Last weekend, I had the chance to go to TWO more days of Nelsonville Music Festival in beautiful Nelsonville music festival, where I got to experience seeing faves Cloud Nothings and Jay Som for the first time, Losing my shoe in the pit for Twin Peaks’ Rowdy set, Seeing New favorite Ron Gallo in the Daylight, and MORE! I’ll try to recap it all right here!! Click on any of the pictures to see the full gallery!!
This was the first band I had a chance to see when I arrived on Friday. I showed up late and only caught the last few songs of their set, but the Cincinnati based 3-piece still gave a rock-n-rolling good time playing through some very cool indie rocky vibes!!! I can’t wait to actually see a full set by this group – they rock!
As someone who originally grew up in Cleveland, it’s honestly really surprising that this afternoon set by Cloud Nothings was the first time I’ve seen the formerly-lo-fi-but-now-just-generally-good-sounding-power-pop band live. Leader Dylan Baldi shredded through songs spanning their last few albums, including their newest album Life Without Sound. Also, their drummer Jayson Gerycz was a h*cking ANIMAL on those drums! He’s honestly one of my larger influences when it comes to drumming, and seeing him sweat live in front of me was a real treat. I sung along to a lot, while some shirtless bros behind me tried to start a mosh pit but it only really involved like 4 people so it wasn’t that intense. They closed their set with the 7 minute epic off the album Attack on Memory called “Wasted Days”, which made High School Matt Incredibly happy to see that live.
Newfound Indie Rock God Ron Gallo played a SECOND set at Nelsonville on Friday, this time in mid-afternoon on the porch stage. Having daylight around this time not only made photography a lot more easy and fun, but it brought Ron a newfound energy with a spiced up setlist that made this performance more unique and fun than the one he had the previous night! Gallo and Co opened up the set with an improvisational blues jam played on a Casio Keyboard held up by his bassist and drummer. From here they continued on witha rendition of “Young Lady You’re Scaring Me”, and from then on Gallo was in full gear. He was in such full gear that he broke strings on both his main and backup guitars (both Fender Jaguars), which caused Gallo to host an impromptu Q and A session in the middle of his set while his bassist ran offstage to restring his guitar! In addition to answering questions like “Are You Single?”, Gallo gave a speech on the importance of looking past the problems we cannot control as humans, and focus instead on the things we can directly have an impact on changing in our lives. At the end of his set, he brought on another bassist, took off his shirt, and performed half of a song singing from the mosh pit forming in front of the stage. It. was. WILD.
To be honest, I didn’t stay the full way through Athens, GA Band Mother’s set at Nelsonville. However, the parts I did see really did impress me. The opening song of their set featured the two backup guitarists in the band playing the guitar with paint brushes, while the drummer played synth bass. Speaking of the drummer, that dude was a MACHINE! Everything he played was so intricate yet so rigid it was very interesting to watch!!
Some of our new faves at WXCU! This Columbus-Based band played several sets throughout the Festival, but I caught them at a semi-suprise set at the “Gladden House Sessions” – a series of short sets and interview sessions being recorded for WOUB Public Media in Athens. Andrew (The guitar guy sitting down) played songs from the band’s upcoming new record with his longtime friend and drummer, and some of the most talented musicians from Columbus including Sharon from Counterfeit Madison!! (Also we will be having an in-studio with Andrew coming up so stay tuned!!!!)
Speaking of Local Legends, Adam Remnant is a local of Athens, OH who brought out a really cool Band featuring keys, fiddle, drum, bass and more! I hadn’t heard of Adam before this show, but my friend and staffer at ACRN was really stoked on the dude so I decided to tag along! It was a really fun set on the main stage to help kick off Saturday at the Festival!
In other bands I wasn’t hip to until my friend told me to come watch them at Nelsonville were the Cactus Blossoms. This duo from Minnesota sounded like a modern reincarnation of the Everly Brothers! Their music blends beween the lines of wholesome vintage sounding music and slightly creepy sounding vintage music that may find its way into an David Lynch film. Either way, they put on a fantastic show in the midafternoon heat that made me remember who these cats were!
