Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Festival Review: Cropped Out 2018
I pogoed at a rapturous performance by the revolutionary rock band Half Japanese five minutes after my mind was scrambled by a collaboration between the heroic titan Anthony Braxton and the imaginative harpist Jacqueline Kerrod in Louisville on Saturday. The startling contrast between the iconoclastic musicians is what the Cropped Out festival in Louisville is all about.
The annual event represents a paradise for broad-minded aficionados of outsider music. I heard folk, punk, indie-rock, hip-hop, free jazz, experimental noise, bluegrass, chamber jazz, honky tonk, footwork and a comedian dressed as a opossum at the two-day event. The music-centric festival isn’t for everyone. Cropped Out is all about the music. Organizers can scarcely be bothered with maintaining an online presence. And while it boasts a glorious view of the Ohio River, the festival grounds at the American Turners Club resemble a condemned country club.
Unlike many of the approximately 750 attendees whose stylistic choices signaled an absolute rejection of the mainstream, my enthusiasm for the esoteric lineup isn’t exclusionary. I embrace Cropped Out because it allows me to gorge on acts that I might not otherwise see without the hassles associated with major festivals. I certainly didn’t like everything I heard. Circuit Des Yeux, the most anticipated act at the festival, did nothing for me. Thankfully, outings by the two veteran artists that compelled me to attend Cropped Out fulfilled my expectations. My ten favorite performances:
1. Anthony Braxton and Jacqueline Kerrod- a giant of American music (my Instagram footage)
2. Michael Hurley- a true folk hero (my Instagram footage)
3. Drunks With Guns- surly St. Louis punks
4. Nathan Bowles and Bill MacKay- avant-garde folk (my Instagram footage)
5. Jana Rush- footwork pioneer
6. Half Japanese- bandleader Jad Fair is a rock heretic
7. The Web- disaffected prog-rock
8. Sex Tide- punk rage
9. Quin Kirchner- chamber-jazz (my Instagram footage)
10. Taiwan Housing Project- incendiary rock noise
Next year’s goal: crossing Harold Budd, Evan Parker and Ralph Towner off my bucket list at the Big Ears Festival.
(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)