A DRUM BY ANY OTHER NAME Horaflora makes balloons sing
It's 4:30 pm, and Preggy Peggy is playing in the back of the Cambridge YMCA, as part of "We Are Guest Talk, Free: $10," the weirdly named third annual installment of Weirdstalk, an all-day 34-act line-up of experimental, avant-garde performances of folk, noise, psychedelic, and generally mind-expanding, genre-bending touring and local acts.
Preggy — a/k/a. Weirdo Records owner Angela Sawyer — plays a tiny guitar and sings in a quirky falsetto, covering Milo Jones songs, a Bollywood track, a song from an obscure movie soundtrack, and others. The theater is dark, and the crowd sits on the carpet, next to a tent constructed from flowered tapestries and tin foil.
She is the 20th act today, despite the fest only having started at 2 pm. Earlier, groups set up around the room and played an hour of five-minute sets, then an hour of ten-minute sets, eventually building to 15 and 30 minute sets at the end. The fest was curated by Arkm Foam and Kate Lee of the Whitehaus Family Record, featuring mostly groups they met during five months of cross-country touring with their band Peace, Loving last year.
Later, Boston duo Cotton Candy stand on chairs in another corner, whistling, clapping, and snapping through 15 minutes of commercial jingles for Meow Mix, Rollos, and Light Brite, over minimal acoustic guitar.
Next, one member of Northampton's Cave Bears uses his time to recap twelve days of touring, speaking over screeching toy-instrument horror music, recalling the band's stay with "nice hippies in Chicago" and playing a puppet theater in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Other highlights: a trippy monologue performed with a homemade animated video projection by Missouri's Unicorns in the Snow, noisy psychedelia by Brooklyn's Cloud Becomes Your Hand, a heavy set by Baltimore's Nautical Almanac (a noise group from Ann Arbor, Michigan that has been active since 1994), and experimental "singing balloon drums" by San Francisco's Horaflora. In the end, the eight-hour mini-fest weirded out over 120 attendees.