Festival season is upon us once again and what better way to kick it off than to travel 807 miles to the magical place of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. With over 5,000 music lovers in attendance, the 6th installment of AURA Music Festival was one for the books.
The trip was off to a rocky start as our 12 hour drive was delayed three hours in due to inclimate weather conditions in Tennessee, but we weren’t giving up that easily. As our journey continued, we made it just in time for the last act of Thursday night’s pre-party. Once we got there, however, the car ride quickly became a distant memory. The weekend was nothing short of a good time full of lights, live art, and music.
Kudos to Daryl Wolff and Cameron Ferguson, the creators of the festival, for making such a pleasant atmosphere and providing one helluva a light show. AURA was just big enough to escape yet, small enough to find friends and make new ones. Warm feelings emerged throughout the weekend as friends and families greeted each other with embracing hugs and kisses.
The chilly weather brought people closer together as it dipped into the low 40’s. Fires ignited and groups were found gathered around them making a ruckus throughout the grounds. Yoga was offered each morning to prepare weary bodies for the day ahead, and classes continued throughout the day. For anyone who needed to take a break, hammocks donated by ENO (Eagles Nest Outfitters) could be found pre-installed throughout the campgrounds.
With this being the 6th edition of AURA what better way to give you a glimpse into this magical experience than to countdown the top 6 acts.
Local to the area and the only bluegrass band of the weekend, Uproot Hootenanny took the stage Sunday morning. There was no better way to spend the last day of the music festival than with whiskey and bluegrass. A banjo, stand-up bass, and fiddle were exactly the change up the festival needed. With high energy beaming from the band, waking up became a pleasant experience. As their tunes filled the campgrounds, I wasn’t the only one rushing to the stage for some toe-stomping jams.
5. Turbo Suit
Turbo Suit was in the Music Hall Saturday evening getting the place hot and steamy. Turbo Suit’s unique approach to live electronic music is one you can’t help but groove to. Everyone was enjoying a break from the cold weather by getting down on the dance floor with songs like “Open Mouth Kiss” and their own interpretation of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
This funky foursome played at the Amphitheater Stage (Main Stage) Sunday afternoon. It was their second set of the weekend and while I heard their true top performance was Saturday night in the Music Hall between Disco Biscuits sets, they still blew me away on Sunday. Jamming from beginning to end with an all instrumental set, they covered the Beatles “I Want You” and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” – the perfect way to relax on the hottest day of the festival (which was only in the low 80’s).
Dopapod played one of the first sets of the weekend at the Thursday night pre-party. For the last song, all six members of The Motet joined the band on stage for an impromptu performance. As the last cord was strummed, Dopapod’s guitarist Rob Compa turned to the other band members and shrugged as if to say, “Meh, we tried,” as if it wasn’t one of the better collaborations of the weekend.
But the real Dopapod highlight was Saturday night after the Turbo Suit set. They were laying it on thick with songs like “Trapper Keeper” when Compa channeled his inner Gwen Stefani for a No Doubt cover of “I’m just a Girl” leaving the nostalgic crowd hungry for more.
The Biscuits took the stage beginning their set with “The World is Spinning.” As the band played and the light show truly began, the crowd gasped in awe as a fan of colorful lasers covered the night sky. At the start of “Helicopters” a giant Halloween spider web stretched overhead across the crowd, reaching from the front of the stage all the way to the back.
The second set they really brought the heat with a flawless segue into “Crix.” You could feel the crowd’s disappointment as band ended without an encore. Little did anyone know, they would make an appearance at American Babies’ late night set in the Music Hall, joining them on stage for a cover of the Greatful Dead’s “Shakedown Street.”
The Squeeze played on The Porch Stage Saturday evening. As the band played off each other, building in anticipation, lead singer Corey Frye took a long pause before busting into a cover of R Kelley’s “I Believe I Can Fly.”
