Never miss a Werkout; after all, it’s for your health. The Werkout, a 3-day event filled with music, art, and all things silly, took place from August 7th-9th in Thornville, OH. An oasis of wonder and shenanigans, what more could one ask for?
After spending the time of our lives at Legends Valley, we set upon the task of reviewing the festival, recounting it for those who were there and recapping it for those who weren’t.
How to boil it down? Condensing 72 hours of bliss into simple text on a screen can be a challenge, but we’ve debated and discussed, recalled and reminisced, and this is the result. A list of 10 moments, bands, people, and situations to paint the picture of the Werkout.
10. The Comedy Stylings of Mr. Jesse Brown AKA The Blue Power Ranger
Amusing would be an understatement had you met this gentleman moseying through the grounds on Saturday night. This guy was the real deal from the costume to his swift reenactment of “It’s morphin time!” He was a true entertainer, as most witnesses would say. His comical gestures and witty dialogue were the perfect way to transition from one set to another. I walked out of the situation with stomach cramps because I was laughing so hard. Werkout citizen Kenny Beebe went on to describe him as “Eloquent. He just kept on going forever. I didn’t want him to stop talking. This guy had to be a professional; he really put on a show.”
Jesse, if you’re out there and ever decide to go on tour just know that you’ve got yourself plenty of fans.
9. El Fuego
A non-musical, yet integral, part of the festival were the performance artists throughout the weekend. Nestled near the stages was a performance area set up specifically for performance artists of all kinds: hoopers, poi spinners, fire breathers and more. Performances of this kind are not uncommon to festivals by any means; in fact, they’re almost as expected as music is. However, Saturday’s events were something special.
As nightfall came and Zoogma tore through their incendiary set, fire performers captivated throngs of audience members with their craft. The performers worked three at a time, joining forces to create choreographed masterpieces of movement and light. Bright flames circled around on smooth trajectories, tearing beautiful patterns into the cool night air. It was mesmerizing. It was unreal.
Honorable mention: Fire cannons. Specifying further, computer-controlled, propane-fueledfire-cannons… with whistles to boot! Who knows what to officially call these contraptions; they shot short blasts of gas through an exhaust whistle and past an igniter. Epic. But… why, you may ask? Because that shit is awesome.
8. Ultraviolet Hippopotamus’ Saturday Night Special
Making the list of incredible performances to hit The Werkout on Saturday night was UV Hippo’s groovy performance. Always blistering and always on point, the band set the evening vibe right with their second set of the extended weekend. Starting out with the soothing and surreal, “Medicine”, Hippo amped up the energy track after track for the duration of their hour-long set. Moving through a 6-song set bordering on an average of 10 minutes a song they jammed their way through as only Hippo can do. The result? A meandering trail of color-clad humanoids dancing their way throughout the venue.
Set List: Medicine > Verlander, Georgie (w/ Kenn Mogel on guitar), DNT, Tugboat, La Marea
7. The Werks’ Two Sets on Saturday
The Werks kept fans at attention with every beat of the night, hitting all of the right notes throughout both sets. They even brought the staff and production crew on stage for a solid moment of recognition; a grand round of applause. Zane Kesey and Derek Stevens from the Further bus did a narrative for the Anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. Dave Weissman, the festival’s media organizer, and his son even joined the stage; dressed in galactic space wear (complete with capes), they played air guitar during the last song.
Plain White Toast
Hard To Find Jam
The Other One
6. The Furthur Bus
Zane Kesey (the son of famed author Ken Kesey), Derek Stevens, and the next generation of pranksters made their way to The Werkout on their 50th anniversary tour. The bus, a beautiful piece of art and history on wheels was a one stop shop for fun, games, merch, and even a wedding! The Werk Out was the 6th official stop on their tour outside of their initial travels in Oregon in June. I had the pleasure of speaking to Derek over the phone to ask a few questions, detailing their experiences on the road.
How did the Werk Out become so lucky to be one of the stops of the tour?
“Actually, we were privileged enough to be invited by Rob Chafin of the Werks. I had the pleasure of talking to him over the phone a few times, and he said that they were trying to plan something special for us out there and said he’d appreciate it if we could make it.”
Is it safe to say that the Werks was probably your favorite gig out there?
“Without a doubt. The Werks were on top of it, it was a great gig across the board. They really stepped it up.”
Were there any other bands that caught your attention? “
Actually to be honest I didn’t make it out on the grounds to explore very much until late night but hands down Zach Deputy. We had him on the bus, a little private recording session, and he just blew us all away.”
Is there any advice that you want to share with the youth of America and next generation of merry panksters?
“Best thing to keep in mind is that it’s okay to think differently. It’s okay to express yourself with music and art. Whatever it is that brings up your passion…. We’re not saying to tune in, turn on and drop out by any means. We don’t even roll like that anymore, especially right now on tour. You can be high on the hill but you end up missing those little things, you know? Be you and have fun. It’s okay to be yourself. You don’t have to go down any set path to be free and have fun. It’s all about living in the moment and not missing those little things.”
He went on to share a few intimate moments they had along the tour and added, “It’s those stories that color what this entire experience is about. You know, we actually had an opportunity to get – and I’d hate to mention it – corporate sponsors, but we turned it down. It didn’t feel right not having the bus on the road interacting with people. That’s not what this bus was about and we’re glad that we didn’t. We’ve made so many friends – lifelong friends – along the way.”
Next stop on the Bus tour will be in Baltimore, MD at The 8×10 room with special guest John Kadlecik of Furthur this Tuesday, August 19.
5. The Werks’ Stripped Down VIP Set/Q&A Meet and Greet
This may have not been a part of the main festival, and it wasn’t accessible for everyone, but it definitely deserves to be on the list. As a part of the VIP ticket package for The Werkout, ticketholders were treated with a special set from The Werks in the VIP lounge. Relaxed and laid back, it gave audience members a chance to see the band and interact with them in an uncommonly intimate setting. The session started with a heartfelt thank you from The Werks, detailing how fans and supporters are truly the reason that events like The Werkout exist. It felt good.
Seated among a group of spectators, The Werks played several stripped down songs including a new and yet-to-be released tune. They told stories and joked around. It was comfortable and enjoyable. After the short performance, they moved on to a Q&A session with the audience, prompting us to ask anything about the band, the festival, or whatever else was on our mind.
The shining moment of the Q&A session, you ask? They announced that there were 7 cinematographers filming Thursday’s Dark Side performance. The kicker? The soundboard audio and video of the set will be edited and released, FOR FREE, in several weeks once the project is completed. Another tasty tidbit? Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio is mastering the audio. The days can’t tick by fast enough.
