It is upon us…
The Wakarusa Festival is this weekend (finally!) down on beautiful Mulberry Mountain in northeast Arkansas. Who am I most excited to see you ask? Well, here’s my preliminary list, which is sure to change as we go:
Soulive & Lettuce, G-Love, The Avett Bros., Del McCoury Band, SAVOY, Nathaniel Rateliff, Lyrics Born, Ghostland Observatory and Matisyahu.
Anyone else heading down for the weekend? If so, who are you looking forward to most?
If not, here’s what’s happening in the KC/Lawrence area this week…
Thursday, May 31st
Blitzen Trapper @ the Riot Room in KC
Over the past three or so years, this Portland band has gone from indie darling to mainstream touring act to kind of yesterday’s news. But these guys are still putting out great country tinged folk songs on the vaunted Sub Pop label and playing mid-sized theaters along with some bigger festival dates including Wakarusa and a couple dates in Minnesota with Wilco.
The Devil Makes Three @ Crossroads KC
I guess the best description of these guys is folk punk, if you’re into that whole “labels” deal. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s how the Oakland Tribune’s Jim Harrington described the band:
“The Devil Makes Three has been able to attract such a comparatively eclectic fan base — which includes Deadheads, bluegrass barflies, old-school string-band afficionados and, yes, even a few punk rockers — by keeping the music straightforward and uncomplicated.”
Lots of folks will get a taste this summer as the band hits the road to play Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, Telluride Bluegrass Fest, High Sierra, All Good, and Lollapalooza, among others.
Friday, June 1st
G-Love & Special Sauce @ KC Live! In P & L
I like cold beverages. G-Love likes cold beverages. So I can really relate to Philly-born and bred blues-folk guitarist G-Love. He’s been churning out soulful and stripped down melodies ala Jack Johnson or Dave Matthews for what must be almost 20 years now, and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down any. In fact, G-Love kind of discovered Jack Johnson in 1999 when Johnson was a pro surfer making surf films on the side. G-Love put a version of Jack’s song Rodeo Clowns on 1999’s Philadelphonic, an album that stands up still as a great summer night’s listen.
Saturday, June 2nd
White Ghost Shivers @ the Granada in Lawrence
Kind of old-timey I guess, is how I would describe this Austin band. But they also get described as vaudeville, jazz, hillbilly, swing, ragtime, and other things. Yes, it’s tough to nail down this 7 piece band that features the slide whistle, clarinet, jug, piano, and violin (to name just a few). So I won’t try to do that here. Just know they put on a helluva show, and they just won the “Best of None of the Above” category at the Austin Music Awards.
Buzz Beach Ball w/ Foster the People, the Shins, the Kooks, and more @ LIVESTRONG Sporting Park
Anyone else get the urge to strangle whomever or whatever is within arm’s length when Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks comes on the radio? The ridiculously catchy, poppy, crappy anthem of I-don’t-know-what has so dominated the airwaves for the last year that it’s hard to neutrally evaluate anything else the band does at this point. Maybe I’m just jaded. OK, I definitely am. Plus I saw them on SNL a few months back and they were horrible. Just terrible.
But the Shins should be cool. They have a decent new-ish album out called Port of morrow, the long awaited follow up to 2007’s surprise hit Wincing the Night Away that took off after a bunch of the songs were used on the soundtrack to Garden State. And the Kooks are fairly interesting as well. Plus, you can bet that after a season of concerts under their belt, the LIVESTRONG folks will have everything fine tuned, including the sound (hopefully).