LeakyCon Reflections: Rock Night 2

MURICAFirst of all, HAPPY MURICA TO ALL MURICANS.

Now that that’s out of the way, my thoughts on the second night of rock at Leaky! Due to the Team Quiz running super long, I ended up missing the entirety of the first two acts, though I heard positive things about them, especially Rae Sterling. Of course, I’ve also heard positive things about myself, so you really can’t hold much stock in vague positive opinions from the ethereal “other”. Still, it seems like a good time was had by all, or at least, by most. By some.

At the very least, I can safely say that at least one person enjoyed themselves. That one person would probably be Justin, because as I’ve stated before, that fucker always seems like he’s smiling and enjoying himself, in blatant disregard of all the many reasons we have to despair of this world. What an asshole.

But speaking of which, the first set I saw the (near) entirety of was Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills, and it was nothing short of excellent. Now, according to my research, this opinion puts me in the minority (though the true minority seems to be having an opinion at all about the rock nights at Leaky) – some samples of what tumblr has to say about Justin’s set: “Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Quills were lame”, “Oh man, watching this set was torturous”, and “Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills are the worst band in the history of the universe. I HATE their lead guy.”

I would actually put it as my third favorite set of the weekend – Justin is like Whompy in that whatever you might say about their voices or instrumental abilities (things I’ve never had a problem with but I can see how others do), you cannot deny that they are natural performers, and know how to put on a damn fine show. Justin was in top form, smiling and joking his way through the whole set, with Steph on bass and Joe DeGeorge absolutely killing it with the saxophone. The live sax throughout the set alone made it a must-see show, and Joe’s talent on the sax has really improved over the years – it’s now miles ahead from the somewhat kazoo-sounding recordings on “My Wizard Scar Still Burns For You” “Save Ginny Weasley from Dean Thomas”.

The whole band seemed to be having fun, including one moment when Joe just walked over to Justin and starting blaring sax directly into Justin’s ear. This meant that suddenly we weren’t hearing anything over on Joe’s end, but it made for quite the amusing spectacle. Also, special mention must be made of Justin’s show-opening rendition of “Honeydukes” – that is a fairly long song, and the live version stretched it out even more, but the whole thing just worked, with spikes of energy, restful lulls, musical tangents, and it all coming back to one of the catchiest choruses in all of wizard rock.

I won’t deny that the crowd was not super-enthused, and I get it – Justin is not the most popular band, and he doesn’t have a show-stoppingly beautiful voice like Christian or some of the MoM boys. But he brings an undeniable presence to his performances, and he just seems so happy to be up there, and gives everything he has into each show. It’s that sincere enthusiasm that made this such a fun set, and I pity anyone who couldn’t get some enjoyment from it.

Next we had the Whomping Willows, whose performance was good but not the most memorable one I’ve seen. It was fun to see him do acoustic in front of that many people, and witness just how much energy he can get into a crowd without an electric, but every time I see him do one of these sets is another chance I miss to see “Bad Case of the Voldies” live, which is disappointing on a purely personal level. It was interesting to hear just how well many of the Wizard Party Forever!!! songs work on acoustic, seeing as one of my problems with that album is how the electric became somewhat monotonous, and lacked the variance and occasional acoustic break-up of III (and despite whatever I might think about the lyrical categorizations of the album, Demons at the Helm is still musically far and away the best thing Whompy has ever done [besides “Fang, Stop Peeing On My Trunk”]).

The most exciting moment of the set was when he played a song from his upcoming kickstarted album, about Remus. I can’t really say too much about it because I can’t really review a song I heard once, live, half a week ago. But it was good, and I continue to stay enthused for the new album!

Then we had Hank, who isn’t a wizard rocker (though he talked briefly about how Lauren said some people consider him one – I just consider him a guy who makes songs about Harry Potter, but it usually is more along the lines of meta-wrock anyway), but I was actually familiar with most of his songs, which is honestly the biggest criteria for how I’ll review a set. Second biggest criteria is whether or not I actually saw the set.

Hank was obviously tired and worn out the whole set, but he kept truckin’ along, and the crowd was obviously very entertained. My one problem is that between the lyrics-forgetting and the false starts, and the strange portion where it looked like he was stalling for time and taking requests, Harry and the Potters ended up with only thirty minutes to play, whereas Hank played for close to an hour. I dunno if there was miscommunication or what, but that was somewhat disappointing. Still, the people who are big Hank Green fans seemed to enjoy it, and I’ve definitely seen worse sets before, so the experience gets a pass from me.

Then was Harry and the motherfucking Potters, and they once again proved that they can make an incredible experience no matter the time or space constraints. My personal highlight was when they played “Song for the Death Eaters”, which is one of, if not the best thing Harry and the Potters has ever written, but is not a staple of their live shows. I think one of my friends almost started crying when they started to play it. Hell, I think I almost started to cry. What will probably be the personal highlight for most people though was when they played “Dumbledore”, and the crowd spontaneously turned into a giant circle. And then, just as the song picks up into the really rocking part, everyone ran at each other and the circle collapsed into a huge mass of dancing, jumping, yelling nerds. There was no other word for it than magical.

However, I would have to say the true success of the set was how, even with a cruelly short time for them to play, HatP did not cut corners, nor did they rush through songs. A laid-back rendition of “My Teacher is a Werewolf” was perfectly placed within the set, and a similarly low-key and intimate performance of “The Weapon” was a perfect capstone to the best show of the con, and one of the best Potters sets I’ve ever seen, and at this point I’ve seen a lot.

Wrock Snob out.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. GC
    Jul 04, 2013 @ 19:55:21

    I really look forward to HaTPs LC shows, simply they are epic, however I knew ever before the concert started that they were going to be cut short. Firstly they did not open the doors until late. Secondly, only the RockStars could enter first (in a con where the theme is one of inclusion this is absurd especially with no seating requirements). At that point I knew they would not have a proper chance especially since word was going around that the train stopped running at midnight. That said, it speaks volumes to their showmanship how well HaTP handled the situation, and still not only get but keep the crowd and their show on a good playing field. As the Orlando hotel was more accommodating to the shows running late it’ll prob be less of an issue again next year, but still something management should keep an eye out for.

    Reply

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