My itch for visceral musical experiences that don’t involve amplification or electricity or recording technology or guitars got a great big ol’ scratch this weekend at the Honk! festival. I can’t even try to explain what the whole Honk! thing is about, so if you want words, you should check out their website.

What Cheer? Monkey

Terri astutely pointed out that this is the only thing we’ve ever seen in the United States that approaches what the street festivals we’ve been to in Barcelona are like. There are probably more differences than similarities, and La Merce is on a much bigger scale and there are more different kinds of things going on. But they both are sort of these autumn things that happen in the street, where there’s drumming and dancing, where there’s no performer/audience split— everybody is a participant. They’re both sort of modern expressions of something much more primal.

Original Big Seven Social Aid & Pleasure Society (with members of other bands)

As far as I know, while there are over a dozen bands like this in the country, it’s the only festival of its kind. It’s definitely one of those things that make me happy to be living in Somerville.

What Cheer? Brigade

I shot some video. It’s crappy, but it’s slightly better than the photos for giving you the flavor. It’s still nothing like being live in the middle of a dozen people all playing REALLY LOUD instruments.