"Our music ranges among a bunch of different styles and aesthetics, so we wanted to get as much diversity on the bill as possible," says Birth saxophonist Joshua Smith, explaining the origins of the fest, which kicks off this Friday at the Beachland Ballroom. "It's all instrumental stuff, but within that, some of the bands are a little more rockin'; some are a lot more cerebral and hit that other end of what Birth does. It's a way of connecting all these different worlds."
With Birth headlining both nights, the fest will also feature a pair of math-rock up-and-comers on Friday: Rochester, New York changelings the Jersey Band will open the fest, followed by New York City's invigorating, dense Friendly Bears, who blend trumpet, guitar, baritone guitar, and drumset into a wayward sound equally indebted to Shudder to Think and Dave Douglas. Saturday night features jazz great Joe Maneri, a legend in challenging, experimental jazz, along with renowned drummer and envelope-pusher John Hollenbeck. Local ambient-electronic threesome 9 Volt Haunted House will also perform.