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August 21, 2014

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Why the scene loves Neon Reverb, warts and all

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Bill Hughes

VHS or Beta at the Junkyard

A lot went awry during the latest edition of Downtown music and arts festival Neon Reverb. One headliner walked offstage without playing. Another was cut off by a curfew. And the weekend’s biggest show got moved to an unfamiliar venue, two days out.

In a weird way, that’s the beauty of Neon Reverb, the gritty, little DIY fest that could. If you need set times that tick like a metronome, look elsewhere. But if you’re cool showing up to see one act, only to find another playing in its place, hang around—you just might bump into your new favorite band.

Neon Reverb’s eighth edition overcame its usual array of unexpected challenges—not least of all the launch of a new music festival the very same weekend—to produce its usual array of musical and visual highlights. White Orange blowing out eardrums inside Beauty Bar. The Knew rolling out serious fog at the Bunkhouse. Kid Meets Cougar projecting colors around the Junkyard. Three Bad Jacks setting fire to their freaking drums.

Folks who didn’t see a single one of those sets still likely went home happy, a tribute to the sweat and soul Neon Reverb’s unpaid organizers pour into their twice-annual gathering. It ain’t always pretty, but it always feels good. –Spencer Patterson

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