RG’s Independent’s Day picks – 2016 edition
One of my favorite festivals is upon us yet again. Independent’s Day is much more than a music festival but of course there’s quite a diverse lineup this year. Here are some artists I’m stoked about that I think people should be stoked about too. Be sure to check out the complete schedule here.
Headrush – It’s going to be a competition between these guys and Nuclear Moms for the most chaotic set, but I think Headrush will run for having the most lively pit. Chris Lane has a commanding presence as lead vocalist and drummer Mike White is set to whip people into a frenzy whether he’s behind the kit or not.
Nuclear Moms – Columbus Alive’s Andy Downing sheepishly introduced these guys at Skully’s by simply saying “brace yourself, it’s Nuclear Moms.” The first time I saw these guys a beat up couch and tube-TV playing static was involved. It’s amazing what chaos can be cooked up with drums, a bassist, and one very raw set of vocal cords.
Nes Wordz – When skimming through the ID playlist on Spotify the sheer amount of fun packed into the track by Nes Wordz stood out to me. I’m still a novice when it comes to the hip hop scene in Columbus, but even I would tell you that you’d be missing out on a lot if you gave the majority of the lineup in the Gritty City area of ID a pass. Plus, the few beats I’ve heard I find to be really fresh and creative.
The Cordial Sins – This sunny indie rock collective just released a new single and they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Expect warm dreamy rock that’s ideal for a daytime set at a music festival. Just in time for the festival, the band has released a new song titled “Go On” which is some of their strongest work to date. The track somehow manages to be laid back and intense at the same time, and I think we owe that to the contrasting adrenaline-inducing guitar work of Corey Dickerson and confident, smooth vocals of Liz Fisher. One of Columbus’ music power couples for sure. Pick up the song here.
Indigo Wild – These guys I first heard about through my friends in Deadwood Floats, and was made a fan upon the release of their impressive single “High Point,” a fun live show at Rumba Cafe alongside Playing to Vapors, and an appearance on Audiotree. See these guys now, because the release of their album early next year (?) could be a game changer for them (in a very good way).
Fashion Week – These guys have quietly been releasing catchy pop rock in Columbus for nearly the entire time I’ve been running this blog, and yet somehow seem to be perpetually under the radar. Hopefully, ID will be the start of a process of Fashion Week emerging into a wider spotlight. The songs are pensive in a catchy way.
Vesperteen – Speaking of emerging, Vesperteen is at a point where the US at large is starting to take notice. Undoubtedly, Colin Rigsby’s close relationship with twenty one pilots drummer Josh Dun helps, but Vesperteen’s debut EP was one of my favorite releases all of 2015. These songs have mass appeal and they are fun live. They are also very personal and layered – even the “happy at first glance” “Shatter in the Night.”
Phantods – This band is a bit before my time, but they were still one of the first local bands I heard of once I started really paying attention to the Columbus scene. Also, I know if I don’t include them on this list someone in the Columbus scene is going to yell at me! But in all seriousness, the hype is real for their set, and who knows if they’ll ever reunite again?
The Lost Revival – I didn’t think I’d EVER get to see these guys again. Watching these guys play at Kobo gave me an epiphany of just how in love with local level music it was possible to fall. I hope I get to hear “Two Minus One Equals One” this weekend, in addition to the new material. Expect warm harmonies and some sort of memorable antic from drummer Chris Cheeseman.
Moira – I’m not sure how this band that I was introduced to in a very dark setting will translate into a midday set, but they are a rare breed in Ohio (making them a nice grab for ID). Fine Animal, a dream pop act, recently relocated from Columbus to Portland, OR and there is definitely a void they left behind. Though there was certainly room for Moira to flourish alongside Fine Animal, the void just may pave a path for the guys and gal to make a big, albeit hushed, statement.
New Thousand – What do you get when you combine the spirit of New Orleans, Columbus, and improved electronica/violin/trap goodness? Something like New Thousand. My friend Ben Leubitz (of BravoArtist) tipped me off to these guys a few months ago, letting me know they were special. Apparently lots of folks agree already.
All Them Witches – I haven’t seen many folks talk a lot about this last minute addition to the fest. But their gritty slightly southern version of loud rock and roll has me stoked. Plus, this memorable fest will give a band from Nashville something to talk about in regard to Columbus when they return, and hopefully strengthen the relationship between the two music cities.