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[7.16.13] Stereofly Summertime Picnic Party at Conundrum

What Cheer? Brigade

Anyone who’s ever planned a show knows that creating a buzz about the event is key in getting people motivated to attend. For tonight’s event, Stereofly probably could’ve generated all the buzz they needed just by booking an out-of-control 19-piece marching band – but they didn’t stop there. Toss in a local album release, a powerful Atlanta rock group, an of Montreal side project, a couple food carts, and you have a serious party with buzz to spare. Then, put that entire hodgepodge of musical energy in the area’s smallest true venue and you conjure images of mass chaos, feelings of claustrophobia and premonitions of severe butt sweat in the mind of anyone reading the event description.

That’s the Stereofly Summertime Picnic Party tonight at Conundrum Music Hall, and if it doesn’t have buzz, I don’t know what the fuck buzz is.

Honestly, my lack of understanding as to how this event is going to go down is a big reason why I’m so excited about it. What Cheer? Brigade, the aforementioned nutzo marching band, is way too big to fit inside Conundrum alongside a crowd, so I’m guessing they’ll be performing outside (to better understand their craziness, watch this video). But then what happens after that? Will the crowd go inside for the rest of the bands? Will those bands just play outside too? Will Conundrum abide by its less-than-100 person capacity rules if part of the show isn’t happening in the building? I’m confused for sure, but in a way that makes me want to answer my questions by going to see for myself how it unfolds.

After What Cheer? Brigade, Athens’ Yip Deceiver takes the stage (or careful arrangement of crates in the parking lot; again, I have no idea). of Montreal members Davey Pierce and Nicolas Dobbratz trade psychedelic indie rock weirdness for synth and beats weirdness here, with electric piano and searing synth creating infectious dance numbers akin to cuts from Toro y Moi’s “Freaking Out” EP. Check out this ridiculous video for their single, “Get Strict,” featuring a hot chick in a Storm Trooper helmet, a thick girl in all ’80s attire makin’ dat booty clap, an epic fight between Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the incomparable Reggie Watts.

Atlanta’s Ponderosa is probably my favorite band of the past four months, or so. Their latest album, “Pool Party,” features songs that blend lush harmonies and guitar arrangements with gritty grooves, all tied together by atmospheric production that verges on lo-fi but still sounds modern and professional. I’ve often seen them tagged with the “Southern rock” label, but don’t think it fits them exactly. While some songs, “Black Hill Smoke” most notably, have an underlying shuffle and a bit of twang, the record as a whole shows influences from multiple points within the rock gamut, making the final product into a well-rounded indie rock release. “Navajo” is my go to track, featuring a pounding rhythm section and fairly haunting chorus vocals.

Last, and in no way least, is sandcastles., the night’s headliner. Bakari Lebby and company’s performance serves as the christening for their first LP, tantrums, which is available on a pay-what-you-want basis on their Bandcamp site. Lebby’s no stranger to the role of front man (he was half of local rap duo Sweet Vans), and any party featuring a performance of his is sure to get a bit raucous. This is definitely a good thing. (For a full review of sandcastles. new album, check out Pedro’s article on it).

Again, I am baffled by how all of these acts, not to mention copious amounts of meat from Wurst Wagon and Joe Turkaly, are going to happen in conjunction. If it all goes off without a hitch, it’ll be a marvel of planning and professionalism likely unrivaled at any Columbia show or venue for quite some time. If it delves into madness and chaos, I’m sure it’ll still be a damn good time. See you there.


What Cheer? Brigade – 7:30 p.m.

Yip Deceiver – 8:45 p.m.

Ponderosa – 10 p.m.

sandcastles. – 11:15 p.m.

Doors at 6 p.m. Cover is $7.

Conundrum is located at 626 Meeting St. in West Columbia. For more information on the show or the venue, visit or email them at

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