Kohoutek Reviewed

Pitzer’s mounds were transformed from quiet and relaxing to bustling and loud last weekend, Apr. 24-25 for Kohoutek, its annual music festival. Kohoutek was started in 1973 to celebrate the Kohoutek Comet, discovered in 1973 by Czech astronomer Lubos Kohoutek, and the event honored its origins with a brightly lit comet above the stage.

Pomona’s favorite ska band, the Self Interest Collective, kicked things off on Friday afternoon with their usual fun stylings, melding various influences from Latin to reggae to rock. Next up, Pomona’s Sparagmos played their signature surf-rock. Friday night’s headliners Matt and Kim played a quick, highly energetic set. A supremely charismatic duo from Brooklyn, Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino began playing together in 2004, fusing Kim’s brash punk drumming with Matt’s quirky vocal stylings and growling synth attacks to create unique and infectious dance music. They were incredible live, as their simple, upbeat rhythms got the entire crowd jumping within seconds. They built the set up in a neat arc, increasing the tempo steadily to a hyper pace and bringing it back down just as smoothly. Their witty repetoire was absolutely hilarious, and they both seemed surprised by Kohoutek’s lively atmosphere and enthusiastic crowd. While their short set was over all too quickly, they left the crowd psyched to dance.

Saturday afternoon was much more relaxed. After a set by Atypical Vibe, Jerms (Jeremy Namkung PI ’09) impressed the crowd with his impeccable delivery and hilarious lyrics. Saturday night featured guest funk-band Mandrill, who played a dastardly Latin-influenced set. Mandrill often crosses over into jam-band territory, making them a perfect fit for the easygoing afternoon crowd. Then, L.A.-based hip-hop artist Blu played a great set, followed by headliner Mr. Lif.

Kohoutek made for an exhilarating weekend of fun, great music, and dancing. Several acts expressed genuine admiration and a touch of surprise at the crowd’s enthusiasm. For a college music festival, it was a highly successful event, and its relatively small size (compared to large-scale music festivals) made it a uniquely intimate venue. Everyone in the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves, except perhaps in the impossibly long beverage line; but even then, the overall sentiment was “Whatever man, it’s Kohoutek!”

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