Distortion Fest : Pop Crooners Stuck in Heaven

The High Dials. Distortion Fest. Photo Jean Marc M'Bahia The High Dials. Distortion Fest. Photo Jean Marc M'Bahia

Text by Reda Sounni

Walking along the rainy streets, blaring sounds that bore a strong resemblance to static were eventually heard coming out of a small and discreet stairwell where two young men were smoking cigarettes, seemingly oblivious to the loud noises which could be heard from upstairs. Scanning the area, looking for the Distortion festival where the show would be taking place (Tonnes, Technical Kidman, I.D.A.L.G., The High Dials), my eyes eventually make out the pale numbers that formed the address of the run-down building that was to be the home of the various bands that were to make their mark that night.

I make my way across the street and step inside of the event. Taken aback by the heat that has formed inside the old wooden space, I immediately scan the room and notice that the crowd is quite older than I am (late ‘20s, early ‘30s). Confused by where to go, I present myself to a man who seemed to be running around while working the bar and ask to meet the organizers of the event.

I am then introduced to Marilyn and Max, who were coordinating the events. Warm and inviting, Max explains to me that the festival is the first of its kind. After sharing a drink with him, I position myself on a couch at the side of the stage and wait for the music to commence. The first band (Tonnes) arrives and right away, their music sends the growing crowd into a trance-like status where all of their attention is riveted towards the artists presenting their work for the crowd’s – and theirs – pleasure. Offering impressive musical work (the melodies were a sound to behold), the band made up for their lack of showmanship with the two charming voices of the lead singer and his bandmate, a short-haired lady whose screams during the first song added such a romantic effect that I had become completely mesmerized by the performance being put forth in front of my eyes. The following bands, each in their own manner, offered an impressive mixture of pop and psychedelic tracks that made for a fine, fine evening along with the G&Ts.

Technical Kidman. Distortion Festival. Matahari Loft. Photo Jean Marc M'Bahia

Technical Kidman. Distortion Festival. Matahari Loft. Photo Jean Marc M’Bahia

The crowd, which was becoming livelier as the evening went by, gave a warm reception to each of the acts and each member of the various bands seemed to feed off the energy of the crowd, which in turn, seemed to able them to perform with a more organic and free-flowing spirit. While there were certain images on the screen that seemed unfit for the event (images of rioting crowds during a particularly heavy song from Tonnes seemed a little contrived), the evening was filled with charming and truthful moments of artistic expressions that make this festival a success, one that will hopefully continue for years to come.

The High Dials. Distortion Fest. Photo Jean Marc M'Bahia

The High Dials. Distortion Fest. Photo Jean Marc M’Bahia

The High Dials. Distortion Fest. Photo Jean Marc M'Bahia

The High Dials. Distortion Fest. Photo Jean Marc M’Bahia

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