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Gov Ball 2024, Day 2: Seasons Don't Fear the Reaper, Nor Do the Wind, or Quarters of Change

Updated: 5 days ago

You could hear a pin drop at the main stage. A small crowd had begun shuffling in, whether knowingly or absentmindedly, densely populating the dust bowl underneath the barricades. It was hardly even 2PM, and most of the audience was already chattering about how long their wait for Sabrina Carpenter was going to be, or whether or not to queue up then for her set 5PM set, playing hours from now on the same stage. An older woman wearing an “I Heart QOC” shirt managed to squeeze herself out of the already sardined crowd, in an attempt to get some breathing room between the sections of the audience that had clearly camped overnight.

"Sometimes we are a little more cowbell!”  (Photo by Mickey Pierre-Louis)

The stage was still empty, with band's videographer scaling the distance back and forth between both sides the stage, already running the angles in his head. For a moment, it seemed Skizzy Mars was going to get all the attention in the 2PM slot, swallowing up anyone passing through to the main stage where Quarters of Change was scheduled. Moments before the screens lit up with the band's logo, the field filled up in a rush, quickly leaving little more than standing room back past the near fence. But there must have been something in the air, the park must have known this would be a set not to skim over, evidenced by their hysteric yodeling when the fellas finally emerged from backstage.

Heavy feedback rattled through the speakers, screeching wildly of guitarist Jasper Harris' Stratocaster, his Hello Kitty pin sparkling in the beating sun, starkly contrasting his black and red shoulder strap. “Yeah!!” Ben Roter bellowed, an intense fire sparking behind his amber Elton John sunglasses the moment his hands grasped the microphone. The crowd began to nod sheepishly along as Attila Anrather, drummer, counted his comrades into their first song, “T Love.”

It was as if they were already playing the encore, Quarts of Change couldn't give a fuck if the crowd was already digging them. They played that song like the crowd had been asking for it all day, complete with Harris and co-guitarist Ben Acker taking every chance to play dual solos as Roter stalked across the stage between them. Feedback rang through the air again, signaling their next song. Harris mouthed 'thank you' into the crowd as they toppled into “Tightrope.”

“Gov Ball, make some fucking noise,” Aker howled. The crowd cried out in kind, the undeniable noise form center stage perfectly tuning with the dissonant mayhem in the Gov Ball dust bowl; magnetizing those already invested and attracting the prying ears still on the fence (literally and figuratively). By the time band reached the second chorus, Roter was already foaming at the mouth, taking only a millisecond to catch breath between “Heaven Bound." He was closely shadowed by their videographer, projecting his camera onto the stage screens; the band appeared as though they'd been pulled straight out of a Duran Duran music video.

QOC was on a mission to make three-measure guitar solos cool again, and based on the stank faces lined along the fencing, I'd say they're on the road to doing just that. But just when you thought these guys couldn't possibly get any cooler, Roter projected out over the amp feedback to bring out a special guest; one Albert Bouchard, founding member and the original drummer of Blue Öyster Cult. Bouchard sauntered on stage and sat himself beside Anrather at a second drum kit (which I truthfully hadn't noticed before), queuing up the cowbell count-in to "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." It was truly a collaboration for the ages, the best guest spot of the weekend, and the heaviest version of (Don't Fear) The Reaper" since Will Ferrel invented the cowbell on Saturday Night Live. As the song came to its end, Bouchard thrashed his kit one last time and stood up, ricocheting his sticks off his tom and exiting. "Sometimes we all need a little more cowbell,” Roter joked.

QOC flew into "Kiwi," looking to put everything they had left into their last two songs. Roter knelt down on all fours for the final slowdown of “Kiwi," raising his head for a final lamenting croon. Anrather, without a second of hesitation, counted them in for “Do or Die," their last song of the day. “Can you feel us?" they screeched out into the park. For five straight minutes, this fearsome foursome pulled out every stop, every trick and every butt-clenching solo their fingers could cobble together. “We are quarters of change, bitch," Roter threw his microphone to the ground. In the final seconds of their set, Harris laid his guitar down, letting the feedback reverberate through the stage to the ground beneath out feet, cloaking their exit farewell in the static wall of sound.

Rob Lucchesi

Quarters of Change


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