REVIEW: Lawnya Vawnya (April 21)

Festival goers and organizers watch Lawnya Vawnya dance into the past as acclaimed DJ Kid Koala throws crowd into a clapping, laughing, crowd-surfing frenzy.

The show is over, the work week begins, and a few thoughts from last night’s closing set manage to work their way in amongst others – those day-after ones full of cobwebs and cotton. I was at The Rock House last night for the final night of Lawnya Vawnya, which would explain this headache. Three bands performed as the bar slowly accumulated witnesses.

The local nervous-rock band George Nervous Four opened the night with a loose, jangly punk set. Due to operator error, I arrived too late really hear these guys, but it sounded fun by second-hand account.

Halifax garage-rock “power” duo Cousins continued the night. Described as “bare-bones”, Leigh Dotey and Aaron Mangle delivered their version of raucous rock that almost managed to not sound like the White Stripes. The Rock House was made for this sound though and people had that dance floor packed. They played loose and fun and filled the house with energy. They clearly enjoy performing and I hope they can continue to grow and they manage to make it back to St. John’s.

Oh yeah, Kid Koala performed too. That was fun. Okay, it was the one show I was seriously stoked to take in this year. He said he had a piece of equipment that wasn’t working, so he wasn’t able to perform any of the 12-bit tracks, but the crowd was a forgiving lot tonight and let him try out some new things.

Koala, whose real name is Eric San, had a projector with a live feed camera angled over the turntables that brought the audience that much closer to the performance. It was a really effective way to show us what he was doing and to bring that improvisational element to the fore since you could see his hands work. San seemed to be really enjoying himself, throwing his head back to laugh at a particularly tasty transition, an attitude that was infectious. The packed Rock House was ecstatic at each transition too, yelling and clapping and laughing as if at the end of a solo. There was even the odd brave soul who decided to try crowd surfing, with mixed results.

Lawnya Vawnya a wrap

This is a festival at a critical juncture. Three years in and they’ve already established themselves as a spring rite. If they can manage to keep up the balance of music I heard over the weekend, St. John’s will soon wonder what spring was like pre-Lawnya Vawnya. There was such an array of sounds that it’s becoming simply a celebration of music, of talent, of locals, mainlanders, foreigners, and the growth of art. With (quite literally) something for everyone, I discovered new music I never would have found on my own, met people I never would have met, and stayed up way later than I would on my own. So thanks, Lawnya Vawnya.

Lawnya Vawnya organizers (L-R): Mathias Kom, Bryan Power, Ariel Sharratt, Andrea Vincent, David Lander. Photo by Graham Kennedy.
“That’s all folks.” Lawnya Vawnya organizers (L-R): Mathias Kom, Bryan Power, Ariel Sharratt, Andrea Vincent, David Lander bid farewell to Lawnya Vawnya III. Photo by Graham Kennedy.

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