I walked into Shipping and Receiving (201 S Calhoun St., 817-887-9313) Saturday afternoon for Wizardvizion’s Summerthon just in time to see a guy named Charlie sporting a Fozzie Bear tattoo on his chest win the Speedo contest. Shortly after that, all of the girls who entered the bikini contest were declared winners and got free drinks and Jello shots. Oh, America and your participation prizes. A large above-ground pool was set up on S&R’s spacious patio and party people jumped in and out of it, tossing beach balls, floating on noodles, and squirting anyone who attempted to remain dry. Water balloons flew freely, and everyone took turns taking photos on a jet ski. “This is as close to MTV Beach House 1995 as Fort Worth will ever get,” a friend remarked.
The bill for Summerthon featured a variety of artists from hip-hopper Topic to hard rock act Duell to Squanto’s electronic chaotic sounds. Wizardvizion is a local record label co-founded by long time friends Jordan “Jorts” Richardson and Fort Worth Weekly scribe Steve “Hellabad” Steward. The two also work to promote local music by throwing events like Summerthon that you wouldn’t experience at your everyday show.
After the winners of the flesh contests were announced Duell launched into its set. Upon first look you’d expect Duell to be all guitar rock. The five-piece stoner rock band has three guitarists, but the propulsive blast from their rhythm section kept the group grounded on the low end. Duell is a mix of grunge reminiscent of early Nirvana and combustible hard rock along the lines of Queens of the Stone Age. They had the crowd in front of the stage nodding along with them while the kids in the pool got a little rowdy with their squirt guns.
Sam Lao took the party in a different direction with her sultry performance. Lao is a seductive singer and precise rapper, and her show is a carefully choreographed. She managed to mesmerize both the hip-hop and rock crowds, pulling everyone into her groove.
It was already a strange scene, but the wonderfully bizarre Squanto ratcheted up the strange factor to the nth degree. Though I couldn’t really understand the vocals, I got the message. His glitchy beats, chaotic samples, and intense layers of schizo-noise art would give Aphex Twin a panic attack.
Bummer Vacation is the band that most belongs an actual pool party. The catchy, melodic rock quartet purveys simple and sometimes sloppy synth riffage. I’ve seen this band a handful of times and often find their performance to be inconsistent, with some songs soaring straight to the crowd’s hips and others flailing like a wounded animal. However, I was impressed with their performance Saturday. The foursome keeps getting tighter and they seem to thrive in fun, party environments. They were definitely not a bummer to watch.
I don’t listen to a ton of rap music, but I thoroughly enjoyed Blue, The Misfit’s performance. The guy looked like he was having the time of his life bouncing around on stage to the beat as he delivered his rhymes. Like Lao, Blue also sang a bit after excusing himself for being a shower-singer –– it was way better than my shower singing. Anything that he may have lacked in crooning ability he more than made up for with his charismatic energy and overall presence. At the end of his set he leapt down from the stage and jumped around with the audience while spitting his final verses. The crowd ate it up.
Wizardvizion’s co–wizard masters Richardson and Steward took the stage with the other members of Son of Stan to end the night. The four-piece delivered a sloppy, fun, high-energy set of infectious pop melodies that occupy the strange space between edgy, fuzzed-out indie pop and John Hughes-era ’80s anthems. By the time they played “Loseyomind,” the Weekly’s rock song of the year, I’m pretty sure the minds of the crowd were already gone, but the dancing continued all night.