4. Everyone Orchestra
For those who don’t know, Everyone Orchestra is the ever changing, improvisational, brainchild of musician Matt Butler. Boiled down to its core, it’s a jam session, but not just any old jam. Featuring a rotating cast of some of the world’s top musicians (past participants have included members of The Grateful Dead, Phish, moe., String Cheese Incident, Taj Mahal, a presidential candidate and more).
For The Werkout’s incarnation, EO was a 14-piece band creating brass-laden funk fusion with Butler manning the helm as the Orchestra’s psychedelic conductor. He guided the group of musicians toward their auditory goal, creating and closing sonic space as he sees fit. As any musician will tell you, that’s easier said than done, especially with 14 people improvising at a time. Butler guided the group through the jam using vocal cues, hand gestures, and a little whiteboard that he feverishly scribbles directions to the musicians on. It truly is an awesome and silly sight of madness and music.
3. Zoogma’s Saturday Night Set
The 4-piece livetronica outfit hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, took no prisoners with Saturday’s set at The Werkout festival, their second overall performance of the weekend. Sandwiched between The Werks’ two sets that night, they had some big shoes to fill. Zoogma pulled through with what may have been the most talked about set of the weekend.
As the last notes of The Werks’ first set tapered off, the bass took hold from the opposite stage… and so it began. Contrasting the stylings of the previous act’s more traditional sound, Zoogma was a swirling synthesis of organic and electronic instrumentation. Wasting no time and starting things off with a bang, they launched into what can only be described as an electro-blues banger. “Let My Shorty Ride (RL Burnside x Young Buck)”, a seamless blend of hip-hop and righteous gritty slide guitar, foreshadowed what was to come over the course of their set: an eclectic mix of originals and reworkings of a slew of other tracks.
Additional highlights of the set were the Michael Jackson and Eagles classics “Thriller” and “Hotel Crunkafornia (Notorious B.I.G. x The Eagles)”, respectively. For those of you who weren’t there, let’s get one thing straight: these were not simply covers, but incredibly solid and innovative rehashes of the original masterpieces. One has never heard such guitar playing like this during a “Thriller” performance, guaranteed.
As “Thriller” climaxed in one final intensifying crescendo, a surprise awaited, the opening notes to “Hotel California” rang out, soon to be layered in with some Biggie vocals. Intriguing? Damn straight. With dueling guitars and saw-bass low-end, Zoogma soared on this one; imagine Joe Walsh and Don Felder duking it out on the famous solo, but only that this time through they had discovered the glory of Ableton before writing the track. Hands. Down. Breathtaking.
Let My Shorty Ride
Starrey Eyed Thriller
2. Zach Deputy
The one-man-band from Savannah, GA that kept on keepin’ on! It was almost impossible to keep from ‘to his funky tunes, even if you were just passing through for that midafternoon delight. Had the dance floor not been made of rocks, people surely would have kicked off their boogie shoes! The guitar was funky with a few flicks of beat boxing here and there and Deputy laid down smooth, soulful, swingin’ vocals. This man would have you down in New Orleans one minute then out with island fever the next.
Deputy made sure to engage the audience throughout his set to enhance the vibe and step up the jive. He kept the loop train going all throughout Friday and Saturday night, even on into Sunday morning. Even the schedule didn’t know what time he would be done! Embracing his collaborative spirit, he also provided vocals during the Dark Side and Everyone Orchestra sets as well. What ‘chu know ‘bout The Deputy?!
1. And the downright obvious of the all things epic: Dark Side of the Werk Out set!
What an incredible way to bring in the first night of the festival. There was so much zest and excitement in the air leading up to this set of epic wonder. By the time The Werks ended their last song of their first set the crowd had swelled up. One could feel the intensity and the anticipation for what was about to take place – the fifteen minute set change seemed to take forever.
Finally, each band member took their place and the lights dimmed to their appropriate state. The crowd cheered louder with every pulse that lead into the sudden stroke of “Breathe”, and then the pack got wild! Chills are currently pacing their way up and down this writer’s spine just reliving that moment. And who better to open up the tribute other than the festival director and beat master of The Werks himself, Rob Chafin.
As if the Dark Side set wasn’t enough, more surprises made their way into this grand recital. Kevin Dumont laid down the smooth and saxxy melodies during “Money.” The enchanting vocals of Mr. Zach Deputy were brought in for “Great Gig in the Sky”, and, boy did that man bring a few people down to their knees! Making their way through the crowd at that moment was the full cast of Wizard of Oz, even the Lollipop Guild, as the movie played on the backdrop. Overall, it was an inspiring sight to behold.
There it is, the Werkout in review. While this isn’t an all-inclusive list or even the big picture of what went down that weekend, it’s our little version. Short and condensed, just add water – or beer – to reconstitute. Given the chance, would we go again? Yes. As for you, the reader, should you consider it next year? That’s not for us to say, but, if this article was met with intrigue and a peaked interest, you probably already know the answer to that question.
I was told, “Southern hospitality is best where the south meets the north and, honey, it don’t get no better than Louisville.” They were right, because the city of Louisville whole-heartedly opened its arms to embrace the Forecastle Music Festival like we were all cousins, back for a big family reunion. It turned out to be ground zero for that amazing southern charm and drawl, with a dash of weird mixed in. References to famous journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson (born in Louisville) were numerous, and his eccentric spirit has certainly rubbed off on the youth and the city. Between the food, the people and the music, I’m convinced that Forecastle is one of the best “little” music festivals around.
Before the gates opened Friday, I was on the hunt for some local grub. I wound up at Smoketown USA where I was greeted by the owner – a guy in overalls who goes by the name of “Redneck Jew”. To say the least, the guy’s a character. I said to myself, “A redneck Jew that makes BBQ? This is going to be interesting,” but I was not disappointed. They brought out a killer spread of ribs, pulled pork, greens and sweet jalapeño cornbread. Not only was the food good, but all of the furniture and art on the walls was for sale; it was a little like eating lunch at a yard sale.
Working my way through crooked streets and neighborhoods that seemed to be screaming for gentrification, I stopped in New Louisville (Nulu) to make a visit to the Louisville Beer Store. About this time, I found out my lodging for the night fell through- a common problem for out-of-town Forecastle attendees. Luckily, the crew from Country Boy Brewing was at the store to do a showcase of their beer line and, upon hearing of my bad luck, those guys and gals started making phone calls to find me a place to stay. Unfortunately, they had no luck… but they presented me with a flight of their beers, on the house, as a condolence. Although I was happier with a little beer in my belly, at this point I needed to scoot the Festival.
The first band on my schedule for Forecastle’s opening day was the Black Lips. The Atlanta group has a new album out that was produced by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. I was hoping for their usual rowdy show, which they delivered with high energy and a lot of spitting.
