The Big Top

July 06, 2005

There was a yellow school bus parked outside The Big Top Wednesday afternoon. It's taking ten bands and 34 people from Plan It X Records on a Punk tour around the country.

The record label from Bloomington, IN, is a benefit label that donates money to the Pages to Prisoners Project. According to Plan It X Records, "the Pages to Prisoners Project exists to promote reading, self-education, social equality, and social welfare through increased accessibility to literature and workshops--and the promotion of a community to support these projects." So, the gist is that prisoners can request certain reading material for no charge. On the sidewalk outside The Big Top one of a few booths was manned by bus-goers present to educate concert-goers about the project.

The Plan It X Fest, which showcased twelve bands, was organized by local concert producer Bryan Funk. Thanks to Funk, local punk group Ghostwood got on the bill, and they went on first at 6. About a hundred or so young people huddled in front of Ghostwood. They played in front of the back wall, which was a great idea. It may take more time to clear things out of The Big Top beforehand this way, but the floor-as-stage set-up gave Ghostwood more room than if they had been in the box/stage at stage left.

Billy, Jonathan, James, and Andy played relentless poppy Punk Rock. They mixed the self-aware stupidity and harder side of Blink 182 mixed with the self-righteousness of Fugazi. Ghostwood had dumb lyrics: "Tonight, we're gonna get fu---- up!" And they also had thoughtful material about divorce: "I wish you were all here right now/Families sing along/I'm probably right, but I hope to God I'm wrong."

Ghostwood played barely better than average two minute punk songs. They played about ten songs in twenty minutes. They were tight, and they weren't messing around. No gimmicks.

Ghostwood's guitars created a wall of sound. Pieces of a melody could be barely picked out through the rumble by a brain and pieced together. The guitars were dark most of the time, but they could get sunshiny every once and a while. The guitars dictated the pace. The beat was moderate(unfortunately, the kick drum was non-existent), but if it had been more driving, the band probably would have been Thrash.

Most of the Pop materialized through the great harmonies created by the two guitarists. The harmonies made Ghostwood's sharp sound more accessible.

Unfortunately, Ghostwood lacked originality. They had the normal super low-end punk bass sound. They had the normal menacing spit-screams of adversity that didn't change in tone. They had the normal "whoah-a-whoah's."

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