By Aaron Vidal
As one half of the buzz-inducing indie pop act Cults, Brian Oblivion has toured extensively since the success of the group’s debut self-titled album in 2011. A barometer of accomplishment for every traveling musician, Oblivion has managed to play a show in every state in the U.S., except for one: South Dakota. That, however, will soon change when Cults plays the Saturday headlining slot at the 5th Annual 605 Summer Classic.
This year, the two-day music festival will take place on June 21 and 22 (a Friday and Saturday, respectively) from 6-11:30 p.m. in downtown Sioux Falls. Cults will be one of 10 musical acts set to entertain audiences, and Oblivion is certainly excited about the prospect.
“Shane Stoneback, who has coproduced and recorded both our records, grew up in Mitchell. We’ve heard so many stories about it, it feels like we lived there too,” he said. “We’re gonna try and get out to the Corn Palace if we have time.”
Multi-instrumentalist Oblivion formed Cults with vocalist and then-girlfriend Madeline Follin in New York City back in 2010. The blending of Follin’s wistful voice and Oblivion’s lush, nostalgic guitar and synth tones immediately struck a chord with listeners and critics. Now touring in support of their second LP, Static, the group’s warm, shoegaze-inspired sound has taken a slight turn towards darker, more aggressive sonic textures in light of the duo’s romantic breakup.
“I think the change [in sound] grows out of having more experience playing live, and writing the kind of songs that are fun to play in front of people. All the drums on the previous record were sequenced on a computer, and this time around we worked with a bunch of great New York players. Drums are the only instrument I don’t play on the records so I’m kind of obsessed with them,” said Oblivion. “As far as the vibe, I think it’s kind of a companion piece to the first one. Light and dark, that sort of thing.”
Fresh off a tour with indie-rock icons The Pixies (“They’ve been my favorite band for as long as I can remember, and hanging out with them blew my mind,” Oblivion said on the experience. “The drummer Dave [Lovering] showed us a different magic trick every night.”), Cult’s performance at the Summer Classic will surely be another landmark in a great year for the group.
But before Cults take the stage for their premier slot, Friday’s headliner will be the massively successful rapper T-Pain. Known for his pioneering use of auto-tune as an aesthetic trapping (rather than a technical crutch), this Grammy-winning artist is sure to turn the venue into a dance floor with his slow-burning club-thumpers, including hits such as 2007’s “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’).” Plus, anyone who’s been on a boat with The Lonely Island surely knows how to entertain.