As I stumbled around the grounds I made my way to Gary Clark Jr., who just won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance. This guy can tear it up with the best of them. It’s hard not to think he may have done this in a previous lifetime.
Nightmares on Wax came all the way from Leeds, England to smack the crowd upside the head with a live set of old school hip hop. These dudes delivered, but the crowd seemed timid; I guess they were expecting a DJ set instead. N.O.W. performing a live set doesn’t happen very often anymore, so it was a treat – even if it wasn’t what the crowd expected.
As I stood waiting to see Action Bronson, a security guard began telling the crowd that he had cancelled. The guy next to me was really pissed off. He said, “I’ve tried to see Action Bronson seven times and he’s cancelled five out of those seven.” I, too, was pretty excited to see him, but after learning of his attendance record, I might not put much effort into future opportunities to see him – which sucks for both of us.
I moved on from the vacant stage to see Spoon put on a killer set, like true professionals would. I expected nothing less from the Austin City rockers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long because the crowd was growing in anticipation of Outkast’s headlining set.
Outkast. What can I say? They’re legends. Their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, came out came out 20 years ago. I know Louisville isn’t Atlanta, but damn they treated us like we were family. Hit after hit, they blew the crowd up. I looked up during the set to see a light mist in the sky, but I couldn’t feel anything. Body heat seemed to dissipate the spray right before it could touch the smoldering crowd. I met lots of “old school players and new school fools”. We all agreed that “ ’Kast keep it jumpin’ like kangaroos” and “I be god dammit, they done changed the rules.”
All photos by John Ellison.
If you’re a Midwest local and looking for a festival to call home year and year again, check out Good People Good Times. This was the fourth year for the event, and after the turn out this year, I’m sure we will see it again and again.
This local event was held June 6th and 7th at Explore Brown County in Nashville, Indiana. This is a beautiful venue in the lovely hills of southern Indiana. This venue features a quaint historical cabin village at the front, a small stage area, and a beautiful lake in the back where festival-goers can rent canoes and swim. This is a perfect venue for an event this size, which was capped off at about 800 people and very family friendly.
This two day festival featured many local favorites- 24 bands for a gate ticket price of $50 and all of the Midwest family lovin’ you could ask for. There were plenty of vendors with all sorts of sparkly jewelry, clothing, and delicious food. The “Shake Down Street” was beautifully decorated and populated with local painters amongst bright tie dye stands and second hand thrift stores.
Friday night was a lovely summer night to spend outside. It was clear and cool, with that summer smell lingering in the air. I arrived just in time to see the brains of this operation play his solo set. Derick Howard is a local one-man-band with a sound and style comparable to Keller Williams. He uses a loop pedal and multiple instruments to create a sound that seems like it should be coming from a full band. Derick Howard is a local musician that plays with Howard, Lewis & Lovins, but his solo sets are really a unique experience. It set the tone for a great night of music that never overlaps and never stops.
Ekoostik Hookah headlined Friday night. This is a band twith roots in Ohio that has traveled throughout the Midwest since 1991. They have a very loyal fan base that has followed them throughout the years that can best be described as a dysfunctional family. Hookah has a gritty rock sound that gets everyone in the space moving to the rhythms and features strong, bluesy guitar rifts and soulful piano solos. The light show accented the music well thanks to everyone’s favorite producer of eye candy, Herm Productions. Not only was the lighting on stage impressive, but also in the forest surrounding the concert bowl. It was definitely one of the highlights of the festival.
Friday night closed with a good ole’ blue grass band, Blue Moon Soup. There’s something about dancing around in the summer nights to twangy blue grass that really makes one’s soul come alive. Blue Moon Soup has a special sound that mixes high powered blue grass with psychedelic break downs; it was a perfect addition to the selection of bands featured over the weekend. After a while I wondered back to the lake to watch the sun rise and enjoy the night with some of the amazing people at the Good People Good Times festival. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful day.
Day two featured some more amazing local artists such as Hyryder, a local Phish and Grateful Dead cover band that frequents The Mousetrap in Indy. They started the night nice and light, before The Mantras took the stage. The Mantras are from the East Coast and definitely brought a rock show. They played into the
sunset as the lights got brighter and the night time vibes set in. Kaleidoscope Jukebox followed The Mantras with a set of eclectic, tribal, electronic songs, as the crowed prepared for rain. The Rumpke Mountain Boys played into the rain and storm, not letting the weather break the strong blue grass beats. They played late into the night and beyond the rain storm and the crowd never seemed to dwindle. It was a night filled with energy.
Overall, this was a great weekend filled with great friends and great memories. If you are looking for a place where you can really feel the family energy and what it means to be part of the Midwest community, I suggest you look into Good People Good Times!
Quick! Blend a cup of Pretty Lights with the zest of one Polish Ambassador. Now add a smidgen of Griz, a dash of Zoogma, and a splash of vocals. Stir with a tablespoon of James Brown. And… voila! You’ve got something that might resemble The Floozies’ special recipe for their newest album, Tell Your Mother (found for free at flooziesduo.com).
Featuring 10 tracks of steady funk grooves and released under Griz’s record label, Liberated Music, it’s The Floozies’ first full-length studio album to date. Trust us, it doesn’t disappoint. Steeped in quirky drums, heavy synth work, and tight-yet-wacked-out guitar lines; Tell Your Mother characterizes The Floozies’ signature blend of EDM with all things funky.
For instance, take the track, “Love, Sex, and Fancy Things”. Starting with a slow, Curtis Mayfield tinged guitar riff, it quickly shifts to a hard-hitting glitch-funk banger worthy of any dance floor. Tracks like “Set Break” show a more laid back and melodic, yet still groovy, vibe. “One Word” takes it back up a notch to to alien level funk, throwing in a multitude of vocal samples and warped out synths to get the boogie going. “Italian Chandelier”, one of the more guitar-heavy tracks on Tell Your Mother, rounds out the album and shows why The Floozies are at the top of their game right now.
Spending the past year writing new material and honing their chops on the nightclub and festival circuits, these guys are a band to watch. With a heavy touring schedule, you should have a chance to catch them soon in a town near you. So, just as momma warned you, keep an eye out for those damn Floozies; the rest of the country seems to be. Just head over to their Facebook page and watch the number of likes skyrocket; they’ve gone up by 2000 since I started keeping track. Hell, do we smell a drinking game?
Corpse Manor’s theme and layout doesn’t change drastically from year to year, but the trained actors encountered throughout the house are highly interactive and provide a unique experience every single time. Spook Staffer Wes Ogden agrees, “The actors at Corpse Manor sold it for me- from their makeup to their voices to their oddly inhuman postures.”
Ogden also appreciated the well-developed theme of Corpse Manor.
