We spent Sunday taking in some much-needed relaxing acts across both campuses of Musikfest during what was the nicest weather in recent memory.
We started out at Americaplatz on the South Side to check out Leftover Cuties. This was the perfect day to lie outside while catching up on reading, stuffing your face full of cheese curds, and listen to some airy, easy-going tunes. Leftover Cuties provided the perfect soundtrack to that experience. The lead singer’s melodic voice and simplistic ukulele with the drummer’s minimalistic kit meshed well with the richness the keyboards, accordion, muted trumpet, and upright bass provided. Playing to a fairly small crowd considering the largess of the venue, it was the perfect late summer afternoon experience.
We then trekked over to the North Side to wander around a bit. We first stopped by Festplatz, where The Nerds were leading a packed tent full of early evening drinkers in a mug-held-high rendition of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”. It was then off to Plaza Tropical, where The Large Flowerheads provided nice background music to a meet-up with a few friends in behind the tent.
We then popped over to see a little of She Said Sunday from the parking lot at The Wooden Match, and were soon off to the South Side yet again. Skillet’s set, with its impressive pyrotechnics, caused an untold number of near heart attacks when loud explosives went off, causing many passerby to nearly piss themselves.
We saw part of Hot Club Philadelphia’s set inside of the Banko Alehouse Cinemas. They joked about playing music from the 20s, “which is all the rage these days.” Their laid-back tunes, sometimes crescendoing into winding fiddle solos, were appreciated by a half-capacity crowd as the night drew on.
Outside, the Red Elvises were playing to a very large crowd at Americaplatz, rolling through a setlist similar to their one the previous evening, including new cuts like, “Beer, Babes, and Barbeque”. The closing act of the night, Brick + Mortar, provided the best music of the festival so far. A two-man band, they incorporated complex samples into a well-orchestrated set in front of many enthusiastic young audience members. A two points the band encouraged them all to come on stage, jump along, and sing with them (the Artsquest staff, to their credit, allowed the fun to go on for a while until they were booted off). The band’s new single, Bangs, was unsurprisingly the best of the night. After playing an encore song, and finishing about 15 minutes early, the band bowed out as audience members chanted for more. The band had just came off of a gig at Lollapalooza, and it’s clear that they belonged there. With any luck, the band will get a break and have crowds far larger than the one at 11pm on a Sunday at Musikfest begging for more. They certainly deserve it.