Photo Recap: Pit Stop Music Festival

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.

Hiss Golden Messenger

William Tyler

Mike Adams At His Honest Weight




Strong Roots

DJ Spikes

Maps & Atlases

The Alamo Freeze

Words and Photos by Doug Fellegy (via Flickr)

Photo Recap: Ryley Walker at The Bishop

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.

Photos by Doug Fellegy

Via Flickr

Photo Recap: Stars and Hey Rosetta! at The Vic

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.


Hey Rosetta!

(photos via flickr)

Recap : Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012 : November 2nd – 4th : Austin, TX

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.

Photo Credit: Demi Adejuyigbe


Photo Recap : Sharon Van Etten & The War On Drugs : Rhino’s | Bloomington, IN | 4/1/12

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…

Recap : NBN presents SOUNDLAND

MOKB Presents co-Captain, Josh Baker had a chance to attend a couple days of Next Big Nashville’s SOUNDLAND Music Festival last week/end. He fired back some random thoughts on what he saw while he was there. You can see a whole mess of photographs from the festival here.

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…

Tiger High
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.

MP3 : Alabama Shakes – You Ain’t Alone

Alabama Shakes live at Pegasus Records

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.

MP3 : Andrew Combs – The Dark End Of The Street (James Carr cover)

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.

MP3 : Caitlin Rose – Shanghai Cigarettes (live on

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)
Cults (meh)
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)

MOKB + Lollapalooza 2011 : Festival Overview Part 2

First up on our schedule for Saturday was the Walk the Moon, hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, on the Music Unlimited stage. Maybe it’s our Midwestern connection, but we love these kids, and judging by the crowd-induced sing-a-longs, (many also showed up with their faces already painted, a nod to the band’s habit of doing so,) we aren’t the only ones.

Several members from the crazed crowd battled through the barriers to get closer to Death From Above 1979, during their seriously BONKERS set on the Bud Light stage.

Friendly Fires was up next, which required a sweaty hike to the opposite side of the park at the Bud Light stage. Magic must’ve been in the air: a couple got engaged during the opening atmospheric sounds of the band’s set. Don’t worry guys, the sap stopped there. The boys were covered in sweat before they finished their 2nd song, and as someone who has seen them perform at many festivals in the last few year, I can honestly, (and ECSTATICALLY) confirm that they have yet to lose their power of enthralling hundreds of fans, passionately wil’n out in the blistering sun. Between the laughing and smiling they share within the band, and the energy levels that continued to rise and rise until the end of the set, Friendly Fires were absolutely one of the best bands to see all weekend.

Friendly Fires
Edward McFarland, with his curly hair and wild tropical top, (that I want to steal,) unleashed his Mick Jagger swagger in full force on the Bud Light stage.

I decided to see the Black Lips immediately following. Um…I did enjoy parts of their set: their sound wasn’t surprising, as it was practically identical to their recorded sound. Unfortunately, neither was their behavior. Our photog Rubes was vommed on before the first song ended, and although the SECOND band member that followed suit happened to avoid her, it was enough to convince us to give Dom a chance.

Black Lips
Although 2 band members lost their lunches before the end of the first song, electric, hair metal guitar solos and raucous, throaty vocals carried the Black Lips through their late afternoon set on the Playstation Stage.

Dom, the name of the band AND the lead singer, (who I swear I thought was a girl until the very moment he graced the stage :/) is sort of like a nerded-out early 80’s Axl Rose. This is not an insult. I loved watching him slither around the front of the stage, easily navigating his guitar strings and flipping his hair around. He graciously thanked the audience, sincerely exclaiming that they had never played to such a large crowd. I’m a sucker for gratitude, so I stayed and jammed to ‘Jesus Hail Satan,’ ‘Bochica,’ and ‘Living in America.’

Dom frontman ‘Dom’ expressed his gratitude to what he described as the largest crowd they’d ever played for, performing a energetically sweet, simple and fun set full of gospel-inspired keyboards and sentimental, nasally vocals.

I’ve seen Mayer Hawthorne & the County a handful of times, but I honestly could not resist seeing him woo his wanna-be baby mama’s on the Sony stage. His powerful falsetto glazed everyone over, but I got a little superstitious when the County twinkled into ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ as the Chicago sky became gray and overcast. Luckily they switched gears to my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE COVER EVER, ‘Work to Do.’ Swoon city, population: bazillion.

The Drums played soon after on the Google+ stage. Blonde babyfacer and singer Jonathan Pierce ALWAYS reminds me of Karate Kid bad boy ‘Johnny Lawrence,’ but it’s forgivable. In fact, I kinda like it, as he portrays a flexible robot that is programmed to move to each beat of song. They played a new one, ‘Money,’ and I was quite appreciative of their ability to maintain the nostalgic sound quality that the band is well-known for, while keeping me interested in what is to come.

Vocal rainbows reminiscent of early Scott Walker arced over the sweaty crowd as the Drums graced us with a set of all things ethereal, swanky, beached out and grunge.

Mick Jones and Big Audio Dynamite were incredibly memorable on the Music Unlimited Stage. I don’t know about you guy, but getting to see a Clash member perform with his more than decent band is a life moment. The cameras zoomed in, displaying the intensity in his eyes and the jagged perfection of his movements.

Changing the pace entirely, I went to see Local Natives on the Sony stage, and depressingly I found myself surrounded by kids, (seriously, as in under 18-ers,) all missing shoes, all covered in mud and ick from the morning’s showers. I do understand the allure of this band: they’re young, they’re insanely talented musicians and vocalists, and they really have the folky oh’s and ah’s down. But after getting swarmed by their filth-covered super fans, I decided to see what Cee-Lo Green had to offer back at the Music Unlimited stage.

Local Natives
Local Natives played to PACKED, ecstatic crowd on the Sony stage, stompin and yellin and honky-tonkin their way through a set of folk-based rock reminiscent of a modern-day Fleetwood Mac.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t much. Although it wasn’t hard to bob along to his cover of the Violent Femmes’ ‘Gone Daddy Gone,’ or the electric mash-up of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’/Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ the only other highlights were his recycling of Gnarls Barkley hits and his bizarro spiky leather football player shoulder pads.

Finally we found our way to the Google+ stage for Lykke Li. As this was one of the most anticipated sets of the day, I was bummed to find the photo pit overflowing. However, I should have known better. Never one to be told no, Rachel Rubes was soon seen elevating above the other photogs, clambering up the barriers to snap some awesome shots of indie rock’s dark angel. The set was slow and steady, building the anticipation with her mild, 50’s sounding love songs, before pulling her crowd down the rabbit hole, as the sun faded and the heat of the day finally began to recede.

Lykke Li
Lykke Li hypnotized her audience with a steady set of throbbing bass, pulsing beats, and her angelic, alto purr.

[photos by Rachel Rubes | post by Jess Bonkers]

READ MORE : MOKB + Lollapalooza 2011 : Festival Overview Part 2

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