The back story to Corpse Manor was a big bonus. They help bring you into the mindset of a true haunt, taking you to a more sinister mental place than you had planned or expected. After gaining admission, we were led to a doorway and met by a ghoulish witch who began to slowly spin us the tale of Lord Henry Calvert and his Corpse Manor. Calvert had purchased the Manor after moving from London to Indianapolis, and unaware to he and his wife, their house was built on an old graveyard. It is said that tombstones from the site were used in building the foundations of the mansion… and so began the story of the Corpse Manor.
After finishing our introduction into the background of ‘The Manor’, we proceeded inside to meet Igor. A slightly more decomposed version of the identically-named character from Young Frankenstein, he laid out the ground rules for our journey and sent us on our way into the mansion.
Once inside, I could see the effort that went into the making of this haunted attraction. The place was showered with creepy lighting and ghoulish monstrosities from floor to ceiling, edging our imaginations onto scarier and scarier suppositions. Inching our way through the multitude of doorways, no one knew what to expect. Each room had a different feel to it; as we went deeper and the scenery grew darker, I could feel the place envelop me as we tried to make it back out.
Night Shadows, the 2nd indoor attraction, abandons the home-like manor theme and opts for traditional styled scares, which allows for more flexibility in the haunt’s design. Outfitted with a totally-new and disorientating feature, Night Shadows is shorter than Corpse Manor but arguably more riveting.
Something felt a bit off at Corpse Manor this year. While the haunt was one of our favorites from 2012, we just didn’t get all that scared this year. When the Spook Staff returned a week after our original visit to hit up the outdoor Sinister Woods (it had been closed due to rain the previous weekend), we hoped to find a fully staffed forest of hillbillies. Instead, we waited in line longer than it took to get through the woods, as only one group was sent through at a time.
Indy Mojo Spook Staffer Morgan Brooke also left Corpse Manor feeling somewhat unsatisfied:
After experiencing two amazing haunts on Friday night (Piney Acres Haunted Corn Maze and Scarevania), this haunt didn’t quite meet my expectations. After waiting for quite a while, our group was finally let through. On one hand, the woods were decorated very creatively and definitely gave off a spooky vibe; the actors were very much on cue to frighten the living day lights out of us. Imagine being the prey of one decrepit butcher family and that’s what Sinister Woods feels like. We were definitely scared… but then all of a sudden it was over. The amount of time we waited, to only be in the woods for a few short minutes kind of ruined it for me. Corpse Manor has a really small area to work with, and with that in mind, I think they did a great job setting up the haunted area. If you’re scared to try haunted houses this year, this one is a good one to start out with and ease into. It’s pretty scary, but you’re in and out before you know it.
4700 N. Post Road
Indianapolis, IN 46226
(just south of Pendleton Pike on Post Road in the Post Road Recreation Center)
Corpse Manor and Night Shadows tickets: $15.00
Combo ticket (includes Corpse Manor, Night Shadows, and Sinister Woods): $20.00
Vip Pass Upgrade (avoid the lines; almost immediate access): $8.00
The Scarevania Haunted House in Muncie won major kudos from the Indy Mojo Spook Staff for their exquisite theming that’s consistent from the second you step foot outside your car until the moment you come running back to it in terror. Elaborate, menacing props adorn the rooftop of the building that houses the Scarevania haunted house. A fat, bearded lady and sinister devil on top of the room eye patrons from their vantage point as they approach the entrance. Carnival-style concessions and quirky signage further enhance the freak show format of Scarevania.
A roaming pair of clowns entertained us while waiting in line- one overwhelmingly flamboyant and chatty, the other uninterested and totally silent. Inside, we took in as much of the detailed rule-reading room as we could before being shooed into the haunt; clever signs and props lined the tall walls while the leader of Scarevania’s freak show posed for a photo and warned us not to touch the actors.
Scarevania employs a no-touching policy, but makes up for it in sheer numbers. Every room had at least two monsters, some as many as five or six. With constant attention coming from every angle, Scarevania’s indoor haunt leaves its victims feeling disorientated and overwhelmed. Special attention to costumes and makeup also solidifies Scarevania’s freak show format; our favorite characters included Pigman and the opening room’s nightmare baby.
An outdoor graveyard rounds out the Scarevania trip of terror. The spooks and scares are not as constant or jarring as the whirlwind of surprises inside but when they get you, they get you good.
Spook Staffer Morgan Brooke loved the intensity of Scarevania:
This haunted house went above and beyond–literally every three steps and around every corner there was something new and horrifying to continually keep us on edge. From the second we walked into the heavily-decorated, creepy building, we were instantly startled by the scariest looking child who sent chills down our spines. Every step of the way we were on look-out and these characters never ceased to execute on a scare. With several different disturbing scenarios, it was a mix of being in Saw, The Hills Have Eyes, and The Ring all at once. We got an all-around scare and the actors made sure we felt like it was real. Scarevania is definitely worth the drive to Muncie if you want a good spook, but if you’re looking for something to last for a while, this one is short and you’re in and out before you know it.
Spook Staff veteran Gwen Wilson sums up her Scarevania experience as follows:
If you ever wanted to be in a Rob Zombie movie, this is the place to go! The sick and twisted world of Scarevania left me in utter terror. The hunted attraction literally taps into everything freakishly grueling and gives their guests an uncomfortable constant scare! The acting was amazing, especially the demented cemetery girl that rushed at us in convulsions and spasms. This haunt is for people that can handle true gore and horror!
Though some would argue that the trip to Muncie from Indianapolis isn’t worth the 20 or 30 minutes of entertainment you’ll find at Scarevania, we would still encourage anyone looking for something new to gather a group of their friends and head north.
1911 N. Granville Ave., Muncie, Indiana 47303
October 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, & 31; 8 pm – 12 am weekends; 8 pm – 11 pm weeknights
Edge of Insanity lurks the quiet farm country of small town Indiana whose charm is unbeknownst to most city folk. As we made our way down the driveway, I found numerous signs describing local charities and organizations that the haunt supports (also significant: the owner’s backstory). A modest menu of home-cooked food (including $1 slices of meatloaf) was offered at a box truck nearby. We were greeted along the way not by ghouls & goblins but smiling faces of normal people.
Inside, however, was a different story. Themed as an insane asylum hidden in the outskirts of Kokomo, this interactive haunted house takes a unique approach by pairing its victims with a tour guide who’s also part of the attraction. Our escort’s name was Nurse Alice and she seemed thrilled to have visitors at the hospital. As she introduced us to Weitle Asylum and began to tell us the rules, she was interrupted by The Doctor who grabbed her by the hair and demanded she fetch patient #5. Our presence was hardly noted by The Doctor as he threatened Alice and tossed her about. She promised she’d find the patient as quickly as possible and motioned for us to follow.
