Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13, 2009: Keweenawesomefest Recap

So, this past weekend, 550 miles from here, a great thing happened. Keweenawesomefest is an annual indie music festival in Houghton, MI. Where's Houghton, you ask? Well, it's the home of Michigan Technological University and their great college radio station WMTU. It's in the heart of the Keweenaw Penninsula in the UP.

This was the second year I've ventured the 10ish hours upstate for Keweenawesomefest and I have to say, part of the magic of it is the trip. Taking the time to travel in this great state, especially to the UP is therapeutic. I could feel a mix of relaxation and excitement wash over me, particularly after we made the trip across the bridge.

This year's bill had fourteen bands, mostly from Michigan, but with some from Minneapolis, Wisconsin (which is not too far away when you're that far up north), Omaha, and Chicago. Friday's line-up was downstate heavy with Lightning Love, Greg McIntosh and Drunken Barn Dance. I assure you that my friends and I served our purpose as a downstate cheering section very well. Let me pause here a moment and say that the audience was fantastic. Kids that I could tell hadn't seen nor heard of these bands were dancing, standing right up front and generally simply enjoying live music. It made me realize that I take the glut of live music to be had in the Metro Detroit area for granted. I will definitely remember this the next time I'm out...which will probably be tonight!

The standout of the night, in my opinion was The Show is the Rainbow from Omaha, NE. A one-man multimedia explosion, Darren Keen projects home made animation videos, controls a laptop's worth of samples and sounds, plays guitar, sings, and dances, all with an amazing head of hair. I have video but the quality is fairly poor, and can't really capture what it was like. Scroll down a bit for pictures.

Seeing Greg McIntosh solo is a rare treat. His powerful voice and lyrics carry more energy than you would expect from a guy with an acoustic guitar. I got to hang out a bit with Lightning Love, which just served to make me like them more, if that's possible. They dedicated a song to a friend of mine, and the love meter exploded. Good job guys. Drunken Barn Dance, headed by Scott Sellwood is a rocking folk band. I first saw DBD at a house festival in Lansing a few years ago. Scott was by himself, and I fell in love with his music then and always enjoy seeing him and whoever's playing with him. Be sure to check out "We Swimmers" on the special tour EP I brought back with me!

As is often the case with festivals like this, K-Fest was a social event, and therefore, I missed some of the bands, particularly on Friday night. Be sure to check them out, though.

Friday night pictures:

BVH Live (Marquette, MI)

Greg McIntosh

Greg McIntosh

Aaron Diehl

Leah Diehl

Ben Collins

Drunken Barn Dance

Scott Sellwood (DBD)

The Show is the Rainbow

The Show is the Rainbow

Saturday was decidedly mellower. Folk was pretty dominant most of the night. The Chanteymen from Marquette started things off with Christopher Lander Moore's entrance onto the floor, rather than the stage, standing in the crowd singing "Werewolves With Knives". It was quite impressive, with the black box theatre surroundings as well as his unamplified voice being able to reach all the corners of the place. Michael Beauchamp played beautiful, soulful folk and finished off his set with a singalong of his children's song. The Gunshy livened the place up with a harder set of punk/ska/rock as well as an artist painting during their set. The Pale Young Gentlemen out of Madison, WI headlined the night with a kind of haunting, string-heavy orchestra thing going on. Lead singer Mike Reisenauer's voice is great.

Apologies for the lack of pictures from Saturday, my camera died and the a lot of the pictures I did get suffered from the lack of juice.

Special thanks to Daniel Haefs and the rest of the WMTU folks who put on an amazing show!

What you should see this week
Monday 3/13/09 -- The Parlor Mob -- The Satin Peaches @The Pike Room (Pontiac)
Monday 3/13/09 -- Acid Mothers Temple -- Sonic Suicide Band @Magic Stick (Detroit)
Wednesday 3/14/09 -- Murder By Death -- The Javelins -- Brighton, MA @The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor)
Thursday 3/16/09 -- Sebastian Grainger -- Flash Lightnin' -- Millions of Brazilians @Pike Room (Pontiac)
Friday 3/17/09 -- JSB Squad -- Darling Imperial -- Teedo -- Mick Bassett & the Marthas @Lager House (Detroit)
Friday 3/17/09 -- Fontana -- Smashed Windows -- Kommie Kilpatrick -- Naw Dude @Painted Lady (Hamtramck)
Friday 3/17/09 -- ( Damon's Fake Birthday) -- Champions of Breakfast -- Chris Bathgate -- Lightning Love -- Drunken Barn Dance @The Elbow Room (Ypsilanti)

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