporters. An almost entirely different faction of fans watched each of the eight acts; I wonder how many of them would have stuck around to cross-pollinate if the weather was better.

Furthermore, I'm tantalized at the prospect of OSU students, a population traditionally oblivious to the local music scene, stumbling upon performers like this on a crisp autumn day. Here's hoping next year the sun shines as brightly as the talent.