Minglewood fund-raiser loud but entertaining

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//img-3RzjnZ1izu.jpg’, ‘Photo by James Thompson’, ‘Pete Gulatto of Horns & Halos performs at Minglewood July 10.’);

This past weekend, Minglewood gave its space to a Food Not Bombs fund-raiser, hosting two area acts: Terdle Stew and Horns & Halos. I spent more time listening to the latter as the former was so loud, I began fearing the safety of my ears. I guess that high school punk-rock stuff didn’t affect me so much way back when I had purple hair, but it’s a little overwhelming now.

Horns & Halos have only played a few times in Rockford, and were inhibited by the poor sound quality (technical difficulties?), but they were entertaining as always. Pete Gulatto and Brad Peterson (vocals) mix hip-hop with punk and dance hall sounds, creating a stage show verging on the ridiculous side. Although they could have a live band, they opted for pre-recorded beats with Grant Dickinson (a.k.a. “Demus”) on the turn tables. “The kid’s amazing!…a master on the turn tables,” Gulatto gushed enthusiastically when asked about the spinner’s talent, and there’s a lot in that simple comment.

It’s been said that the DJ scene is filled with snobbish cliques and “either-you’re-in-or-out” attitudes, but I have a feeling that Demus is going places, and will cause a forced transcendence in such performance snobbery.

The Horns & Halos sound is superficially poppy; as in, they’re easy to listen to when the mic isn’t on ear-shattering levels and electronic reverb isn’t slapping the listener in the head. However, on closer listen, their lyrics are introspectively morbid, and darkly intellectual. It’s quite a stark contrast from the “Lil’ Pete” I knew back in high school with his two-tone shoes, spiked hair, Ska Against Racism T-shirts, and his punk band, The Singles, that played at HisCup on Friday nights. However, he’s always been into hip-hop, and he’s got a lyrical dexterity for it that makes the audience listen.

Horns & Halos is not above rallying the audience to dance, although it didn’t seem too appropriate in Minglewood’s relaxed atmosphere Saturday night; then again, neither did an out-of-tune punk rock band, but it still happened. That’s the good thing about the little hippie store at 317 W. Jefferson St. anyone can play there and everyone will listen. They don’t allow too much for loitering in the street outside the establishment, as anytime a band is about to perform, a young gentlemen in a goatee pops his head out the door and firmly, but politely, requests that everyone come inside and devote their attention to the music.

Horns & Halos were also selling their new “clothing line,” as they facetiously call the “wife beater” tank tops with stencil work spray painted across the front. The designs are extremely creative, featuring an array of comic book-like drawings and portraits. They comp’d me one for promotion, but unfortunately, it was a little too small to squeeze into with any semblance of decency; however, they would fit well on girls who like that sort of thing.

During the show, the Food Not Bombs crew took donations at the door and handed out free vegetarian potato soup to passers-by and show-goers. It was unclear why they were doing that, exactly, but I didn’t get the chance to talk to any of them long enough to find out. I’m fairly sure their intentions are to talk about peace and, over a bowl of veggie stew, encourage people to not support war . It’s sort of hard to ignore someone who’s just given you a free meal.

You can catch Demus on Wednesday nights at The Bizarro Beat Circus at Kryptonite every now and then, and Horns & Halos promises that they’ll show up some time and flow on the mic. Keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming shows listed in the TRRT Music Calendar. For booking info, call Li’l Pete at 519-0917.

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