Nicole Delamotte

Weapons of Mass Creation Fest: Music Blogs + Interviews

Written by Nicole Delamotte.

Come see me at WMC Fest 2012! Come see me at WMC Fest 2012!

I was so excited and honored to be asked to be the music blogger for Cleveland’s Weapons of Mass Creation Festival this year! BIG THANKS to Jeff, Jesse, Joseph and Allie who helped me be a part of this great event.

The Fest is coming up this weekend, June 8-10. To purchase tickets, check out the official Weapons of Mass Creation website. You can view the complete event schedule here.

“WMC Fest is a young grassroots movement to inspire and enable the creative mind. Over three days, 1,000+ attendees will descend upon Cleveland to see 20 speakers, 20 designers, and nearly 30 bands. Creative professionals, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, students, and fans will gather to learn, get inspired, collaborate, network and celebrate together.”

A couple excerpts from my interviews:

Cloud Nothings

What began as Dylan Baldi’s solo experimentation in staticy, lo-fi pop-punk created in his parents’ Westlake basement has evolved into a full band whose sonically mature, markedly polished ‘Attack On Memory’ ignited the new year and hailed Cloud Nothings as one of the most vital new acts to watch.

Blueprint

Rarely does an artist emerge with such a skill for cut-throat narrative as Columbus-based Blueprint. While the blurred genres of his production showcase a musician well-versed in decades of influences, his lyricism – anthemic in its angst and finding light in the darkest of places – captures a crucial moment that speaks volumes to a current generation.

Algernon Cadwallader

Deep-rooted in the spirit of DIY, Algernon Cadwallader is a band of three friends from Philadelphia whose raw energy — complex, frenzied and melodic — conjures up the pioneers of ‘90s emo.

Gregory & the Hawk

Returning to the Festival this year, Gregory and the Hawk is New York singer-songwriter Meredith Godreau, whose intimate storytelling is defined by a delicate voice and stark, simple for

Weapons of Mass Creation Benefit Concert Assures Cleveland the Festival is Back in Full Force for a Third Year

Written by Nicole Delamotte.

Published on Digging Pitt

With the constant, almost overwhelming recent press surrounding the idea of entrepreneurial spirit and start ups as the answer to Rust Belt revival, distinguishing genuine passion versus business plans can be a hard sell. The reason Cleveland is sold on WMCF is simple: Finley and his team are fans. In only three years it’s shown Cleveland the power of a small group of people with big ideas about art. And that’s the DIY movement Weapons of Mass Creation has been about all along.

Cleveland is home to plenty of unexpected success stories. Weapons of Mass Creation Festival is not one of them. Backed by one of the city’s savviest design firms, Go Media, the fledgling Midwest showcase of design, art, film and music has had no lack of creative talent, resources and, above all, energy at its disposal. Now in its third year, it’s no surprise WMCF has won the hearts of Cleveland with its ideas about community building through the arts. This June 8-10, the festival will host 20 speakers, 20 designers and more than 30 bands. Highlights include designer Johnny Cupcakes, best-selling author Austin Kleon and Cleveland buzz band Cloud Nothings.

On the same evening as the Rock Hall inductions there's a spirit of art and vitality throughout Cleveland with no exception at the kind of venue that’s been voted Best Hipster Hot Dog Bar. Go Media partner and WMCF founder Jeff Finley seems unassuming in a pair of sneakers, jeans and wiry frames when he takes the stage at Happy Dog to introduce Saturday’s benefit concert. With a laid back demeanor and modesty in his voice, he keeps his comments quick and gracious but not without his goal: bring in more than 1,000 people this year and be the biggest festival of art and music in the region.

Finley’s ambitions come with a boyish smile and excitement. He’s right up front snapping pictures with his phone of every band playing, the festival’s over-sized logo as the back drop. With the constant, almost overwhelming recent press surrounding the idea of entrepreneurial spirit and start ups as the answer to Rust Belt revival, distinguishing genuine passion versus business plans can be a hard sell. The reason Cleveland is sold on WMCF is simple: Finley and his team are fans.

The movement Weapons of Mass Creation Festival is inspiring, or at the very least bringing to light, revolves around a DIY, grassroots, punk inspired culture and most importantly, this idea of being a fan – celebrating and learning from one another. You could hear it in the music this Saturday – the energy of Eddie Doldrum and Indigo Wild, the bittersweet folk of Ashley Brooke Toussant playing a stand-out cover of The Ronnette’s Be My Baby. And when Cherry Cola Champions closed out the night, despite being Kent-based, the sound was so quintessentially Cleveland – heavy and full of reverb -- you weren’t surprised when Champion's vocalist chimed in, “This is my favorite bar in Cleveland, by the way.”

Towards the end of the evening, a first time listener made an innocent side comment about the duo Cherry Cola Champions that inadvertently defined the entire festival up to this point. “They have a big sound, it really fills the room,” she said, “I would have thought there were more people in the band if I couldn’t see them.” While the festival has a dedicated crew of street team members, volunteers and supporters, in only three years it’s shown Cleveland the power of a small group of people with big ideas about art. And that’s the DIY movement Weapons of Mass Creation has been about all along.

More info on Weapons of Mass Creation Festival: http://wmcfest.com/

Zany Umbrella Circus Plans an Evening of Bohemian Folk Artistry for Bal Ingenieux

Written by Nicole Delamotte.

 

Written for IngenuityFest, Bal Ingenieux fundraiser May 4

Ben Sota talks spiritedly in a rapid fire of ideas about Hawaiian culture and couture, “I’ve been thinking of a scene working with Hawaiian recordings, Hawaiian muumuus.” As the artistic director of Zany Umbrella Circus, Sota is plotting out loud for the night his troupe of bohemian acrobats invoke the underground arts culture of the early 1900s Kokoon Arts Club for Ingenuity Cleveland’s Bal Ingenieux masquerade fundraiser.

His costume embellishment brainstorming may owe a small credit to his residence on the island where he studies for his doctorate in between coordinating performances for Zany Umbrella. “The history of Kokoon is really cool and I feel like there’s a big part that’s exotic,” Sota explains. “When I think about what is most modern and most exotic, I think Hawaiian. Most people have no idea how much of an arts and culture scene there is here.”

At Bal Ingenieux, vintage will fuse with technology when the national touring group, versed in the folk artistry of street theatre and whimsical circus kitsch, collaborates with legendary Cleveland DJ Rob Sherwood. While Sota explains these days the group usually performs shows based around a storyline, “eye candy” is how he describes what to expect from Zany Umbrella on May 4. “With Rob contributing sound,” he says, “I think we can provide really strong visuals.”

Although Sota says Zany Umbrella now normally bring their spectacle to stages with little chance for audience interaction, Bal Ingenieux will relive their early years touring across America and performing on the city streets. “A lot will be improv,” Sota says of the “ground-based circus” being created for the evening. “Circus acts will happen in the grand ballroom, but we’re bringing some masks to move through the space as well. If we see people open and generous with their energy we’ll take them into a private area.”

After Bal Ingenieux, Zany Umbrella has shows planned throughout the year at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a tour of New York City boroughs in partnership with the City Parks Foundation and overseas at the Childrens’ Museum of Jordan.