Disclaimer: A band’s name that performed at the festival contains profanity. This is not intended to offend, and the content of this article does not necessarily represent the views of The Observer or Case Western Reserve University.
Live from Mather Memorial courtyard, WRUW-FM 91.1’s 32nd annual Studio-A-Rama showcased acts straight from Cleveland’s music scene and provided a full day of free live rock. Each of the 11 acts came prepared to give their all in their performances, leaving the crowd nothing less than impressed with the variety of music.
The first to take the stage at the event was surfer rock band, Wingtones. The band’s songs were, to say the least, flavorful, with tracks that all highlighted their strong passion for chicken, no matter the flavor. Their musical sound could be described as “The Beach Boys meets Colonel Sanders,” but that’s what you get when Cleveland’s self proclaimed “Wing King” is the lead singer of your band. Studio-A-Rama attendees weren’t surprised when Wingzilla, their anthropomorphic chicken friend, performed with the band. All in all, Wingtones sent good vibrations through their music and set up a positive mood for the rest of the day.
Psych rock band Ma Holos made their Studio-A-Rama debut following Wingtones. The lead singer sounded similar to the Pixies’ frontman, and the band played groovy and rhythmic songs that was able to chill out most of the showgoers. Their songs had a classic feel to them, and the vivid sounds mesmerized the crowd as they performed.
Tuk Peenersen & His Weinermen
With a name like Tuk Peenersen and his Weinermen, most who haven’t seen the local before didn’t know what to expect from the band. The “Tuk and Weinermen” was one of the most popular acts of the day, not only because the odd name the band has, but because of how successful they are at producing expressive and emotional music. Their songs had an angry element to them, and their music incorporated electronic bass heavy drums with a rhythmic sax all over shrieking vocals, gaining the attention of show goers easily.
Shitbox Jimmy killed their set at Studio-A-Rama, with their loud, upbeat rock sounds re-energizing the crowd. The rough vocals of the lead singer Joey Nix gave the band’s songs a bit of a messy feel to them, and his yelling and howling as he sang the lyrics excited those who were watching their set. Overall, the band had a great vocal variation, and their live performance left the audience dying for more.
Being one of the first evening acts, Smooth Brain pumped up the Studio-A-Rama audience for all the nighttime acts. The ensemble was comprised of four working men who enjoy producing music in their spare time, which was surprising due to how well they performed together. The gritty vocals mixed with the garage rock sound kept the crowd going and the band’s chemistry was noticeable.
Blaka Watra opened their set with song “Big Winter,” giving the crowd a taste of what folk fused with synth sounds like. Their wavery and floating vocals mixed with guttural bass and guitar hypnotized the crowd during their set.
“I really liked the dragging bass lines,” said WRUW staff member Julian Potter about Blaka Watra’s performance. “I really liked their minimalist style, and how they mixed synths in with the guitar melodies really well.”
Home and Garden
Described as having an “avante garde rock” sound, Home and Garden was one of the most dynamic bands that played at Studio-A-Rama. With members from legendary post-punk group Pere Ubu being a part of the band, it was apparent that Home and Garden was a band with a lot of experience and exposure to different genres and styles of music. Some of their songs had a jazz influence to them; others had a more experimental rock sound. The band brought a unique sound to the stage and showed that although their sound differs throughout their songs, they are consistent in producing interesting, high quality music.
As the only all female group to take the stage on Saturday, Goldmines definitely showed that girls know how to put on a great punk show too. The trio’s performance was one of the most entertaining of the day, taking place right before the unpredictable Cleveland rain surprised the Mather Memorial courtyard. Although the lyrics of their songs were hard to understand, Goldmines put on a show that received a good response from the audience.
Luckily, the rain stopped just in time for punk artist Obnox to take the stage. With his music being slated as an influence for popular Ohio-based band, The Black Keys, Obnox failed to disappoint the Studio-A-Rama crowd with his approach to producing punk music. The heavy guitar riffs and garage rock style drumming in his songs kept the crowd pumped, giving them a taste of what good old DIY punk really is.
Special guests Mirrors proved that when it comes to the art of rock n’ roll, age really ain’t nothing but a number! The 7-man band gave a high-energy performance, which was nothing less than exciting, showing the crowd that they still know how to give a true punk performance. As they left the stage, Mirrors frontman Jamie Klimek said, “We’ll see you again in 38 years!”
“Do I shout it out? Do I let it go?” screamed fans as Mikal Cronin performed one of their favorite songs. As the last performer of the night, Cronin gave a memorable performance and played many songs from his latest album “MCII,” including a powerful, grungy rendition of “Change.” The rushing tempos and hazy endings to his songs enticed the audience throughout the whole set, and the band gave their all on the stage as Cronin’s dynamic voice filled the courtyard.