This past weekend White River State Park saw a bit of a 90’s revival with Incubus and Deftones splitting a bill at the Farm Bureau Stage. Although the neü-metal headliners pulled quite a large crowd the real attraction were the openers: Death From Above 1979 and The Bots. DFA had achieved near-legendary status at the time of their break-up in 2006 and when it was announced they would play Indianapolis after re-forming last year a thick cloud of “I’ve been waiting _ number of years to see them!” hit the Internet.
The Bots are a relatively young band compared to DFA, but they matched the veterans’ ferocity note for note. Ripping through a criminally short 15-minute set, brothers Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei showed that their blend of garage-punk and blues can hit just as hard.
Festival season is upon us. People will inevitably trek across the country to see the largest and most well-known festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo in order to have the typical festival experience: seeing most of the bands you want to see from a few hundred yards away, overpaying for beer, and getting a painful tank burn before falling back into your friend’s car for the seven hour drive back home. It’s a long, messy, unpredictable but memorable weekend that’s become quintessential to what summer is all about.
The Pit Stop Festival in Bloomington back in March, however, brought a little intimacy back to that festival feeling. Held over three nights at a handful of local venues, Pit Stop’s goal was simple: “Bloomington isn’t flyover country; it’s where great independent music puts wheels on the ground. Pit Stop is a three-night sprint of live music featuring national, regional & local acts. Like SXSW for the Upland South, catch the best of indie rock, Americana, hip-hop and more as they roll through our town.” It brought a few of the same pitfalls as its larger festival brethren (due to show times I couldn’t see everyone I wanted to see), but it also found a few of the same unmissable draws in its list of headliners and local talent. Even though I was left with the same sense of exhaustion and slight dehydration at the end of Pit Stop that I’ve found myself in at previous festivals, I still had the same thought as I packed up my camera a remembered where I parked: I can’t wait to do this again next year.
The Bishop Bar has been hosting a lot of great shows as of late, one being Ryley Walker’s recent stop a few weeks back. His excellent new release “Primrose Green” came out yesterday on Dead Oceans and is worth your time.
Back in November MOKB photog Doug Fellegy was able to catch Stars and Hey Rosetta! at the Vic in Chicago. Touring their newest album, No One Is Lost, Stars performed a new batch of their electronic-tinged songs to a feverish crowd. The show featured the band’s signature careening call-and-response vocals and danceable rhythms and ended with a sincere Torquil Campbell thanking the crowd for their years of support. Be sure to catch them out on tour throughout 2015.
Fun Fun Fun Fest is fast becoming one of MOKB’s favorite festivals to attend. Every spring, we make our pilgrimage to SXSW for warmer weather, music, and tacos. Slowly, FFFF has become our fall equivalent to bookend our summers. The festival offers so much entertainment with in a relatively small area at Auditorium Shores and you never feel like you are crowded because of excellent scheduling of the stages and artists by the fine folks at Transmission Entertainment. This boutique style festival is a nice alternative to the large festivals that tend to become a chore after the first day, especially with the sweltering summer heat. Not to mention, FFFF brings more to the table for entertainment than just music. There is always an abundance of comedy, wrestling, skate/bike park, art, fashion, and even a mechanical bull (We will neither confirm or deny riding and kicking its’ ass, at least that is how we remember it); plenty to keep you busy as you go from stage to stage.
Photo Credit: Demi Adejuyigbe
Just like last year, adding to the fun was a movie was being filmed throughout the park for an upcoming Tarrence Malick flick (see Val Kilmer with the Black Lips and cutting his own hair here ). We would be remissed if we forget to mention the great food and the beautiful Austin skyline as a backdrop for the festival. We attend several of the larger festivals and have a great time there, but there is something that always feels right about Austin in November. So many great acts to choose from over the three days and we must say there was not we saw that could be characterized as a disappointment. From A$AP Rocky to Run DMC to The Head and the Heart to Real Estate to STRFKR, everyone brought their A game. So much, it became mildly overwhelming. You can check out the pictures and some videos of the several of artists we were able to catch.
Sharon Van Etten and The War On Drugs pulled into Bloomington, IN on a cool April Sunday for their show at Rhino’s. This being the last night of their tour together, both bands were in nostalgically high spirits throughout their sets. They loving teased each other from the stage and muttered inside jokes into the mic like old friends, with Ms. Van Etten even joining The War On Drugs for a killer version of Brothers. The crowd packed around the stage throughout each set, alternating between looks of pure rapture and frantically trying to snap instagram photos.
Ms. Van Etten more than lived up to the flood of praise her live shows and records have garnered over the past few years. She didn’t just perform each of her songs that night, she lived them. Her voice and stage presence were arresting, causing people around me to murmur to one another, “Is she really this good live?” Hell yeah, she is.
Check out the pictures courtesy of Doug Fellegy after the jump…
Heading into Nashville’s Soundland Festival, expectations were low and hopes were high. Soundland organizers are on to something with a new emphasis on quality over quantity. We were seldom torn between two competing shows, all of the venues were close and easy to navigate, PLUS every band we saw was nothing short of inspiring. This new group of young, energetic Nashville creators are breathing substantial live back into the burgeoning rock (read: non-country) scene in Nashville.
My Quick Highlights…
1. Tiger High
We took a flyer on Friday night, not really knowing any of the bands, and went to hang with our good friend Grimey at The Basement. Tiger High took the stage and instantly blew us away. By the end of their 30 minute power set, the parking lot swooned with label reps and media folks wanting to know what the hell just happened. The band is from Memphis, TN and after further investigation, I found that this was only their 6th show ever. I can tell you, this band is going to be on an MOKB Presents show in Indy really soon. Tiger High gets our pick as the best band at the festival.
2. Alabama Shakes
Third Man Records was about to explode when Alabama Shakes took the stage. Not sure what to say here other than it was pretty epic. Soul-infused but very garage. There were A LOT of labels there to see them- was like a feeding frenzy.
3. Andrew Combs
We fell in love with Andrew when he opened our Levi Lowrey in Indianapolis last winter, but seeing him with a full band (backed by Caitlin Rose’s band) was something special. Whiskey-drenched, heartfelt folk twang that will make your momma cry.
4. Caitin Rose
Caitlin’s show had The Basement bursting at the seams. Literally, you could not move. She focused on new material from her forthcoming record on ATO. She has this Drew Berrymore esque cute and beliveable quality makes every song just that much more believable. She is heading out on the road with Hayes Carrl this fall.
5. Foster The People
Delivered a high energy set at the 12th and Porter outdoor stage to close for 1500 raging fans. Start to finish, they lived up to the hype and delivered a dance rock set that would make Cut Copy fans swoon.
6. Anais Mitchell
The day one surprise with the lovely Anais Mitchell who performed at the Station Inn. Acting on a tip from our friends at Thirty Tigers (who have impeccable taste), we fell head over heels in love with her whimsical on-stage personality and and uniquely inspiring folk songs. She gave us a quick 35 minute set of from her latest folk opera Hadestown (which featurse Justin Vernon, Ani DiFranco, and Ben Knox from The Low Anthem.) Additionally, she performed 2 amazing new tracks that will be featured on her forthcoming release, on Thirty Tigers.
7. Ghostland Observatory
Cannery Ballroom maxed out to capacity with a line around the block at 11pm. Ghostland took the stage and delivered a 90 minute explosive set of new material and crowd favorites that inspired pumped fists and glow stick orgies.
I also saw…
Jeff the Brotherhood (rawk!)
Those Darlins (always fun)
Rich Robinson (meh)
Royal Bangs (meh, which was weird as they’re usually great live)
Black Belles (a little over done with the all black witch outfits)