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Autumn Fest Blitz Continues 

Plus, looking for blood money

At last Saturday's annual International Festival at UNC-Charlotte, held in and around that school's Halton Arena, I noticed a lot of people referring to the event as "IFEST." I wonder if Steve Jobs and the Apple legal department have gotten wind of this? In any case, it was fun.

What began its life as a tiny, students-only event has become one of the larger and more enjoyable festivals around. Basically, students and representatives from participating countries offered a history lesson, and, of course, the chance to purchase some art or trinkets. Iraq was notably absent from the festival, but rumor had it that it had something to do with the fact that the country had been leveled in the White House's search for Texas Tea. Many of the outside tables served food, and the combined vapors combined to make a sort of universal food aroma -- it smelled like something, you just weren't sure what.

I thought it was a great idea to also feature a Native America booth. It can't hurt, as you learn about foreign countries and sample their food and culture, to reflect that, when you get right down to it, the United States is a foreign country to everyone except Native Americans.

France had a booth at the event, and the table seemed to receive moderate attention from festival-goers. Interestingly, their table was located directly beside that of the Model UN. Unfortunately, the Model UN got about as much attention as our government gives the real one.

I wanted to go inside the festival's huge inflatable walk-in globe, but, after careful consideration, decided against it (this was after they swore to me it wasn't filled with molten lava). First I noticed that the line was mostly comprised of kids 12 and under. Secondly, you had to take your shoes off. In deference to our nation's youth, I decided to spare them the spectre of my dogs sans shoes and socks. The more I thought about it, the more I'd visualize headlines like "Chemical Attack Dazes Students at Festival" and "WMDs Finally Found," and decided we get enough bad press as it is.

Friday evening, Tremont Music Hall hosted the band Cursive, along with opening acts Fin Fang Foom, Eastern Youth and The Blood Brothers. Upon arriving at the venue, I went to see if Cursive's publicity firm, Nasty Little Man, had put me on "the list." The nice lady at the door asked my name and I told her, and we both looked down to a copy of the Loaf opened up to this very column. "Sometimes I think you say it perfectly, and other times I want to wring your neck," she said, or something along those lines. I said I thought she was probably the perfect reader, and we chatted for a few more seconds. As I was leaving, she said to "write good things about the show." (She mentioned nothing about meta-style references to herself reading the column in the column, and I needed to hit the restroom so I hurried along.)She needn't have worried. Arriving late, I missed Fin Fang Foom and Eastern Youth. The latter really grated on my nerves, as I've been rocking the Toyko-based indie/emo band's disc ever since I received it awhile back.

I did attempt to do my part and buy some concert schwag, however. Call it mercy shopping. Touring bands need you to buy CDs and T-shirts and the like so they make money on their tours, and that's because they need gas money back to Atlanta or Richmond. These guys have to pay their way back to freakin' Japan, for crying out loud. As I purchased a T-shirt, I noticed a hand-lettered sign beside the band's CDs informing potential buyers that, and I quote, "Lyrics is Japanese." They sure are.

Cursive were their usual right-on selves, and their Cure-tinged, heavy cello-driven rock really hit the spot. However, I was most intrigued by the band The Blood Brothers, whose songs conjure up a mess of tension with atonal chords and increasing tempo and then inevitably climax when the band's two lead screamers (er, singers) go apeshit with all sorts of primal screaming and jumping around. Folks either love or hate The Blood Brothers after about, oh, 20 seconds.

I dig them, for instance. Not everyone agrees, however. Another concertgoer told me they sounded like kids with a little too much pent-up sexual energy, and so they jumped around like Tasmanian Devils because they didn't know what to do with themselves. I told him I thought he was wrong, and that furthermore I bet they got laid tonight. If anyone knows anyone in The Blood Brothers and can check on this, contact me at the paper. I stand to make some "blood money" of my own. Thanks.

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