As we twisted and turned through the halls of Weitle Asylum, Alice continued to entertain us with her senseless chatter and animated mannerisms. She spoke to us, reacted to the things we were saying, and did whatever it took to appease The Doctor every time he crossed our path. The pressure was always on since we never left Alice’s side and her role was integral in achieving the authentic feel of an asylum.
The climax came when we entered the loft- a long hallway lined with cells full of demented patients hungry for human contact. Indy Mojo Spook Staffer Brendon Riha noted this as his favorite part of the haunt:
As a first time visitor to Edge of Insanity I was very impressed by the upstairs loft of the asylum. As we were led by our guide, we headed up a flight of stairs to a narrow hallway of jail cells. I thought this part was really creative and surreal, as each cell had a different patient and type of scare to it. It was a nice twist to a popular theme of the insane asylum.
Once outside of Weitle Asylum, the fun continues with a wacky trip through the graveyard. Illuminated with just the right amount of erie green light and stocked with plenty of rambunctious shadows, the graveyard acts as a permanent home for the institution’s tortured souls. The previous night’s rainfall had been soaked up by a thick blanket of mulch- an gesture we were quite thankful for- that enabled us to safely and cleanly walk the outdoor path.
Edge of Insanity’s unique guided tour sets them apart from most other central Indiana haunts. For the format to be successful and believable, professional actors are a necessity. Alice and the rest of the residents at Waverly pulled it off and made our experience a memorable one.
Brandon Connolly (who also wrote the opening quote) sums up his experience at Edge of Insanity:
A majority of the staff studies Theater at Indiana University Kokomo, and it really shows. Actors grabbed, slapped, and pulled the hair of their fellow staff, but don’t worry: they enforce a no-touch policy to keep the madness at bay. The characters were engaging and entertaining throughout the whole experience. Edge of Insanity is a fine choice for first-timers, children, and veteran haunted house goers alike, and its support of local charities is admirable.
EDITOR’S NOTE TO INDIANAPOLIS RESIDENTS: The drive to the north side of Kokomo from Indianapolis takes well over an hour. Edge of Insanity is most convenient for residents of Kokomo and surrounding areas, but we recommend the attraction nonetheless.
5635 N US31 00 EW, Kokomo, Indiana 46901
October 19th & 20th, 26th & 27th; November 2nd; 8 – 11 pm.
$8 per person
Festival goers were already pouring into Opti Park at 5:15 when I arrived at the opening day of Wheel House Festival. A Squared Industries were definitely doing an ace job of kicking off the party. I could hear Daft Punk as I approached the gates, which to me, is always a good sign. Even though it wasn’t even 6:00 p.m., A Squared definitely gave off that midnight party vibe and it was a great way to start the festival.
Keys N’ Krates came on next and though I’d never seen them before, I was pleasantly surprised by their vibe and how they got the crowd hyped. The best word I’ve heard used to describe their overall sound is “Dream-Trap.” They have this atmospheric, melodic sound that creates an interesting juxtaposition to say the least, with the trap music they also play. They did a nice job of interacting with the crowd; talking about how they drove down to Indy from Toronto, and my favorite part of the set, where Jr. Flow did some solo scratching; a fine display of turntablism indeed. Adam the drummer also got a fancy little showcase and it was a great demonstration on how “EDM” artists can actually be talented musicians. From these solos, they went into some sort of mix of “Bittersweet Symphony” and the crowd was all about it. It was both interesting and refreshing to hear familiar songs like “I’m a Hustler” “On to the Next One” and, “Go DJ” with both a trap beat and a melodic, atmospheric background. I could appreciate their uniqueness and originality. Their final track was fun, energetic and eased the crowd into a more escalated party mode that would only continue to build throughout the night.
Flosstradamus was a bro’s traptastic wet dream. This was an extremely high energy set that was perfectly timed for the large crowd increase that poured into the festival during this time slot. They had the crowd chanting, bouncing, screaming, making bro-tem poles…yes; apparently this is a thing. I saw go-go dancers, a dude with a hugenormous mohawk, a girl in nothing but panties, a turnt-up crowd screaming, “Face down, ass up!” “No pants girl,” “No shirt girl,” some dubstep “wobwobwobs,” some Benny Benassi “Satisfaction” remix that was honestly less than stellar (Shy guy’s is exponentially better, if you’ve heard it), Kendrick Lamar tracks, Lana Del Rey remixes into Rick Ross, and Major Lazer, the crowd yelling “Fuck a P.O., Fuck a piss test!” repeatedly, and a new original track titled, “Mosh Pit.” Although this type of music is not my personal cup of tea, I could definitely appreciate how hyped the crowd was and what a good time they all seemed to be having. I saw that it is possible to be a good performer no matter what type of music you are making.
By the time headliner Paul Oakenfold exploded into his trancetastic set, the crowd was ready to get buck wild. This veteran of the electronic music scene truly knows how to manipulate a crowd and give the people what they want. The crowd had grown; seemingly tripled what it had been just an hour prior, and every face I could see throughout the crowd appeared to be smiling. The lighting, sound, and visual experience was overall impressive. All through the crowd I could see glowing objects, spinning things, hula hoops, fire dancers, bromance, hugs, high-fives, and a peaceful, happy camaraderie that made me have a warm feeling in my belly…that, and the Sun King…
Much to my dismay, I didn’t make the after party at The Vogue that night, but word on the street was, and I’m talkin’ from legit, reliable resources, that Gerald Collins, a.k.a. Cadillac G completely dominated the after party in every way, and made everyone drool and go completely batshit crazy. The Facebook posts were abundant, and I heard about it the entire next day of the festival; from multiple decent folks. Very sad I had to miss that, but I know I will get to see him again soon, and I’d encourage you all to do the same. You can check him out with the the CRUSH Entertainment crew, catch him spinning throughout the city, and hear his sounds here.
On the second day of the festival, I arrived partway into X5ight’s set. I heard a track that sampled “Rock the Casbah” from one of my favorite bands of all time, The Clash. This was the highlight of their set for me; the remainder was a lot of party rock-type tracks, and it was just too early in the day and the crowd hadn’t gathered yet. They did start the days festivities off on an upbeat, party hype mode, and I think the crowd appreciated that.