Ever since we started playing her song “Emotions and Math” here at WXCU, we’ve been big fans of Margaret Glaspy. Getting a chance to see her rock the main stage at Nelsonville was truly a treat!! In addition to her incredible voice and beautiful songwriting, her rhythm section / backing band of drum and bass were TOTALLY in sync, and added an incredible dimension to her music that was something truly special to see live.
Jay Som’s set at the “Boxcar Stage” at the festival was EASILY one of my favorites of the full weekend!! After putting out her album Everybody Works earlier this year, this tour and performance featured a lot of music from that record and some of her earlier EP’s as well. One standout moment in the set was during the guitar solo part to her single “One Billion Dogs”, the full band split off into a really funky tangent of solos and improvisations ranging from the bass player quoting the Seinfeld theme song to the lead guiarist (who happened to also have the same Jerry Garcia Guitar Strap that I own!) trading off solos with Jay Som creator Melina Duerte for some shreddin’ good times. Also another standout part of the set was the drummers’ “Journey into Imagination with Figment” shirt from Epcot he wore under a flannel for the duration of the set.
After a period of about an hour or two of charging my phone (and finding myself to be the bodyguard of several other phones) at a solar charging station at Nelsonville (which wasn’t a bad gig sincce it got me a free ice cream and beer (I’m 21 dont worry))), I headed over to the main stage to see former Childstar, Rilo Kiley Frontwoman, and overall great artist Jenny Lewis take the stage clad in a rainbow marijuana jumpsuit. Her set on the mainstage offered the most audience participation of the weekend, due in part to a bachelorette party bringing an inflatable unicorn to crowdsurf during her set (which didnt work as well as they planned), confetti filed balloons brought out by Jenny’s crew to toss and pop around the grounds, and Jenny herself leaving the decision of the last song her band would play that night to a young Jenny Lewis Fan clad in a Rainbow Denim Jacket and bunny ears on her Dad’s shoulders. It was a rootin’ tootin set that inspired me to get back into some old rilo kiley CD’s!
Much like the surprise I got my first night at Nelsonville witnessing Ron Gallo for the first time, another unexpected late night surprise at the festival was from Brazilian psych-rock band Boogarins. Kicking off their U.S. Tour, the 4 piece shredded and sung in Portugese while speaking in broken English to the crowds at the fest. Their bassist played half of the set from a Moog Taurus bass synth, which gave an almost relentless bass aspect to the set which was very cool effect!! Punk Director Alex Stemple told me he was really into boogarins, and after seeing them live I think i’m a new fan too!!
The last band I saw at Nelsonville was easily the rowdiest of the whole weekend. Draped under the stars after Ween finished up their set on the main stage, Chicago’s Twin Peaks took to the porch stage in front of what appeared to be the entire “DIY art Kid” scene from the Greater Athens, OH area. These kids GOT INTO IT REAL HARD! To be honest, I haven’t listened to much twin peaks (which doesn’t sound much like the show at all, they picked the name at random), but these concertgoers sure did, singing along, crowdsurfing, and moshing wildly to the songs off of their discography of Good Ol’ Rock n’ Roll tunes played by kids that look like they could’ve been graduates of some summer school of rock camps 5 or 6 years ago. I lost both a shoe and my hat in the pit, and I heard rumors that venue security had to shut down their set early due to people getting too rowdy and causing the stage to be very close to collapsing. Despite this, the band closed out their set with a rolling stones cover, and stuck around the stage afterwards to chat with fans on the summer saturday night
All in all, Nelsonville was a great experience that not only opened me up to so many cool music acts, but opened me up to a bunch of kind wonderful people I met throughout the event. I hope I get a chance to go again in the future!!!!
Stay tuned soon for our recap of Bunbury Festival!!