Monday May, 27 – Sunday, June 2
The Week in Bunbury: Cincinnati’s music festival Bunbury never makes the top “Must See” music festival lists that come out every year. But it’s our little festival and I support it enthusiastically every year.
Here are some stories:
The Week in Poppy: The entertainer/brand Poppy generally lingers on social media where fans argue whether she is a real person or artificially generated, and, either way, is she a boy or a girl? On the music front, which is what brought her to Bunbury, her stuff is catchy and simple. Her most known songs are I am Poppy, Computer Boy, and Lowlife. Her videos are wild, her stage persona is somewhere between restrained and non-existence.
One of her songs is called “Where is My Microphone” a song about, (…I’m just going to insert this pause so you can think what the song is about…) it’s about her asking for help finding her microphone. It is exactly that deep. Played live, as she sings into the “lost” microphone, it plays as weird cosmic joke, and her and her band stretched out the “gag” to an incredibly uncomfortable amount of time. She may have accidentally become the Andy Kaufman of this generation.
The Week in NF: The Rapper NF is firmly in the Eminem school of Rap, and I mean that as a compliment. NF has a positive and cleanish message, rooted in his Christianity, but he’s rapping about life, not God per se. I liked him even though it all sounded pretty much alike to me, which is how I hear him on the radio, too. In fact, I learned something after hearing him sing Let You Down and I wondered why he left out the rap part. What I learned was the “rap part” was actually in a another song, “Lie.” I’m an idiot.
One last thing about NF – He comes to the stage with a big ass cage and I’m all ready for metaphors about freedom and such. A cage is a great prop for emotionally driven music. Instead, he only used the cage for one song (nope, I don’t know which song). He climbed on top of the cage, jumped on it, sat on it, and climbed down. Pointless.
The Week in Reignwolf: At festivals I hang with a group of friends who tend to love music closer to pop than rock. For them, rock/blues guitarist Reignwolf was a big pile of NOPE. I however, was drawn to the opening sounds of his set like a moth to a flame.
He and his band (a drummer and bass guitar player) sat bunched up on one side of the stage like the were playing in a tiny dive bar, not on a festival main stage. When Reignwolf was alone on stage, he sat at the drum set with his guitar laid across, simultaneously banging the rhythm and banging on the guitar. (Sadly, no pic) The dude was worked up.
In his final song, with the band on stage, he was bringing it so hard he knocked over the mic and pulled out the plug of his guitar. He started screaming to the audience to hold on. He and his base player scrambled to reconfigure the amps on stage. He got plugged in, screamed into the not working mic for the sound guy to turn it a “fucking high as it will go,” and once that was done, he jumped into the audience to finish the set. It was a total balls to the wall, nuts performance Music (as in the music industry) is so buttoned up and choreographed these days it was great to see this guy work his ass off to make sure the audience was satisfied.
The Week in Great Music: My favorites (for seeing full shows or like 90% of the show) – Jukebox the Ghost, the Aces, Girl Talk, Reignwolf, The 1975, AWOL Nation, Shaed and Fall Out Boy. My Favorites where I caught a couple songs but would have like to see more – Halfnoise, You vs. Yesterday and Bulow.
The Week and Getting Down: For the first 2 1/2 days of the festival, I often found myself standing close to the various stages near a guy, maybe in his 60s, who looked happy enough, and appreciative of the music, but he was decidedly still through the performances. And then the rap duo Run the Jewels showed up and this dude threw his hands in the air and started dancing and screaming. That was followed by Girl Talk, where we met up again, and he was super into that. He really brought a great big smile to my face.