My, oh my… things really got going on the festival’s second day, and reminded me why this has become my favorite week of the year.
Liz Cooper & the Stampede (Main Stage)
We got some straight up rock and roll grooves to open up the main stage festivities. Liz can shred, and spent most of the last ten minutes of the set either knelt down or laying on the stage while shredding her ass off. She seemed reluctant for songs to end, continuing to strum and play with knobs and manipulating notes to the point of total fuzzy feedback (reminiscent of my man Neil when he performs with Crazy Horse). Homeboy on the bass carried the mail throughout, while she did her thing. This was a fun one and a band to check out if they make it back.
The Suffers (Main Stage)
This jazzy cumbia-pop octet from Houston provided some funky jams and got some asses shaking, once they took the stage that is. They were introduced by Mayor Dave Bieter who was heckled loudly and profanely by several crowd members. Say what you want about the man (and I would say mostly nice things, personally), he may not be an excellent public speaker but he got through it and kept a smile on his face like a champ.
Built To Spill (Main Stage)
Sir Doug Martsch and a new cast of characters took us into the twilight hours with a set that satisfied, but didn’t knock it out of the park. The man of the hour, complete with his trademark bedhead hair and T-shirt look (this time, a Paulette for Governor special), seemed a bit disinterested. The set was heavy with Keep It Like A Secret-era indie-rock gold, which makes sense as he gets ready to embark on a nationwide tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of that classic.
His band on this night was a new one, straight from Brazil, and they were fine but not particularly noteworthy. And, yes, the drummer was indeed barefoot – always a personal favorite. In the end, seeing BTS live and up close is always entertaining, but for anyone who saw them for the first time at this set, I would encourage another viewing of this greatness. Spoiler alert: the Sunday night festival-closing Olympic set was far superior (and featured yet another new backing band).
When Not Being Stupid Is Not Enough
Kicked It in the Sun
In the Morning
Harborcoat (R.E.M. cover)
Carry the Zero
Spotify setlist playlist link: https://open.spotify.com/user/1217400912/playlist/0JTvbCK5NhagN3j8P9iUVo?si=xz5-o4IDQZ6mJlZXncKZ0g
After BTS, while Black Mountain was getting set up, a massive insect joined the crowd. Guess he was filling in for the giant gorilla of years past. Good times!
Black Mountain (Main Stage)
This psych/prog/rawk quintet from British Columbia was my most highly anticipated band of the festival, after seeing them at Neurolux in 2016. Well, friends, they sure didn’t disappoint me or the crew I convinced to come check them out. Holy shit- that mix of ever=present keyboards, shifting structures, face-melting riffage from guitar master Stephen McBean, and lovely backing vocals from the unbelievably sexy Amber Webber was the highlight of this night, by far.
It’s a shame they only had 70 minutes, but they made the most of them, starting with the 9-minute hypnotic and whiplash inducing “Mothers of the Sun” and concluding with their equally lengthy spaced out gem “Space to Bakersfield”. They covered lots of rock ground in between, check this setlist playlist out for proof.
Mothers of the Sun
Florian Saucer Attack
Queens Will Play
Space to Bakersfield
Spotify setlist playlist link: https://open.spotify.com/user/1217400912/playlist/52AJ8XajXSbyLhYu44KPaw?si=CWcaZ0MTTq6ZSNNCVzedvA
Night Beats (El Korah)
Myth of a Man, their most recent release, opened my eyes to this band from Texas. While that Dan Auerbach produced album is rock, it is saturated in beats and 70s era vibes. This live show was much heavier and guitar-oriented (three guitars, to be exact) than I had expected, not that I am complaining. The floor of this old beauty of a venue felt as if it might give way, but we didn’t care at that point.
When they came out for soundcheck and setup, my buddy commented that they looked like vampires. With the drummer’s puffy white shirt, and the other members dark clothes and ominous quasi-cowboy hats, he wasn’t far off. Imagine the chuckling when two songs in, they asked for the lights to be turned down, only to ask repeatedly for them to be turned down ever more. Maybe you had to be there… maybe you had to be drunk. I don’t know…
Joshy Soul (The Olympic)
Before they were tabbed to fill in for a cancelled main stage set, these cats delighted at Olympic – I only caught the end of it, but it was a blast. Lots of horns, keyboards, and soul for days. Yes, it was packed – note the weird side angle shot, this was as close as I could get to the stage. Their cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel” was a sure crowd pleaser.
Hillstomp (Humpin Hannah’s)
This backwoods-inspired folk duo is incredibly aptly named. I was recommended to go check them out, dragged several inebriated compatriots with me, and then danced our asses off to a raucous combo of stompy-funk and old Irish drinking songs. Complete with a killer drum kit that included a plastic five gallon bucket, some spoons, washboard, and even a partial House of Pain cover, this was a hoot and a half.