The band took the stage a second time, Sunday afternoon, for a tribute to Michael Jackson set. Strategically planned out by the group, 20 of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits were packed into an hour and half set. From Black Or White > Beat It > Thriller > Billie Jean > Smooth Criminal it was hands down one of the best performances of the weekend.
While 2015 was one for the books the countdown for AURA 2016 begins…
Want to get the full experience, check out the link below to view images from the whole weekend.
Photos by: Keith Griner
Expanding on a wide range of sound, Lotus is considered a multi-genre band incorporating elements of rock, electronica, jazz, jam, hip-hop, and funk. Formed in Indiana in 1999, the band has come a long way to find their sound.
Originally playing as a jamband, they leaned heavily on the sound of funk similar to Phish, Allman Brothers and The Grateful Dead. As the band developed, their style gravitated toward elements of electronic music while still maintaining the foundation of a jamband. This style of sound is often described as jamtronic music.
Lotus has developed a devoted fan base by steadily touring and jumping on festivals like Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Ultra, and Rothbury. Over the years Mike Greenfield, Mike Rempel, Luke Miller, Jesse Miller, and Chuck Morris have played countless shows across the US. Whether you are an old fan or new, Old National Centre is the place for you Thursday, March 5th.
Be sure to get there early as the opener will make it worthwhile. Turbo Suit, the band formerly known as Cosby Sweater, is making head way in the electronic scene. Indy locals David Embry, Nick Gerlach, and Jeff Peterson are celebrating their first album release under the new band name.
While the band has only been together since 2012, it looks as through 2015 will be another big year for the group. Touring with bands like Lotus, Digital Tape Machine, and Umphrey’s McGee, and making the bill on festivals like Aura, Summer Camp, and the Werk Out the band is hoping to leave Cosby Sweater behind them and head new direction. They recently released the new track “Hourglass” featuring ProbCause, streaming below.
Lotus & Cosby Sweater
Thursday March 5th; doors at 8.
Old National Centre
Buy tickets here.
Come out to the Bluebird this Thursday, February 19th and get discoed away with the funkiest fun loving band around. Cherub is best known for their hit single “Doses and Mimosas” which has been re-released with their new album Year of the Caprese. Jason Huber and Jordan Kelley have figured out a way to bring the party to you with their spunky lyrics and charismatic charm. While the song “Doses and Mimosas” has been out for two years I never pass up an opportunity to listen just one more time.
The dynamic duo is from Nashville, Tennessee but there is nothing country about them, as their music is inspired by ‘80’s post disco, synth pop, and da funk. This summer they’re opening for Gramatik at Red Rocks along with performances at Forecastle, Summercamp, and Counterpoint.
Don’t miss an opportunity to catch their Strip To This Tour because, like any band that loves to party, there will be plenty of talk about love, sex, and drugs as they take the stage. Last time they played at the Bluebird it was nothing short of a good time. So join party, doors are at 9pm.
Buy tickets here.
Want more this Thursday check out Datsik.
Indy Mojo has been busy this week. With three different shows in two different locations it’s not going to be an easy pick on where you will end up this Thursday. Digital Tape Machine, The Expendables, and Dark Star Orchestra are all playing the same night in Indy on March 12th. Mojo has a sneak peak on what to expect from these bands.
Digital Tape Machine
Digital Tape machine is a Chicago-based band featuring Marcus Rezak, Joe Hettinga, Bryan Doherty, and Neal Wehman. In an era where electronic music has become an array of different genres this sound can be compared to video game music, electronic dance, and dance house. In other words, this band knows how to get the party started with their edgy dance music.
Their new track, “Beast” (streaming below) has an upbeat tempo with some heavy shredding by guitarist Marcus Rezak. Speaking of shredding, view the video below and listen to some new sounds coming your way this week.
Come out Thursday February 12th to the Mousetrap. Bring $8 for the entry fee and be ready to move because Digital Tape Machine will keep you dancing all night!
Also playing this Thursday is The Expendables and Dark Star Orchestra at Old National Center.
