No Lack of Variety at Pitzer’s 2016 Kohoutek Festival

If I’m being brutally honest, I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly psyched for this weekend’s Kohoutek Music Festival at Pitzer College. But then again, I only really feel that way since I’m still coming down from last week’s rather wicked iteration of Nochella, which ended in a boisterous crowd storming the stage following Isaiah Rashad’s set.

And of course, there’s something to be said for the value that Kohoutek’s booking crew places on variety. Across two days and nearly 20 acts, there should be a little something for everyone, to the point where it’s a bit overwhelming to pick everything apart. Here’s a short list of my personal faves, organized by set time.

La Luz  Friday 8:20 p.m. – 9:20 p.m.

A perennial favorite over at KSPC, this Seattle surf quartet relocated to LA at the beginning of this year, a move that felt like a long time coming. Compatriots with Ty Segall and Shannon and the Clams, their retro brand of pop is a staple in Burger Records’ festival lineups. A little psychedelic, a little lo-fi, and extremely catchy, they’ll be the perfect vibe as the sun finally sets on Friday.

The Funk Ark Friday 11:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.

I’m distinctly not the target demographic for the Funk Ark. Led by a former member of Thievery Corporation (the band almost solely responsible for modern conceptions of boring lounge music), they make the kind of wanky instrumental funk music that typically has me running the opposite direction as fast as I can. Frankly, though, their live sets actually look rather sick, and they’re exactly the sort of act that sounds awful on paper but then goes off at Kohoutek. There’s always a couple acts like that every year, and if watching a bunch of skilled jazz musicians demolish a crowd sounds like a good time to you, you’d be silly to miss this one.

Hot Flash Heat Wave — Saturday 5:10 p.m. – 5:55 p.m.

Do you remember 2009? Hot Flash Heat Wave certainly does. They unironically list their genre as “ganja gaze” on Facebook, and their bio even explicitly admits their love of chillwave. This San Francisco garage outfit definitely isn’t concerned with reinventing the wheel, but when you’ve got a knack for hooks like this, that’s not actually a problem. If you’re into Surfer Blood, bad album art, and sweaty afternoons, you’re in for a real treat. Their 2015 record, Neapolitan, is free on Bandcamp and chock-full of low-slung summertime bangers.

Princess Nokia  Saturday 9:40 p.m. – 10:40 p.m.

Without a doubt my pick of the whole lineup, Brooklyn-based artist Princess Nokia (also known as both Wavy Spice and Destiny) makes self-described “high-tech fairy girl music.” She went semi-viral back in 2012 with “Bitch, I’m Posh,” which, along with Mykki Blanco, Le1f, and Azealia Banks’ “212,” was foundational for that brief era in which music writers thought it was chill to define a strand of rap by its relation to queerness. Since then, though, she’s flown in and out of the public eye under a number of aliases, mostly recently dropping the funky, disco-influenced Honeysuckle under the name Destiny. I was actually under the impression that she had dropped the explicitly cyberpunk leanings of the Princess Nokia project, so seeing her name on the lineup was a pleasant surprise. Just check her Metallic Butterfly tape for a taste of her versatility, alternating between groovy R&B and vintage rave breaks on a dime. Should be one sick set.

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