Unfortunately we’re going to start out recap off on a negative note here. This is the first thing we saw trying to get to Musikfest, which is the ramp of the Hill-to-Hill bridge being blocked off on 378. This is shitty. Not only is it an inconvenience to anyone trying to get to Main Street using the bridge, but it makes the entire bridge unusable to anyone in a wheelchair, which is precisely what we saw happen the other day. This needs to get fixed. With that out of the way, here’s two good notes: there’s actual stage on Main Street now. After bitching about this exact problem for years in our Musikfest recaps, we’re extremely happy to see this change. Previously bands at Hotel Bethlehem were set up basically on the sidewalk, and bands at the Main Street stage were relegated to a crappy tent with hanging shop lights that looked like hell. Bravo, Artsquest. We caught The Middle Ground, and while they started out OK, verged into boring territory, especially when they got to covering the likes of Wonderwall, which has become such a cliche it’s literally a meme. We moved on to Karikatura at Volksplatz shortly thereafter. Karikatura killed it. With their fusion sound of indie, reggae, rap, and more, they were lively, entertaining, and musically solid. Amazingly enough, for how good they were, they were only the second best band of day 1. While Karikatura took a break, we did too. We check out the silent disco, which is back again this year. This year they have dueling DJs, which you can switch between via your wireless headphones. The headphones themselves are much more comfortable this year. This has proven to be popular with the younger teen set, so we expect it to make another appearance next year. We caught a little bit of The Living Vines wandering around the Volkzplatz/Handwekplatz area, and they’re fairly weird and creepy. This band, Low Cut Connie, absolutely slayed. Between the frontman jumping on top of his piano to the dancing bears they invited onstage and their constant, manic songs, we couldn’t get enough. These guys need to come back again.
We started off our day two with a mug fill at the new Bonn Place Brewing Company, which we’ll be detailing in an article coming up later this week. Unfortunately while we were there, it started monsooning, thus delaying our trip over to see Nik Greeley and the Operators. Some ‘Festers with homemade Run610 shirts. Need. When the rain finally subsided and we made it over to the Nik Greeley show, we were rewarded with a powerful set of funk, blues, and soul. The frontman made the show, and provided the few who braved the rain and thereafter with a killer set. Next up, food porn. This platter of awesome is from Tica’s Tacos, located at Volksplatz. A new addition this year, these were fucking AMAZING. The carne asada was our favorite, followed by the carnitas. This is our must-hit so far food-wise. The last of the night for North Side was The Cold Fronts, who we previously compared to Nick D and The Believers from a few years ago. We’re sticking by that comparison, although these guys were a little harder, but had the same vibe to them. We wouldn’t mind seeing another set next year. After The Cold Fronts it was off to the SouthSide for kbrissy, a local DJ who spins a great mix of old classics and newer hits. A good time as always. If you missed it, you should probably pop over to his page and grab some free downloads of his mixes.
Sunday we kicked off the day by catching a little bit of Mike Mains and the Brances on Main Street (apt stage there programmers). Their songs are invariably catchy pop rock and are certainly getting added to our playlist. Then it was off to Remember Jones, the most impressive show of the day. This Jersey crooner sung his ass off, backed by two female vocalists who occasionally took the spotlight, and delivered a show so good people should’ve paid to see it. With a fairly sizable backing band who had everyone dancing, it was the must-see of the day. Hopefully we’ll see them return to Bethlehem as the Muskiest Cafe would be the perfect spot for them. For those not in the know, the Cow & Curd food truck, one of our favorite trucks, is serving up their fare at a table in the Wooden Match parking lots. Get em’ while they’re good. The last show of the night on Sunday that we saw was Fragile Mortals, the metal band that DMC from Run DMC fronts with members of the metal band Generation Kill. It was…interesting. They actually sounded pretty fantastic, if metal is your thing. Not only that, but they brought out famed guitarist Bumblefoot, adding to the cachet of the show. While the crowd in front of the stage was crowded, the seating area was largely devoid of fest-goers. I guess that’s what you get when you put a metal band on the big stage on a Sunday night, but it was by and large a good time nonetheless.