In its third year, Manifest is once again offering a bold and diverse lineup of bands and artists, highlighting the many femme, trans, and non-binary folks making music today, yet underrepresented in most music festivals. It is anti-corporate, features 25 bands, and runs for two days starting Friday.
As a proud media sponsor for Manifest III, Unsweetened Magazine will feature short interviews with bands from this year’s lineup to give you, the Manifest Music Festival lover, all of the more reasons to see all of the artists performing.
Sidewalk Furniture is a nerd punk trio born in Raleigh, and they are exactly who they are, including Star Trek aficionados, playing music in a forest, with beautifully weird lyrics like “Kill me slowly/Nothing low key/I don’t want a Red Shirt Death.” I’m not sure what I’d do if I missed this folks. They kick off the lineup at the Cave on Friday at 9pm, followed by Cosmic Punk, Wednesday, and Fruit Snack. Check out Sidewalk Furniture’s video for “RED SHIRT DEATH” below.
Shante – guitar, she/her
Shelby – bass, she/her
Riley – drums/vox, they/them
Who are you and where are you from?
We’re Sidewalk Furniture! We are three best friends who met at NC State. We say our band is from Raleigh because that’s where it was born, but Shante and Shelby are from Goldsboro and Riley is from Charlotte. Now we live in Raleigh, Cary and Durham respectively.
How would you describe your music?
We call it nerd punk. We have drums, electric guitar, and bass, and we play fast, angry music. We sing songs about the stuff that we think is interesting or funny, whether that’s anarchist culture, Star Trek, burning bras, or Stranger Things. Musically we’ve been influenced a lot by the Riot Grrrl sound. Our guitarist Shante started out in metal, and she brings that sound in. Our songwriting is kind of in the folk tradition. Lyrics are really important to us, and we try to write songs with a story to them.
Describe your first show.
Our first show was . . . a little disheartening. It was a house show that some friends of ours put on, but none of us really knew how to promote a show, so literally nobody showed up. The touring band didn’t even get there until like an hour after it was supposed to start.
Your last show?
The last show we played was at the Wicked Witch in Raleigh with [SiTH] Clan, a local nerdy hip hop group, and Crunk Witch, a husband/wife electronic music duo. We hadn’t seen either of them live before and they were SO GOOD. Imagine your World of Warcraft raiding party decided to start a rap group. It was the most uplifting shit we’ve ever seen. And Crunk Witch was just on another level when it came to production values.
Also one of Shante’s guitar strings went out of tune mid-song, which was a little unfortunate, but so it goes.
What do you have coming up?
We are playing the Durham Beat’s Monthly Market on November 4th! We are about halfway done shooting a music video for our song “Walkie Talkie,” which is an architecture-themed gay love story. And we are going to be releasing an album of demos on our Bandcamp soon.
What are a few things you’d like everyone to know about your music or the future of your band?
We are looking for a drummer! Riley wants to be able to jump around and move more, and you can’t do that while drumming AND singing. Know any nerdy punk drummers?
Who are you looking forward to seeing at Manifest III?
SHELBY FINALLY GETS TO SEE PIE FACE GIRLS. Our bassist is in love with Pie Face Girls.
The whole lineup is great. Bangzz gets better every time we see them. (Erika is the deity who put this all together with her sweat and probably ten million booking emails.) We are excited to be sharing a bill with our buds Cosmic Punk (“i’m not that into you, it’s just a habit”) and Fruit Snack (“puppies nine one one!”) Riley is excited about Diaspoura and Girl Werewolf.
Why do you love/hate the South?
Shelby: I hate the weather.
Riley: I love living in a place where talking to strangers is normal.
Shante: I hate how hard it is to find a job as a person of color with average college grades. That seems to be basically a death sentence here. I love everything else about living here.
What is the last goddamn thing the South needs more of?
When is the revolution? Will it be bloody or bloodless?
There are revolutions all the time. They are all different. There will never be one final revolution, so change what you can change. We are always working on ourselves.
*photos provided by Sidewalk Furniture