The Travers Brothership, Nick and the Babes, The Dapper Conspiracy played Local Band Local Beer this week. If you’re unfamiliar with LBLB it’s an event put on each week, by 88.1 WKNC and Younger Brother Production at The Pourhouse, on Thursday. This weeks LBLB was up there with the best I’ve been to. The Travers Brothership, who I got to see for the first time at Shakori Hills this past spring, made the evening with their funk n’ soul rock n’ roll. The 7 peice band from Asheville was whittled down to only four for this show, but that didn’t stop them from putting on a killer show. What struck me most about the band was how clean and percise each individual part was. Every note and beat was in the right place without sacrificing that sexy smooth funk vibe. I actualy hadn’t planned on shooting that night, but got so excited during the show I had to bike home and grab my camera. The band hit us with several killer solos. Kyle Travers at one point crushed a solo out with one hand that blew me away, while other times he was shredding without a pick. Then Josh Clark gave us a lesson in funk slapping out some fat bass solos. He even stole the show for a song with some of the best soul vocals I’ve heard in the song “Hold My Name.” Seriously check it out on Spotify and then go hear him sing it sometime.
Sunday night Ruby Deluxe put on a post punk show featuring two local bands and a third band, Natural Velvet, on an album release tour from Baltimore. If you missed the show don’t worry, these bands are three more reasons to get excited for Hopscotch this September, as they all have been booked. Jenny Besetzt, all the way from Chapel Hill, closed out the night. Their sound is both fluid and layered, with songs you can easily get lost in. Their drummer, Thomas McNeely, keeps up an impressive cadence that manages to stay balanced with the calm flow of the melodies. Konvoi the second NC band, coming down the mountains from Asheville, opened up the night with a high energy. In the middle we heard Natural Velvet on tour for the release of there new album Mirror to Make You. Corynne Ostermann, the band’s front woman, and her vocal range gave them a unique sound. Since the show I came across a music video Natural Velvet put out entitled Its All Mine. The production of their videos stood out to me and I enjoyed them enough that I figured I should post a link. I hope you enjoy it along with a few photos I took of the night.
Featured Image – Sean Bos of Konvoi
Preceding Moogfest 2017, we heard a lot of whispering that the lineup seemed less than enthusing. With 2016 headliners like Grimes, Odesza, GZA, Explosions in the Sky, Gary Numan, and Blood Orange, Moogfest 2017 had a reputation to live up to. At first glance, we can all agree that the lineup didn’t seem nearly as stacked, but look a little deeper and this lineup had a completely different agenda that was intentionally more curated toward a movement that focuses on the future of music– and not just the way we listen to music, create music, and absorb music. Moogfest took it a step further this year, with a purposeful lineup equipped with more POC and women than Steep In has ever seen in a festival lineup. Moogfest 2017 was pure art, soul, and imagination–with every single artist bringing out a new way of expressing. This weekend illustrated the utter importance of music with purpose, music with movement, and music with a reach beyond the stars. We were proud to be there and hope to see you next year! Check out some of the amazing acts we saw below(Photos by Julia Conlon & Missy Malouff):
We went from the wettest possible Shakori Hills to perhaps the driest Shakori ever. After the incessant downpour that Hurricane Matthew brought to the festival last fall, Shakori Hills was in need of some good weather. That seemed to be a tall order for the festival, but the stars were aligned for an unprecedentedly dry Shakori. The only real rain we got this year was late Thursday night – just enough to quench Shakori’s usually insatiable thirst. This allowed for a good-sized crowd to show up on Saturday and for the festival to begin to make up for its losses last fall. Fortunately, the love found at the Grassroots Festival isn’t dependent on rain to blossom. The festival was full of the cheer and warmth of spirit I have grown accustomed to over the years. As crowds swelled and the forest grew dense with tents on Saturday, the sense of community only grew stronger.
As always at Shakori Hills, among the numerous performances it was easy to find music for everyone – no matter what you fancy. Of course, if you wanted to jam to the bouncing of the accordion for hours every night Donna the Buffalo had your back, and if you wanted psychedelic space rap Telekinetic Walrus was there to take you away. One of my favorite local acts, Ellis Dyson & the Shambles, shook the dust off the dance tent on Thursday with their own special blend of jazz and Appalachian mountain music. The saxophonist, Danny Abrams, and fiddle player, Johnathan Ng, had some fun with mockingbird-style trade offs, mimicking one another’s melodies. Later that night, we were graced with the presence of Durham’s future mayor, Pierce Freelon, leading The Beast in a hip hop/jazz set focused on love and freedom.
During the beautifully dry days, kicking back at one of the main stages and letting the sounds of one of the international bands wash over you while soaking up the rays was definitely the right call. FABI was one such act. An Afro/Latino groove band from Mexico, they popped up all over the three different days of the festival to jam. Muningu, an Afro-fusion jazz band also played the Meadow Stage on Sunday morning.
Shakori Hills always seems to remind me of the simple joys of life. I feel like a child again, playing with bubbles and running about the woods with little to worry about. Its easy to fall in love with an event where grown-ups are more preoccupied with blowing bubbles and dancing than what is happening in the “twitter-sphere.” Rain or shine, smiles abound. If life was a little more like Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, there would be far fewer problems in the world.
Future Islands hosted, not one night but four nights, in celebration of the release of “The Far Field” in their home city, Baltimore. I’m so proud to see this band get the recognition they have fought for. And I’m even more proud to see them represent and support artists from North Carolina and Baltimore (my two favorite places). Art is meant to be a community, it’s meant to be celebrated, and it’s meant to be shared. I’m so glad to witness successful artists living up to that standard. Here’s some pictures from the night. Baltimore’s own, 83cutlass and Drew Scott (my personal favorite beat maker ever), and Jenny Besetzt (the drums in this band are the dopedy dope thanks to Thomas McNeely) shared the stage with Future Islands. Give it up to all my favorites
Purchase “The Far Field” and other Future Islands merch here!!
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival (May 4th- May 7th) is right around the corner! With only 1 month away, you can still purchase discounted tickets HERE!
This years lineup will be featuring North Carolina’s favorite, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, who you will also see at Shaky Knees, Hangout, and Bonnaroo! Go North Carolina! As usual, the festival will feature 4 stages, with another 50+ bands. Additionally, there will be children’s activities, yoga, vendors, amazing food, and of course MUD! We recommend bringing comfortable shoes and proper rain gear. Remember, Shakori is a family friendly festival, so please be sure to bring something to conceal your alcoholic beverages and drink responsibly. Children 12 and under must me accompanied by an adult.
In order to get the full Shakori experience, we suggest camping. You are welcome to tent camp, RV camp, or car camp. Keep in mind, camping is first come first serve and space fills up fast. See details for camping HERE!
Below you will see the schedule. Peace and Happy Shakori!
Blush + Brews is a free monthly dance party that takes place at the Crown (Red Room). Last night, Gusher, Ace Manual, Movakween, and Native Sun took the stage. What separates Blush + Brews from any other curated event is an awareness of community and a motivation to put together an interdisciplinary lineup of artists, bringing together a diverse crowd full of positivity and a thirst for art (and alcohol). Below is a photo gallery of last night shenanigans: