Living within walking distance of Fountain Square has a multitude of fringe benefits. In spite of the perpetual threat of rain, the Virginia Avenue Music Festival proceeded in defiance, and if you wanted to partake in a slice of Circle City culture the only prerequisite was being there. Applying my inability to staying still to having an entire city at my disposal, I just had to go into intrepid reporter mode for the sake of opportunity if anything else and had a pretty fucking awesome weekend.
Saturday, May 11th
“Hello, we are Pillars” the band announced just as I had arrived to say hello to the Bazaar-Oh! Vintage crew. After finding a hiding spot that had an undiscovered and awesome graffiti mural, the dulcet tones of the music emanating from the festival’s mainstage were too tempting to stay away from. Having never heard Pillar’s music but being familiar with the name, my knee jerk reaction was that they reminded me of an instrumental Deafheaven. I would say in hindsight that this would be a “yes-and-no” type assessment because while they do press those cacophonous yet peaceful type of buttons that Deafheaven also presses, Pillars is in all honesty on their own wavelength.
Playing a multitude of tracks from their recently released second L.P. CAVUM, Pillars exhibited a lot of class, which I have found is something of a recurring theme in 2019. Even though Pillar’s sound is rooted in the “post” side of things, it was still funny to watch less acquainted passers-by snort their noses at dissident tranquility that Pillars had to offer and their appropriation of one of the city’s main thoroughfares over the ensuing forty-five minutes was impressive.
Sunday, May 12th
True story: discovering that Steed was playing the festival IS the reason why this festival caught my attention. Having previously seen Steed twice this year, they have definitely become one of my favorite local bands due to their ability to be fast as fuck whilst giving metalheads of all varieties something to enjoy.
The persistent and aforementioned threat of rain had scared most festival goers away, especially since Saturday night’s performances had to be canceled. Being a band that had suffered from these cancellations (did I mentioned they were scheduled for two performances?), Steed were making up for lost time, and while a band that could qualify as avant-garde sludge played 100 feet away, Steed took the city and the festival back.
As one of the most majestic views of the Indianapolis skyline loomed in the background, Steed got down and dirty with reliant standbys “Speed, Weed, Steed” and “Trash Life.” In contrast to the pompous reaction of passers-by from Pillar’s performance the previous day, those that did pass by really dug that Steed came to the festival to rock and their performance of new track “12 Steps” was the highlight of the festival. Hell, Steed was the highlight of the festival. Yeah, I said it. Sorry, not sorry.
All photographs by: Tiffany Pierce