Shy Guy Says came on next, and despite some sound issues, his set was phenomenal. Of all the performers I have seen; both local and national, Shy Guy Says places more enthusiasm and passion into his sets than anyone I’ve watched. He puts seemingly everything he has into his sets, and it SHOWS, and it always makes for an entertaining set. Whether you enjoy the type of music he produces, which most seem to, or not, the one thing absolutely certain is that this guy is a natural born entertainer, and he has a large fan base that seemingly worships him, and that’s saying something. He plays in Bloomington, Indianapolis at IndyMojo events, festivals such as Hyperion, MojoStock, and more than once he’s flown across the country to play in places as far as Idaho. Although a long time local favorite, he is someone to watch and expect to blow up nationally and maybe even worldwide in the coming months/year. Some highlights of his set were when he played his rendition of “Satisfaction,” which was exponentially better than the group I heard mix it on the night before. The diversity of his set was also noteworthy. I heard everything from reggae, to dubstep, to hip hop and trap, to some melodic “pretty” sounds all within an hour… One entertaining aspect of Shy Guy’s performances is the use of his hands…and not as in controlling the equipment. I mean the hand motions/gestures he makes. At times, it seems as if he is literally using his hands as magic wands that control the music that is coming out…like some sort of wicked symphony maestro conductor guy. The crowd grew rapidly midway through his set and he officially got everyone in “all the way turnt up” mode.
Action Jackson was up next and his set was, to be completely honest, even though it sounds generic, FUN. Chances are if you live in this city and you go out to bars and clubs, you know and/or have seen Ben Action Jackson “in action,” but if not, I strongly urge you to do so. He is so eclectic and diverse, and really just completely equipped to read and satisfy any crowd; a true talent in itself. The crowd had grown by this point and everyone piled in the front to check out the set. Some of the things I heard during his set: Lil Jon, Ludacris, some electro-house, some dubstep “woop woop bleep bleep wob wob wob” sounds, some Latin flavor/salsa type/worldly sounds, hip hop flavor, arena rock anthems, some badass electronic version of Listen to Your Heart by Roxette, Jay Z’s Dirt off ya Shoulda, Move Bitch, Get out the Way, and Lana Del Rey… this really kicked off my day and got me in serious raging-face status, along with seemingly everyone else.
Salva came on at 3:15 and although I admittedly hadn’t heard his music before the festival, I’m vouching for this fella and pledging that going forward, I will check out what he’s doing. He was a truly impressive performer, and that is coming from someone who is not easily impressed. A notable point about his performance was that I did not see any laptop on stage with him, which intrigued me. Salva played everything from “EDM/electro” to dubstep to trap; and he was visibly into what he was playing. He actually appeared passionate about what he was doing and that always makes a performance better. He was really in a zone for a minute and I just really enjoyed his enthusiasm and it was refreshing to see someone new, playing music in genres that aren’t normally my “wheel house” but still thoroughly enjoy.
The other admirable thing about Salva is that he seriously knows how to use a mixer. He made me want to really let go and dance for the first time of the day as he played some trap, some trance-ish stuff, some hip hop, some melodic stuff, into some booty house, into a mix of that “Woke up in a New Bugatti” song that at least 3 other artists did that weekend, but none as cool as his. The variety in his set was seemingly widely adored. Salva wins my award for biggest surprise/best set by someone I’d never heard before. I’m a new fan, most definitely.
Araab Muzik‘s set consisted of trap and dubstep, scantily clad dancers, and drum machines. The two highlights of the set were hearing a mix of “Welcome to Jamrock” by Damian Marley as well as Flux Pavillion’s “Got 2 Know.”
FIGURE @ Wheel House
The sun was high in the sky as the people starting making their way up front for FIGURE‘s show. The king of Drumstep was about to take the stage, armed with his MIDI fighter, a shit-ton of new beats from his new OWSLA release, and even some unreleased surprises. The crowd started growing as to the biggest the day had seen as he played one of his signature tracks, Dominate, in which the BPM shifts five times in a four minute time span. Figure’s horror tracks were not left out as he murdered the crowd with Michael Myers…highlight for me, and the grand finale was Cas One coming out to rap his verse from Doomsday. Cas One had the whole crowd pointing their “guns” at him as if to shoot him as the drop hit and he stage dove into them. This was a truly remarkable performance from one of Indiana’s own, and left a lasting impression with several festival goers. Several reputable musicians and fans alike stated that Figure’s set was the highlight of the festival for them.
The moment that everyone had been anxiously awaiting for two days had at long last arrived. 7:00 p.m. Crystal Method take the stage for a now massive crowd who all went berserk as the sound exploded from the speakers. Instantly I was mentally and emotionally transported back to 1999 when I first saw the Crystal Method on the Family Values Tour; I felt 19 years old again, and I literally had goosebumps and cold chills.
They used these amazing contraptions that combined cdjs, multiple guitars, and a keyboard or controller of some sort, and it was truly unique and impressive. The quality of their performance, both aesthetically and audibly, was impeccable.. Watching the crowd as well as CM, I took special notice of the facial expressions and it was truly awe-inspiring to see the pure bliss and amazement of the faces of the awe-struck fans. One really moving thing was seeing the new fans and the old fans enjoying the hell out of this show in a beautiful display of togetherness and simultaneous elation. I heard a lot of material from their first albums during the set and that was a great surprise. One of two paramount moments of the set for me was when they broke into “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. The crowd; myself included, went absolutely bananas times 12. I actually squealed uncontrollably at the “Satan laughing spreads his wings….OH LORD YEAH” part. I mean, literally shrieked like a toddler. It was almost overwhelming; I may have even shed a tear. The other amazing moment, and this one touched the hearts of MANY people I talked to after the show, was, if I remember correctly, sometime around when they played Busy Child– when one of the members gave mad props to our city and expressed to the crowd the importance of supporting our local music scene because, “…without it, things like this can’t happen.” The crowd again went wild, and it was very moving and heartwarming to hear someone of such stature pay such a kind tribute to Indianapolis and intently urge the continuing supporting of our amazing local scene. Crystal Method’s set was beyond the shadow of a doubt, the musical highlight of my entire weekend, and maybe even the entire summer.
Wolfgang Gartner appeared as the final act of the night and the entire festival, the crowd to what looked to be the largest it had been the entire weekend. Familiar tracks such as Space Junk, Redline, One in a Million-Charlie Darker, and Love and War were played, the lighting was so perfect and built and exploded at all the right times.
Near the very end of the set, Wolfgang Gartner disappeared and Joey Youngman came out… this, for me was the highlight of the set. For the next several minutes I was in House Music heaven as Joseph Youngman dropped some proper Chicago House on our heads. I was fortunate enough to be standing next to phenomenal local talents Rudy Kizer and Richard Jangatha/jFET, both of which are extremely appreciative of that Chicago House sound, and their faces appeared to light up just as mine did. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that EVERYONE was dancing by the end of this set and I don’t know that there could have been a more perfect way to end Wheel House Festival. Check out this YouTube video featuring part of the set.
