The Festival of Gnarnia has received a lot of mixed emotions on the internet over the last few days. While there was a strong police presence and many people got in trouble, many more had an absolute blast. We’re here to focus on the music and positive vibes Gnarnia had to offer and that’s exactly what we’ll do here.
Easy Star All-Stars were the first act I had the pleasure of catching on Friday at Beech Mountain. Their reggae swagger was the perfect act to chill out to and get ready for the long action packed night ahead. Their covers of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and Pink Floyd’s “Money” were awesome. If you’ve never heard their Radiodread or Dubside of the Moon albums, do yourself a favor and COP (no pun intended).
Some downtime after Easy Star was spent drinkin’ a 40oz on the truck bed of the parking lot. Sorry to the acts I missed, but I found myself indulging in the massive beer that our Sunshine State doesn’t allow us to consume. After the 40oz set me free, Toubab Krew took me around the world. I’m not sure there was a more interesting act than Toubab Krew at the Festival of Gnarnia. Taking you from country to country with their world rhythms and non-english lyrics, the term “taking you on a ride” is an understatement. This is a full blown journey around the globe and I love every second of it. They are definitely the only band I’ve seen utilize a kora (a 21 string West African harp) , soku (one stringed West African instrument) or camelengoni (similar to the kora, but with 6 or 12 strings).
After the funky world-wide journey we hit up Break Science in the tiny little Queen Loopy stage. This place apparently had the capacity of 200 and was a “one-in / one-out” policy. While hundreds stood outside patiently to get inside, Break Science started their drum-laden take on Pretty Lights music. The duo kicked out some new jams and the Florence remix before we dipped out to catch Emancipator.
Emancipator’s chilled out trip-hop was the perfect intermission between the evening sets and the late night madness. They kicked out the fan favorite “Lionheart” as well as an awesome Fugees “Ready or Not” mash-up while the stars vividly shined in the rural, 5000 ft. high Beech Mountain. It is the ability to lay on a blanket and see stars like you’ve never seen them before all while feeling the bass and soothing melodies of Emancipator that makes a music festival worth going to. It’s not something you can do everyday (or ever for many people).
The transfer from Emancipator’s lush lullabies to Dieselboy’s crushing drum ‘n’ bass is not one I want to make often. While many friends ranted and raved (pun indeed intended this time) about Dieselboy’s set, it wasn’t anything I was in the mood for after a good hour+ of downtempo violin tunes. I stayed long enough to catch him mash up Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and that was pretty damn gnarly. However with all the great things I heard about Tipper, I had to go scoop a dope spot for this glitch-hop legend.
Unforunately Tipper doesn’t like photo and video spoiling his mind-blowing visuals, but let me just tell you a few things. First of all, Tipper’s live performance involves him playing (yes PLAYING) turntables just as well as anyone you’ve ever seen scratch on vinyl. The blips, blaps, skrrts and bdddaps sounds of a true turntablist are enough to keep anyone interested. On top of that this old school cat is spinning all (or at least mostly) original productions of the illest glitch hop you can imagine. If you’re unfamiliar it is a little like Koan Sound. To top it all off this guy has an intricate stage set-up with kaleidoscopic masterpieces formulating and decomposing the entire set. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The visuals rival that of Amon Tobin or Skrillex’ mothership cell.
The main thing I learned at day 2: Tipper is the FUCKING man!
If you still don’t get the picture, just watch our day 2 recap video!!