As promised, here’s the story of my awesome experience at Blip Festival 2007. Out of the four days of the event, I attended Friday and Saturday night’s festivities (I had schoolwork on Thursday and Sunday nights). But I still had a great time — the music was pretty cool, and the people were even cooler. Read on, dear friends, for all the details...
The festival was held at Eyebeam Atelier, a large space in West Chelsea on W. 21st Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. When I say “large space”, it’s because the place was rather nondescript — it had a kind of industrial feel to it, with wooden rafters for a ceiling and a catwalk on the right side of the big room where the main event went down. Anyway, I headed down on Friday night, but I thought I’d stop at the Best Buy on 23rd & 6th first, to pick up the new DVD release of the first full-length Futurama feature, Bender’s Big Score. I took a cab over to the place from Best Buy, but when I looked in my pocket for my phone to call a friend before I went in, I realized I didn’t have it with me. So I headed back up to Columbia to go get it — it was probably for the better, because carrying that DVD around all night would’ve been annoying.
By the time I got back there, it was past 10 PM. Anyway, I caught all of Nullsleep, who rocked the house. After him was Virt, who was also good. Hally was on next, and the guy spoke English with an accent that made it really hard to understand him (he looked Asian). His stuff was mostly percussive, which certainly got the crowd jumpin’ and jivin’, but I wasn’t really a fan — I’m more about melody. Anamanaguchi closed out the show, and they were a pretty good band — once they were able to get going. They had a bunch of technical difficulties, as they kept losing power to their mixer. In fact, they had to stop and start at least three times. They put an interesting spin on the standard chiptune: they used the electronic stuff as a backdrop for standard guitar-driven music (they had a lead singer who played guitar, a second guitarist, and a bassist). Overall, it was a good mix. Somehow, I didn’t catch any Destructoid people on Friday night — I was looking, of course, for the big silver helmet, but I didn’t know at the time that Niero’s flight was delayed and he wouldn’t be getting into the city until Saturday. The night ended pretty much exactly at 2 AM, and I simply walked over to 8th Avenue and up to 23rd Street, where I took the C/E train up to 42nd Street and switched to the 1 train all the way back up to Columbia.
I didn’t found out about this until I got there on Friday, but apparently, they had free beer for the half hour before the show started, 7:30-8 PM. So, I had intended to get there before then on Saturday, but I was delayed by some stuff I had to take care of here. It turned out okay, though; I was talking to someone on the beer line, and he mentioned that he got there at 7:30 and had to wait for about 45 minutes to be let in, and he got no free beer. Anyway, I got there around 9:15ish on Saturday night, and soon afterwards, I ran into Colette and our glorious Founder-in-Helmet himself. There were many other Dtoiders around: some editors (Tiff, Topher, and Analog Pidgin), as well as plenty of readers (Phist, velcroman, charliesuh, Buster, and BahamutZero). If I’m forgetting anyone, I apologize.
Saturday featured some great performances as well. I think the first one I saw was Tree Wave, and that was a very solid set of songs. Next up was the guy everyone had been waiting for: Bit Shifter. It was easily the best of the entire weekend for me; I think most of the gang felt the same way. His voice was very hoarse, but as he wasn’t singing, that wasn’t an issue (except during the interstitial speaking segments, which he kept to a minimum). After Bit Shifter was done, the Dtoiders all went outside in the freezing cold for the obligatory on-location photoshoot, and those pictures are below. By the time we headed back in, BSK was already on. They also rocked very hard. After them, a German group, Bodenständig 2000, went on. I couldn’t really get into their stuff — perhaps the whole singing-in-German thing had something to do with it. Overall, I thought the Festival was great, and the best part was how cheap it was, especially for something in New York City. Admission was $10 a day, or $35 for a four-day pass. When I got in, I was totally expecting to pay, like, $8 for a beer or something, but the most expensive drink they had there was Brooklyn Brewery beer for $4 a bottle. Bottles of water and cans of soda were $1! The last time I went to an event that involved multiple musical acts, standing for the duration of the event, and crowd-surfing, I was 16 and it was the Warped Tour; everything there was ridiculously marked up (I think a 20 oz. bottle of soda was $3.50 or something). Being a college student, I love cheap nights out, and the Blip Festival constituted the best value I’ve seen in a long time.
Anyway, it was getting late by the middle of Bodenständig’s gig — around 2 AM — and as I said, no one was really into it, so we all headed out. On the corner of 21st and 10th, Niero suggested that we all get something to eat, so the remaining eight of us (myself, Niero, Colette, Topher, charliesuh, Phist, velcroman, and Buster) went to a diner on the corner of 22nd and 10th. We had to split up; when we came in, I said, “Destructoid is too big for this diner!” So Niero, Colette, velcroman, and I sat at a table, while the other four guys sat in a line at the bar. I had a wonderful time just talking video games with everyone, and as I said on Ron Workman’s blog, it was probably the single greatest night of my life. I was able to scratch one of my life goals off the list (meet Destructoid editors), and talking about video games with people who shared the same passion was a great (and rare, for me) experience. I sincerely hope I can do it again sometime, though I can’t think of any New York-area video game events in the near future. Oh, well...maybe I’ll just have to head out to California or Miami sometime!
Here’s my overall ranking of the performances I saw (and cared about):
1. Bit Shifter
4. Tree Wave
Oh yeah, I should probably provide captions for some of the pictures. Well, let’s see...
— the Indian dude in a red fleece pullover is me
— yes, the metal felt cold on my lips
— the blurry picture with two arms in the air: that’s Topher on the left and Phist on the right; both of them are waving their DSes in the air
— the crowd shot with Niero in the center: that’s Analog Pidgin in the foreground, lit up by my flash
— the shot where the bottom left part of the picture is black: my camera's lens cover was jammed, so only half of it was opening
— Tiff looks tired
— holy crap, I had no idea what the guy under the helmet looked like!
— BahamutZero alerted me to the “STEREOTYPE?” poster in the 8th Ave. C/E subway station...DON’T DO IT, NIERO!