The Expendables are reggae funk band known for their song, “Packed This Bowl For Two” and they want to smoke it with you. Tickets are only $20 so get off your couch and catch them live, you won’t be disappointed.
Dark Star Orchestra
Though they are considered a cover band, Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) looks to bend the mold, change the circumstances and be more than just a cover band. Many loyal followers of the music have tried, from day one, to pursue their dreams of covering their favorite band of all time. However none are as acclaimed or accredited as Dark Star Orchestra.
To see more on Dark Star Orchestra click here for the full article.
Indy Mojo had a chance to get an exclusive sneak preview of Giordano’s before their Grand Opening on February 3rd. For those of you that don’t know – Giordano’s is what some might claim as Chicago’s best pizza, alongside Gino’s and Lou Manati’s.
The recipe comes from a family tradition that goes back 200 years when Mama Giordano use to bake her sons an “Italian Easter Pie”. When the boys grew up they made their way to Chicago and opened their own pizza business using their mother’s double-crusted, cheese stuffed Easter Pie recipe. Since 1974, this Easter Pie has become known as staple of Chicago-style pizza. And for the first time in over 40 years, they have opened new locations out of Chicago and in to Indianapolis’s own backyard.
This small restaurant is located right next to Harry and Izzy’s at 4110 E. 82nd St. While waiting to be seated they have a viewing window of the kitchen where the pizzas are being tossed, sauced, and cooked to perfection. Hidden away to the left is the bar area with six 42 inch TV’s, 10 beers on draft and a full bar. It’s what I like to call “The Adult Area.” To the right is normal seating, and in the back of the restaurant there will be patio seating with a full view of the lake to enjoy once Spring arrives.
Fair warning: this pizza does have a wait time of 45 minutes, but don’t be discouraged as there are plenty of appetizers to hold you over.
I tried “The Best” Ripe Tomato Bruschetta, which came out quicker than expected and I dove right in: crisp, toasted bread with a fresh slice of mozzarella and a heaping pile of tomatoes with a hint of basil. It was more than enough to appease my appetite until the pizza was delivered.
Upon arrival, my mouth started to water with anticipation. The gooey, cheesy goodness – known as the “Chicago Classic” – was stuffed with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. The crust was sweet and the slice almost melted in my mouth. With eyes bigger than my stomach, I tried to muster down a second piece because my taste buds wanted more, but I had to box up the reminder of my slices.
For those who are in for small portions stop by Giordanos for $10 weekday lunch special where they offer a choice a personal pizza, side salad, and a drink. They also offer Carry out and deliver within a four mile radius of their location. There has been talk of another restaurant opening up in downtown Indianapolis if all goes well for the 82nd street location. Bring your appetite and head on in to Giordano’s you won’t be disappointed.
Still got the munchies? Check out our quest to find Indy’s best tenderloin here.
Grab your whiskey and get to the dance floor because Indy Mojo is taking over the Bluebird once again. Bluegrass is back, this time with Trampled by Turtles Thursday, February 5 (8pm, $20). A five-piece ensemble all the way from Duluth, Minn. gives you a smooth blend of bluegrass with an indie folk twist. Get your tickets soon as this show is on the verge of selling out!
What first attracted me to Trampled by Turtles (TBT) was their fast paced tempo and rasping melodies. They swoon you with their heartfelt lyrics while your toes are tapping violently to the beat. This fun loving band developed from a not-so-typical background; all band members started off in separate bands playing a variety of electronic, metal, and jam music. Slowly, one by one, they left these bands to form TBT and 10 years later they are still putting out albums and bringing in the crowd.
More recently, they were featured in July 2014 on “Late Night with David Letterman” to sing songs off their latest album, “Wild Animal”.
TBT will be on tour early spring through the summer, with several festival dates already announced including Hangout, Summer Camp, Bonnaroo and Telluride. While we all love festivals don’t miss this perfect opportunity to see them in a more intimate setting at The Bluebird. The banjo will be plucked, the guitar will be strummed, and the vocals will take you away.