Music Review - Original Synths

Saturday Night 11.10 - Echosynthetic Fest 2018: Part Three

Part three of a three-part seriesEchosynthetic Fest 2018 - Unholy Rat King. . . and, boy, did the lineup on Saturday night ever deliver.

From the very moment the stage darkened, we stood transfixed.  Anticipation practically dripped from the ceiling.  The audience was charged-up and anxious.  We were about to witness chiptune history.  THE Unholy Rat King, making his live debut, was standing in front of us: the plague bringer himself had arrived.  And, with a fury unseen before, his electronic music began and the crowd simply lost it. 

Whipped into a frenzy by the head-spinning rotation of “Radwagon”, Unholy Rat King was everywhere on the stage.  He was hardcore headbanging as his spreading of the synthplague splattered everyone.  No person was left untouched by the sick beats he delivered during his performance.

His thoughts after the night says it all, “it was cool to see people coming from all over to play and hang out. It was really cool to split the fest into two nights. This gave folks more time to check some of the local things out and helped keep the show nights manageable. Obviously, I was insanely honored to come down and play but I was sad that was due to my friends not being able to make it down. This whole festival is a testament to the hard work James put into this, and the love he has for this scene. I am going to keep coming as long as I can.” 

“it was cool to see people coming from all over to play and hang out. It was really cool to split the fest into two nights. This gave folks more time to check some of the local things out and helped keep the show nights manageable. Obviously, I was insanely honored to come down and play but I was sad that was due to my friends not being able to make it down. This whole festival is a testament to the hard work James put into this, and the love he has for this scene. I am going to keep coming as long as I can.” 

Unholy Rat King

To begin with this performance definitely set the energized mood of the night.  Because the paranoid X-Filing of Acid Gambit was next.  With large screens highlighting the science fiction mood of Acid Gambit’s tight beats and eerie grooves, the crowd embraced the drive-in horror nostalgia factor with the right attitude; cheers were offered up as his name lit up the screen.  There were even inflatable aliens being bounced around while Acid Gambit explored the heaviness of his government conspiracy-filled songs. Acid Gambit

If I did have a tinfoil hat on hand, I would have proudly put it on. Because we ALL wanted to believe by the end of his heavy set.

But the chugging guitars of Elay Arson would have knocked it off.  Holy hell, with slinging guitars and a metal-minded attitude, the push and pull of their heart pounding set delivered punch after punch of darksynth metal.  There was no stopping their onslaught of metallic tasting industrial-infused jams.Elay Arson - Echosynthetic Fest 2018

The crowd answered the call of bloodlust with headbanging and raised fists.  And then, as the recognizable extra depth of Led Zeppelin’s introduction to “Immigrant Song” kicked in, I realized we were getting treated to their take on the classic song with pre-recorded vocals from Becca Starr.  The crowd, once they recognized the vocals, completely lost it and the face-melting soldiered on from Elay Arson.

Intradevil - Echosynthetic Fest 2018The goth rave would soon continue, though, as Los Angeles’ own Indradevi took the stage after a few short moments.  The southeast Asian vibes of this darksynth duo were fully on display, ratcheting up both the sound and the visuals of the vibe of the night.  Cambodian synth-pop with chugging guitar?  Yes, please!  And the performance from this duo was top notch.  They opened with the theme song from Unsolved Mysteries, putting their own spooky spin on it, but soon enough, the Earl was filled with their haunting “Idols” as they tore through their latest release.

With the crowd still reeling, Street Sects started.  What happened next was a blinding texture to the evening that few, outside of a grinning James Mitchell, were expecting. The blinding burn of white lights. The in-your-face vocals. The wig.  The chainsaw. You name it and Street Sects brought it with raucous charm. Street Sects - Echosynthetic Fest 2018

The audience appeared to freak at first as their abrasive sound melded into a melodic lift that accompanied the flashing of powerful lights at the audience, but the raw anger in the performance soon took root.  Their latest release, “The Kicking Mule” was the primary source for the material performed and the crowd, those still standing, simply soaked in the progressive, sample-based electronic punk as it reached into the dark beyond. . .

Gregorio Franco - Echosynthetic Fest 2018. . . and brought out the closing performance of Gregorio Franco.  As a headliner, Gregorio Franco simply slays all memory of what came before.  His performance, full of headbanging tracks and even tastier drops, are sonically challenging metal-minded songs that pull us straight into the void itself.  The darksynth that was on display on Saturday night had him moving around the stage, pacing as the slabs of sinister synthwave charged forth from the speakers.  The audience responded with cheers as the aggressive sounds, both haunting and fierce, struck us all in the face. 

Gregorio Franco - Echosynthetic Fest 2018And then, with a heart full of thanks to the crowd, the performers, and the fans, he ended the evening with a speech that was full of gratitude and praise.  Because, even that audience, is a part of this synthfam.  Darksynth.  Industrial.  Synth-pop. Synthwave. Dreamwave. And whatnot.  We were all welcome at EchoFest.  As Watch Out For Snakes put it, “Echosynthetic's assortment of different electronic musicians pretty clearly sends the message that it's silly to get bogged down in detailed genre definitions. We're all just electronic musicians who enjoy creating good tunes and EchoFest very much celebrated that.”

“Echosynthetic's assortment of different electronic musicians pretty clearly sends the message that it's silly to get bogged down in detailed genre definitions. We're all just electronic musicians who enjoy creating good tunes and EchoFest very much celebrated that.”

Watch Our For Snakes

And just like that the magic was over.  We were turned to stardust and, as the bands packed and loaded to head to the next gig or their home, there was another round of hugs and high-fives. Synthfam had come through again: EchoFest, for another year, was in the books.

For me, Atlanta’s biggest electronic festival was a two-night blast of sound, vision, and glorious people.  Mitchell explains it best, “the true story of the Second Annual Echosynthetic Fest is one of friendship and family. This festival wouldn't have happened without the love, help, and care of those around me. This started at home, with my wife Bonnie being a constant source of support, even when things were so close to unravelling. Beyond her, this festival wouldn't have been possible without Watch Out For Snakes, Gregorio Franco, and Acid Gambit, who really went above and beyond for me this year.”

“the true story of the Second Annual Echosynthetic Fest is one of friendship and family. This festival wouldn't have happened without the love, help, and care of those around me. This started at home, with my wife Bonnie being a constant source of support, even when things were so close to unravelling. Beyond her, this festival wouldn't have been possible without Watch Out For Snakes, Gregorio Franco, and Acid Gambit, who really went above and beyond for me this year.”

James Mitchell

There is a chemistry here; a vibe that transcends region and label. The artists who performed and the people that put the event together – including Damon at Triple D's – do it out of sheer love for the music, the scene, and the people involved.  I felt it and I am a nobody from Kansas who merely reviews trashy genre films for Reel Reviews and awesome synthwave music for Original Synths.  There are lessons here for me and for you; this event is a family affair.  Mitchell continues, because putting year two of EchoFest together “taught me a very valuable lesson, because I'm notorious for trying to do everything myself. Lesson one, I can't do this on my own. Lesson two, I have friends that transcend the music, the writing, and the scene itself.”

And those friends, James, will always be there for you.  Synth ON!  And, hopefully, I will see you next year!

Gregorio Franco - Echosynthetic Fest 2018


 The Warm Up - Echosynthetic Fest 2018: Part One

Saturday Night 11.10 - Echosynthetic Fest 2018: Part Two

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