Electric Company

The Melodica Festival returns with music to quicken the pulse and blow your mind

Friday night also witnesses the return of the Falcon Project. Dover and fellow Falcon brainchild Sean Kirkpatrick have been besotted with releasing two solid albums that are always better reflections of what the band was, not where it's at. Consistent lineup changes always seem to happen right after albums are recorded. Last year's Lights! Karma! Action! was a commendably bluesy noise affair, but nowhere near as volatile as the band had become. Dover and Kirkpatrick were joined by drummer G.P. Cole--whose previous stint in Transona Five never revealed the thunderous tumult the man can pound--and bassist Ian Hamilton, who became the tight rhythm section that Dover and Kirkpatrick have always required. And now--after a four-month hiatus that was necessary, Dover says, because the band was falling to pieces--the Falcon is arisen, joined by Pinkston's guitar maestro Ean Parsons, whose considerable chops will finally have a setting in which to go wild. Today's Falcon Project is brash, cocky and, when in the mood, totally wired.

But the killer draw this year are Dutch veterans the Ex. Formed in 1979, this five-piece has taken punk's anarchist aesthetic into a world-carousing music carnival. This year's Touch and Go release, Dizzy Spells, continues its ongoing intertwining of a global leftist spirit with grinding guitars and constantly time-changing rhythmic textures. It's also one of the best live bands on the planet. If Fugazi, Shellac or the Mekons have done it for you in the past, don't miss the Ex. The Ex intertwine punk, noise and free jazz into a political call-to-arms that's not only rabble-rousing, but one of the most eye-popping displays of ensemble dynamics you'll ever witness.

And that's the entire point. The vibe at Melodica festivals aims for the chill feeling that pervades better-known psych fests like Terrastock. And while Melodica 2001 may not be as insanely impressive as the mind fuck Sonic Youth has lined up for the first American installment of All Tomorrow's Parties in Los Angeles this October, nothing like it will hit North Texas until Dover gets gently coerced into drumming up another night of sheer ear bliss.

Line starts to the left: Dutch vets the Ex bring their rabble-rousing punk to the Melodica Festival this weekend.
Line starts to the left: Dutch vets the Ex bring their rabble-rousing punk to the Melodica Festival this weekend.

"The main thing is everybody has a good time every year," Dover says. "I remember when I was living in Wichita Falls and I came down here for the Independent Music Festival and saw Daniel Johnson and Brutal Juice and Steel Pole Bathtub and the Pain Teens and Drive Like Jehu and Loudspeaker and the Iowa Beef Experience. And it totally blew my socks off, and it was totally worth it. Melodica does that for some young people. Without fail somebody comes up to me after a show and says, 'That was one of the best weekends I've ever had in my life.' I've gotten that consistently, and that's what's most important."

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