The after party at the Vogue already had a line wrapped around the building when we arrived shortly after the end of the festival. Helicon, Gabby Love, Lockstar, Bad Boy Bill & Richard Vission, and Bryan Downs collectively put on the best party I have ever been to, and that’s a very bold but true statement. The Vogue was absolutely packed and everyone showed up with dancing shoes on. There were 8 cdj’s on stage, and the sound was banging. The dance floor was packed from beginning to end. It was like everyone didn’t want to let Wheel House Festival go, and we all held on to the after party for dear life so that it would never have to end.
Wheel House Festival was, according to everyone I know who attended–as well as strangers, a complete success. On all of the Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts, I have yet to see a negative comment about the festival or the after parties, and that is beyond impressive; especially for a first-year festival. Wheel House will most definitely be an annual tradition for my friends and I and something that I look forward to all year long. Wheel House was an all-around win for sure.
Here are some good quotes from our local musicians, promoters and friends:
Gabby Love: “I’m semi-recovered from this amazing weekend and finally have enough whits about me to express my love and gratitude to my DJ/promoter extended family and the people who came out this weekend to enjoy some amazing music and talent at Wheel House and The Vogue. What a BLAST! The festival had great turnout and I heard nothing but good things from people who attended. The Vogue was absolutely bananas Saturday night. That was one of the best parties I have ever been to, and I have been to quite a few. And opening up for the DJ that solidified me having to become a DJ (Bad Boy Bill) was a personal highlight and am so beyond thankful for the opportunity. I just want to thank all those involved in putting on such a great weekend of music and 2 rocking after-parties. I love that we can all come together and support each other and do amazing things! Much love and respect !!! ….This weekend was the definition of plurnt-ness… So amazing!”
Antik One: “I loved some of the subtle statements that Crystal Method made during their set… As well as the very blatant. It was great to see someone so influential make these statements publicly to the event goers. Most importantly “support your local scene, without it things like this can’t happen.”
Gizzmo: “Crystal Method was the highlight of my one day visit. It was great to see a crowd of kids getting down to a couple of guys I’ve been getting down to since I was a kid. Was also nice to hear stuff that wasnt watered down poppy “dance music”. The festival was all about hanging out with the family for me though. I wasn’t expecting to be 100% into the music but still enjoyed a good chunk of it.”
DJ Mass Appeal: “I’m so proud of my city. The level of sponsorship was fantastic; from the food trucks to the vendors to the sponsors, the response from the Indy music scene was amazing.”
Rudy Kizer: “I’m just really happy we are able to have this here. The last time we had something like this was Identity Festival. The rave days are gone; in the past, an event like this would’ve had to be in an old abandoned grocery store. …I was glad to see Wolfgang Gartner still maintaining, All things considered, we had good weather, a good crowd; I’m really pleased with the turnout; and it was good to see a new and different crowd as well.
Cadillac G: (When asked who he’d seen at the festival that he hadn’t previously had a chance to see) “Paul Oakenfold is a legend. He was really one of the first “big time” dj’s. Wolfgang Gartner definitely reached another level; that was some proper house. I’m really excited for Richard Vission at the after party; proper DJ shit. He’s been pushing the envelope since forever. Good skill and turntablism.”
Shy Guy Says: (When asked what the highlight of the festival was for him) “For me probably watching Figure’s set, watching Cas One’s stage dive, or just being able to stand like 10 feet away from The Crystal Method backstage. Playing the show was cool, but I was just excited to be around all the awesome talent.”
Hugh Jeffner: Mad respect to Slater Hogan, John Larner, Keepin IT Deep The Vogue, Steve, Drew Arness,Crush Ent Ron Miner, Gabby Love , Lockstar , Rad Summer, A2 ,Andy Skinner, Annie Skinner, Jason King, Matt Ramsey, IndyMojo, Nuvo, RadioNow100.9 , Switch District, Jeff Long, Sinclair Wheeler, Studio 77, James Meiser Lindy Meiser, Buck Rodgers , Action Jackson , Ryan Hickey Rachel Rubenstein… If I missed anybody it’s not intentional. Tonight I am watching Wheel House. I am so proud to be an Indianapolis DJ. This isn’t about radio, cliques, it’s about a city coming together and putting their personal ish aside for the greater good of our music scene. F………. Proud moment…drinks ups Indy! Today is a good day – Ice Cube….
Joseph Franklin/DJ Iron Lion: “Indianapolis is really starting to shine!!! Couldn’t have said it better Hugh Jeffner. So proud of Slater Hogan/John Larner, Annie Skinner/Andy Skinner, Jason King/Matt Ramsey, and all people involved in putting together Wheel House Festival. Let’s keep this ball rolling Indy!!”
Jason King-IndyMojo: “Thanks and praises to Matt Schwegman from The Vogue. I see lots of promoters flexing this weekend, but proper respect needs to be given to the man who made it all happen”
Take a moment to let us know! What was YOUR favorite moment from Wheel House Festival?
photo credits: Keith Griner/FX Media/Phierce Photography, Matt Ramsey, Matt Duncan, Life of the Party Entertainment
Bright Light Social Hour
Bright Light Social Hour played The Letting Go Stage to an early afternoon crowd. The sun was shining bright, but the constant sea breeze kept things comfortably cool. I learned in an interview earlier in the day with Bright Light Social Hour that the band has been building their own studio and plan to have a new album ready by early next year. Fans attending their Hangout performance got a sample of plenty of new songs guaranteed to be on said album, including “Sea of the Edge”, a slow groovy song with hints of electronic undertones- something the band claims to have been experimenting with lately.
They also played from their self-titled 2010 album, being careful not to rush soulful ballads like “Detroit”, while letting it all out on their strongest songs such as “Shanty”. After having spent substantial time touring in Canada over the last few years, Bright Light Social Hour seemed to have a special fondness for the long “u” sound our northern neighbor’s accent is characterized by.
“If you were Canadian, we’d be at The Hang Ooot!” bassist and vocalist Jack O’Brien shouted.
Later this week, look for footage of my interview with Bright Light Social hour to learn more about two years of constant touring and the music they were brought up with that helped shape their sound today.
The Roots played at 3:45 on the Chevrolet Stage at the opposite end of the beach from the headlining Hangout Stage. The late afternoon set on the sun soaked sand made it one of the warmest performances of the day. The Roots brought it hard, also making it one of the most active of the day.
They opened with “Table Of Contents (Part 1 & 2)” which led seamlessly into “Proceed II”. Not 20 minutes in, a cover of “Jungle Boogie” made sure anyone who wasn’t getting down finally rose to dance. Later, another schizophrenic medley of covers brought a special Roots rendition of the Donna Summer classic “Love To Love You Baby” which led into “Sweet Child Of Mine” followed by “Bad To The Bone”.
