Though upset with myself that I was late to the New Noise Festival event at Muddy Waters on Oct. 18, I walked down Olive Street getting more excited by the music I was already hearing. As I got closer I realized it was a knockoff ‘80s band and once I got to the sound, my senses were overcome with the smell of body odor and mile high hair. Looking frantically for the name of this venue, you can imagine my relief when I realized Muddy Waters was about half a block down. Walking into Muddy Waters, finally, my state of mind completely transformed as I was brought into a tranquil space formed by the sounds of Waterstrider.
One of the first things to catch my attention was the way Brijean Murphy, the group’s percussionist, was moving her hips. She was flowing with the sounds as if they were an ocean and she a delicate Poseidon. This movement followed through with the audience as romantic couples held on to one another, swaying dreamingly, and singles bobbed their heads with the pacing tempo.
It felt as if I was traveling somewhere. At the same time, they sang: “I still remain / I still remain.” Nate Salman, vocals, finished the blood-flowing, foot-stomping song with an apology, “It’s been quite a long day. Had to get it out on that last song.”
After this song, there was an abrupt change, a new destination, somewhere tropical and magical. I felt the shift physically. I looked around and everyone was smiling; these artists had just climaxed and brought everyone with them.
After the set finished there was a warm silence for about two seconds and then applause. People flooded to the bar to stock up on their drinks and as cash register clinks and cigarette smoke filled the air, it felt as if I had just been in a dream. Nate and I spoke for a few minutes and I asked him how fast he believes Waterstrider is going to be successful. He said, “I don’t care,” sincerely and explained all he wants is to create an atmosphere — they sure as hell succeeded.
After the audience was all set on drinks, The Shakers were ready, jumping into a dark and sensual sound, filled with a bit of Elvis and black cat vibes. After they announced multiple times that they were from L.A. in a “don’t judge us” tone, I began to judge them and their sound became background music to me. Then guitarist Chris Lee had a solo and, as one concert-goer said, “murdered it.”
The last band, The Blues and Greys, performed their second show ever and had they not said that, I wouldn’t have known. They had the ladies swimming and the men gazing in desire at Lindsey Ann, the lead vocalist. Her amazing voice and shy demeanor gave her an immediately likeable presence on stage. Their sound was a mixture of Local Natives and College and they had the audience at their fingertips. The Blues and Greys insisted that their numbers were “flow jams” and they asked the audience to dance with one another. This created a blue ambiance, cool, romantic and just fucking happy.
A version of this article appeared on page 8 of the Thursday, October 24, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.