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November 10th, 2008
Oxblood Festival rocks Halloween

The fourth-annual Oxblood Masquerade Music and Arts Festival was held Halloween weekend at The Ball Farm in Lytton Springs. Featuring over thirty musical acts from the Austin and San Marcos area, the festival included two stages, food, beer, face painting, merchandise booths and a display of art done on site by local artists. Studio art major at Texas State University Matthew Peirson was among several of the artists who partook in the creating process. ìI really like that I can sit here, do some art and listen to all the great music, said Peirson. “It’s a pretty cool deal”The event which promoted free onsite camping allowed patrons to bring their own food and beer into the campsite but not onto festival grounds. This, as well as the fact that one could hear the music perfectly from their tent discouraged many attendees from even entering the main grounds. “Why go inside and pay three dollars for a beer, when you can sit around the campfire and hear the music perfectly”, said attendee Aron Williams.

The festival kicked off Halloween at 5 p.m with San Marcos/Austin indie band the Colour Wheel saw a less than expected turnout all weekend long. Lack of attendance was due to poor advertising according to inside sources. ìI think the organizers may have overestimated their attendance, although Iím having a great time. The music is awesome, food is good and the people here are real chill,î said festival attendee Racheal Ridderhoff. ìIím really glad I decided to do this than go to 6th Street.

Local San Marcos hip-hop group, Word Association took stage at 6:30 on the solar power away stage with only three of its ten person lineup due to other engagements. Another San Marcos hip-hop group Heroes, played an hour after at the Home Stage. The group consisting of six members performed to a slightly larger crowd. Clad in Mayan God attire the lead singer sang songs about truth, life, partying and woman. The Heroes style is classifiable as psychedelic jam rap contrived mostly of heavy bass lines, ripping guitar, dirty lyrics and cleaver rhymes.

Experimental rock gospel-esque group The River Hymn celebrated their CD release at the festival. Comparable to a more soulful Beth Gibbons (lead singer of British trip hop group Portishead), singer Morgan Bierleinís vocals were complemented nicely by penetrating bass riffs, mesmerizing guitar and rhythm drums. The hour long set was ended with a cover of “I Want You (Sheís So Heavy)” by The Beatles.

The evening was concluded by self-proclaimed ‘Dirty Old One Man Band’ Austin blues musician Scott Biram on the main stage. Biriam, who once played a show with two broken legs, a broken foot, a broken arm and a dangling I.V. a month after a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler played until midnight. His rye soaked vocals and rolling guitar riffs had the audience dancing for a little more than an hour. Austin resident Lacey Griffin expressed her “I really like Scott Biram. I saw him at Hole in the Wall a while back and he puts on a great show, I’m glad that he’s here at Oxblood,” said Griffin.

San Marcos blues jam band Earle Brown allowed campers to sleep in until noon when they began their hour long set on Saturday. The six-piece band made up of Evan Styles on vocals and keyboard, Jeff Mills on drums, Mick McGuiness on backup vocals and guitar, Scott Morgan on backup vocals and percussion, Dan Irwin on bass and Chris Blacon on backup vocals and guitar have been playing live for less than three months. Sounding like a mix of the Black Keys and San Francisco rock quartet Tea Leaf Green, the band’s sound undeniably left fans longing for more. Following Earle Brown was San Marcos blues rock band Three Leaf. The band which consists of Chris Brennand on vocals and guitar, Kent Chandler on bass, Zac Catanzaro on drums and Jared White on banjo put forth an energetic performance that prompted some serious hula-hooping and dancing.

Other acts that graced the stages Saturday afternoon included progressive folk band Blue Hit, Kallisti Gold, jamband Spank, psychedelic funk band Funkotron, Muchos Backflips, and bluegrass sound Green Mountain Grass.

Several highlight acts of the evening were Henry and the Invisibles, a one man funk band which looped live recorded samples of different instruments into a collaborated end result and Bavu Blakes & the Extra Plairs, a soulful Texas hip-hop group whose audience interaction caught the attention of many passersby. Austin based funk band Brownout!, made up majority of Latin dance band Grupo Fantasma members closed the festival’s second night.
Indie San Marcos group The Olive Street Band, who’s sound was reminiscent of Bright Eyes Connor Oberst and the Counting Crows, began the third day bright and early at 11:45 a.m. Americana group Our Favorite Colors, a trio consisting of Ashleigh Stone, Jason Wilkinson and David Whitbeck on upright bass followed on the same stage .

Other acts of the day included Albaine Fallette, Clay Nightingale, and Live Oak Decline. Austin blues headliner Guy Forsyth was cut from the bill at the last minute due to the dwindling attendees at the festival. Despite the cut San Marcos resident and attendee Matt Schuster said he loved his first year Oxblood Experience. “It’s been a great time—I’m definitely coming back next year,” said Schuster. “With good live music, good food, and good company, who needs anything else”

by Ashley Cass
News Section Editor

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