The Roots were highly adaptable and appealing to most any age and musical taste. From the sexy slow jams inspired by their earliest years of development to the modern sounds of intelligent hip hop and banging beats- the band made it clear that they’re more than just “the house band for Jimmy Fallon” when given the opportunity to shine in the spotlight.
As they neared the end of their long and physically-demanding set, The Roots never wavered in persistence and grit. Even as they exited the stage soaked in sweat, they danced and moved with much gusto and easily took the rights to the best show of the day.
Bassnectar vs. Slightly Stoopid
An hour and a half later, Bassnectar strategically started his set on the same stage with an unhurried attention to detail. After engaging in bass foreplay for the better part of the first half of his set, Bassnectar finally went into assault mode and handed over the mind-blowing drops that the ragers had come for.
Meanwhile, others sought refuge from the heavy bass on the Letting Go Stage with Slightly Stoopid’s chilled out, vibey set. One friend of mine noted a surprisingly small amount of reggae performers on the Hang Out’s bill, given the fact that it’s a beach festival. It seemed unfair to slot Slightly Stoopid opposite Bassnectar and immediately before Tom Petty- arguably two of the biggest draws of The Hangout. Slightly Stoopid took it in stride, however, and seemed to enjoy their time on stage and the opportunity to open for such a legend.
The beach was comfortably packed for Tom Petty with festival goers sprawled out across the sand- some standing, but many relaxing on blankets and tapestries for the duration.
The set was packed full of classics such as “I Won’t Back Down”, “Free Fallin’”, and “Don’t Come Around Here No More” but also featured songs from the 2010 Mojo album, as well as a Traveling Willburys track.
While the show was not bad, it was not particularly memorable, either. Petty’s set never reached the full two hours it was scheduled for (he concluded almost 20 minutes before he was to end) and lacked in energy and excitement.
When Petty concluded, a fireworks show filled the sky above The Hangout Stage as festival goers began to file off of the beach and back to their respective beach houses and condos to rest for the final day of The Hangout.
When “home” at a festival means having a beach house with a bed, a shower, and a pool it’s a lot harder to rise and kick off the day each morning. Tempted by the lure of sunbathing and day drinking, I found the discipline to get over to The Hangout on Friday in time to see The Sheepdogs’ early afternoon set. The band was featured on the August 2011 cover of Rolling Stone- the first unsigned act ever to do so- for winning the “Choose The Cover” competition. They’ve since come out with a 17-track album and have been touring heavily in support of the work. Their sound was reminiscent of The Black Keys’ dirty swamp rock, but customized with a special southern twang and soul.
Jim James took the sandy Hangout Stage Stage looking as dapper as he does on the cover of his 2013 solo album Regions of Light and Sound of God. Looking onto the modest crowd that had assembled for his 3:45 set, James’ long curly hair blew carelessly as the afternoon sea breeze swirled around him. Sticking to new material from his latest release, James opened with “State of the Art – A.E.I.O.U.” He darted back and forth across the stage and gestured as if he was tossing vowels into the audience as he sang each letter of the song. James’ magnificent voice characterized the set as mystic and enchanting, albeit less active and involved than a typical My Morning Jacket show. James’ guitar rested on a stand which he returned to play sporadically, though he mostly just sang and danced on stage with a curious, childlike innocence.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis started their set 10 minutes late, but it didn’t matter to trap-loving crowd waiting to pop tags with him inside of The Boom Boom tent. When they finally started, the audience found the beat and went straight to work busting out their sexiest dance moves.
“This is the first day of the festival. Day one is upon us,” Macklemore announced after the opening track concluded.
“How many white people are already sunburnt?” he asked and, after waiting a few moments concluded, “That’s 100% of the white people.”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ensured their performance was engaging by incorporating more into their show than just rapping over beats- namely through utilization of a trumpet-playing hype man who followed Macklemore around the stage. Just a few songs into his set, Macklemore started an interactive speech that lasted several minutes that would eventually become the lead in to “Thrift Shop”.
“I always like to see what people are wearing at the festival. The people at The Hangout Fest have the best style,” he said, stroking the egos of hundreds of barely-clothed festival-goers. He added, “But I can’t believe no one wore a fur jacket!”
One fur jacket eventually appeared above the crowd on the far left side of the stage. Macklemore asked its owner to crowd surf the jacket to the front. “Not the girlfriend wearing it, just the jacket,” he instructed as the coat made its way to the stage.
Macklemore expressed eagerness to try on the coat, which he called “an Alabama cheetah”. Pulling a fast one over the crowd, he thanked them for their time and falsely concluded his set as soon as the fur coat was in his possession. The audience booed as he walked off stage before the all-too-familiar “Thrift Shop” intro music began. He stormed back on stage and the audience erupted in cheers.
It was surprising to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis bust out their biggest hit so early in the set; I’m not sure how many people actually stuck around for the remainder of the performance, as I was one of the many who cleared out after getting my fix of guilty pleasure. Most people headed to The Hangout Stage to catch the second half of Passion Pit; I opted for a resting period in the shade with a Cajun shrimp po’boy sandwich.
As alluded to in yesterday’s recap, I choose to attend an intimate set with Anders Osborne in the 7:30-8:30 hour while the rest of the festival split in half for The Shins and Big Gigantic and couldn’t have been happier that I did. Dressed in a green Gov’t Mule t-shirt and sandals with a ragged Jamaica ball camp that allowed his wild, curly hair to peak out the bottom, Osborne looked like just another guy on stage until he strapped on his guitar and went to work. His arms were lined with slate-grey, aged tattoos that reminded me of my dad, while his accompanying bass player’s casual attire and middle-of-back long hair reminded me of one of my dad’s friends. The pair were joined a drummer and made for, as one of my crowd neighbors observed, “one hell of a power trio”. Osborne played with heart and compassion- sometimes marching in place and vigorously shaking his head, other times so overtaken by the music that he bent over in convulsions as he strummed his guitar. With most songs exceeding 10 or 12 minutes, the small, cozy full blown jam fest was unquestionably better than whatever was happening elsewhere at the festival.
I eventually headed over to The Letting Go Stage to catch the final minutes of Big Gigantic’s set. Unfortunately, I found myself mocking the band’s front man Dominic Lalli for saying dumb brotastic things like “Let’s fuckin’ rock this shit” and describing his music as “brand new ass shit”. When they were done, I left before even allowing myself the opportunity to make fun of the night’s headliners, Kings of Leon.
Today I’m talking to Bright Light Social Hour and anticipating their set to be the most under-hyped of the day, possibly weekend. I’m also looking forward to a chill headlining set with Tom Petty- undoubtedly the perfect come down from the 7:30 ragefest with Beachnectar. Stay tuned for more coverage tomorrow!