SoundLand – Days 3 & 4

Day 3 of SoundLand began way too late for me.  I had every intention of rolling in right at the start of the evening’s music calendar.  Ah….. life, you have a way of screwing up some great times for me.

The evening began at the Cannery stage where Jason Isbell bored me to sleep.  Thank the high heavens there was something going on upstairs at Mercy Lounge.  So, I eased on up to see The Silver Seas rocking it out with a mix of original material and covers, including “Sweet Emotion”.  They are a Nashville quartet that brings a lot of poppy energy into their music.  It was okay.  I wouldn’t not see them again.  Is that a compliment?

Back down stairs to see Justin Townes Earle.  It was my first time seeing the Nashville to New York transplant, and I understand why he gets the publicity that he does.  It’s solid sounding old-timey music with updated lyrical content.  You can here the years of struggle that he has overcome in the songs he sings.  I needed more of a pick-me-up at this point though, and it wasn’t really doing it for me.

The Nashville-based rockers, The Ettes, were warming it up over at The Basement when I arrived.  It’s an in your face chick rock experience, and it was the highlight of the night.  Though, maybe it was the collective booziness of the late night crowd, perhaps it was the out of the way location (The Basement being the furthest away of all the SoundLand night time venues), or perhaps I was just tired….. but, they couldn’t keep me up until the end of the set.  I stayed for about half of it before retiring for the night.  I’d definitely be excited to see them again under more solo circumstances.

The final day of SoundLand was laid out to be a true 12-hour test of musical endurance with shows kicking off at the Neuhoff Factory Party Stage at 2pm.  I missed the Royal Bangs (who I did want to see).  I arrived in the middle of a sweet set by Jessica Lea Mayfield, and the night was just to head up from here.

Mayfield was followed up by one of my highlights of the entire festival, The Apache Relay.  It was a show that was packed with energy.  I guess this little blurb is the best way to describe their musical meldings… “…there was something about the musicality that everyone brought to the table that just worked right off the bat. Mixed in is a Bad Brains bumper sticker, a bit of Suzuki training, jazz lessons, a lot of Beatles listening, knowledge of traditional mountain music, a worship of Phil Spector and the love for the complex but accessible layers of bands like the Arcade Fire.”  I was glad I finally had the opportunity to see them (I missed their Bonnaroo set).  I will definitely  be on the lookout for these Nashvillians playing around town when they are finished with their impressive festival run this year.

Rising songstress Tristen rolled out next (sporting a new hairdo), and she did not disappoint.  Though slightly overwhelmed by the Apache Relay set that just happened.  She held her own as rain sputtered off and on during her set.  At this point, the crowd was committed to the afternoon, and it was a pleasure to see her again.

The Black Belles just cracked me up in a good way.  I missed the show at the Basement a couple of weeks ago, and I was interested to see what the Jack White molded witches could brew up for the festival.  The costumes are so odd for a festival like this.  I mean, it is weird to see these witches smoking cigarettes by a porta-potty backstage, and to see them hanging out in the crowd afterwards still in costume.  That being said, it was a great high energy performance by some super youngsters that have only played out a couple of times.  You could tell they were still working out their stage show, but it was nonetheless very enjoyable.

Those Darlins’ took the stage next, and the collective rock n’ roll power meter continued to rise.  The southern fried power pop was something to behold, and these gals definitely know what it means to entertain.  I guess that is to be expected as they have been in the media radar for quite some time now.  My only complaint at this point of the night is that I was ready to move.  I really enjoyed running around from venue to venue trying to make my festival what it was.  I enjoyed the challenge, and at this point, I was just standing in a concrete factory yard.  It’s kind of like a Friday night when you’re tired but you want to go out.  You’ll probably pull it off just fine if you just go out immediately…. but, if you sit down for 20 minutes before hand, you’re probably done for the night.  Well, I was feeling that way…. at least, until The “Bogus Bros” took over.

JEFF The Brotherood is just so much damn fun.  Their ability to fill a concretey warehouse parking lot void with that much sound using only three strings and a couple of drums is just amazing.  While Jamin looked slightly hammered, he didn’t miss a beat, and it seemed to have Jake more focused than ever to absolutely kill it up there.  Within seconds of playing, the stage barriers were pushed out of the way.  The crowd was pressed against the stage, bodies were surfing over my head, and a general pandemonium ensued.  The brothers slathered us with licks for the next hour, and highlighted it all with a regularly scheduled crowd-surfing guitar solo by Jake.  I’m not sure how many more sounds those guys can get out of so little instrumentation and a few pedals, so it is hard to imagine their sound evolving too much more.  But, everything we have heard so far is just bad ass, and the live show is a party….. everytime.

That was all she wrote for me.  By the time I walked back downtown from Neuhoff, I was tired and tipsy.  I tried to get some caffeine and keep my rock n’ roll going…. but I sat down a little too long.  sigh.  Until next year, SoundLand.  Thanks for the fun memories.

Highlight of the last two days:  Watching a doting mother of a Black Belle being a very proud mother.  She was on the front row.  She was taking pictures (that you know she just couldn’t wait to put on Facebook).  She was buying singles at the Third Man Records Rolling Record Store.  She was hugging afterwards.  She was bringing her daughter a jacket from the car.  She was just so proud.  And, you could almost see the exasperated body language of this young Belle saying “MOOOOOOM, I’m fine.  Can you please just go!”  haha.

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