(Various locations in St. Johns; complete info at nofest.net) The No.Fest began in 2008 as a small-scale music festival—it has since expanded its reach of the random to encompass fencing, Indian dancing, puppets, multimedia art, and magic by one "Wizardo Stardust." It's a weekend that spans the gamut of fun, all nestled in cozy St. Johns. JENNA LECHNER
TWO GALLANTS, THE MUMLERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The first time I ever crossed paths with Two Gallants, they were a fucking trainwreck. Actually, that statement is an insult to wrecked trains. The fresh-faced duo of Tyson Vogel and Adam Stephens was desperately flop-sweating through a set of ramblin' folk songs that were most definitely not yet ready to be shared with an audience beyond the four walls of their practice space. Yet within the course of a few years, the San Francisco pair was soon untouchable, a vibrant and occasionally caustic act that pummeled its way through the all-too-comfortable genre of folk music. The band was running on fumes by the end of the promotional cycle for 2007's self-titled LP, and the extended hiatus that ensued only heightened our pangs for new material. Two Gallants' two-year break is finally over, and if you need another reason to give thanks, word has it there is a new recording on the horizon. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
ZEKE, HOOKERS, BLACK WIZARD, ALL BETS ON DEATH
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Instead of going to my sophomore year homecoming dance, I went to La Luna and witnessed Zeke for the very first time. As a live band during that period, Zeke couldn't be beat, and their blazing speed rock and roll was somehow faster onstage than on their records. Blind Marky's neck veins bulged as his voice tried to keep up with his fretting fingers, Donnie Paycheck's middle finger pointed to the heavens as he bashed his minimal drum set, and the band's sets made a wall of sound that few bands could climb. Unfortunately, over the last five years Zeke doesn't seem to care anymore, and the band seems tired, grumpy, and uninspired. But I never stopped caring, Zeke. Please show me that you can still care about your timeless music more than you do your guarantee. ARIS WALES
THE WOODEN BIRDS, SHOESHINE BLUE, THE CABIN PROJECT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Austin's Wooden Birds are masters of restraint. Fronted by the American Analog Set's Andrew Kenny, the Wooden Birds have released a fine second album, Two Matchsticks, and like their first, it's full of easily strummed, lightly tapped-out tunes that sound a little like demos for what could have become lush productions. They aren't, though, and that's what makes the Birds' seemingly tossed-off numbers such rewarding listening: each of their breezy songs is brimming with tunefulness just under the surface, framed by percussive clicks and clacks instead of thwacking snare drums and crashing cymbals. Two Matchsticks doesn't emblazon its pleasures on its sleeve, but with just a bit of digging, the Wooden Birds' hushed delivery rewards patience and curiosity. NED LANNAMANN
SUPERNATURE: OCTANT, BRAIN CRASH, DJ E*ROCK, DJ COPY
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Humans tend to dominate music with our flesh-draped limbs, beating hearts, and you know, souls. While the world of robotic bands is small—Captured by Robots, the Trons, Ke$ha (no way any human would make music like that)—it's growing, most notably with Brooklyn outfit Octant. Octant is the work of one man (Portlander Matthew Steinke) alongside a fully automated robotic backing band of sorts—it's more digital player piano than the flailing arms of the Lost in Space robot. Not entirely a gimmick, Steinke's hushed voice adds a distinctly emotional (read: human) feel, and his surrounding cast of movable parts makes him resemble a heartbroken scientist, playing to an audience of lonely robotic friends. EAC
GLITTER EXPRESS, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, FATHER FIGURE
(Ella Street Social Club, 714 SW 20th Place) Riding the trendy tides of electro-glam with a visceral edginess and decidedly underground feel is Glitter Express. Brought together by likeminded tastes and the majestic forces of Craigslist, the band makes its case for discotheque rock with funky guitar riffs, scintillating hi-hat action, and slinky, distorting synths. At the forefront is the crackling warble and screech of Noelle Magia, who as the veritable spokeswoman for Glitter Express is a vision in nylon, sequins, and other artifice. Songs like "Gay Car Wash" and "Je M'en Bat les Steaks" are fairly indecipherable but give you a general idea—Glitter Express are here to party. Throw on something flashy and join them. MARANDA BISH
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) The problem with being a Michael Jackson look-alike is how can you possibly visually mimic an artist whose very face transformed so drastically (and horrifically) over the course of his life? Scorpio, a Jackson impersonator who is seemingly going to play to an empty Roseland tonight and might not be aware that the real MJ was actually a Virgo, hones in on the Dangerous era of MJ's career, which is the equivalent of being a morbidly obese Marlon Brando impersonator—it works, but it's not exactly the visual nostalgia we were all hoping for. Although, I bet Scorpio can moonwalk like a motherfucker. EAC
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