Photos by David Rubene
One day festivals are the best. It gives me a chance to get my ginger skin some sun and to have a couple drinks with friends while listening to all sorts of music. Unlike a weekend festival with multiple stages, there is no stress of having two bands that you want to see playing at the same time on stages that are miles away. It’s perfect. You can stand there, sipping your drink and just take it all in while beads of sweat roll down your back. If you ask me, a day festival is the perfect way to spend your Sunday.
Yesterday was one of these perfect days thanks to local radio station Go96.3 and their “Go Fest ’17“.
Local songstress, Jeanne Taylor kicked off the day with her pop sound that seemed to be the perfect warm-up for what was to come for the next seven hours. As she sang, my eyes started to wander around and size up the crowd a bit. The more I watched the crowd, the more I realized that I was definitely one of the oldest people in the audience and one of the most clothed. I don’t know why I was so shocked as this seems to be how many of the audiences at shows like this are. I leaned against the wall of The Cabooze, sipping my drink and people watching with a grin on my face.
Following the short set from Jeanne Taylor was a quick set from Whosah. These guys are quickly becoming one of my favorite local acts. Sure, their music is a bit more upbeat than what I’m used to but their energy is electric and I love it. Their singer has a problem with standing still and his dance moves are nothing short of awkward. It makes their live show relatable in a way. I can’t dance at all but, hey, look at this kid on stage… he can’t either and he doesn’t seem to care. Their music, as mentioned, is super upbeat but has a hint of Foxy Shazam when it comes to the vocals. It was the perfect set to get me pumped for what was to come.
Step Rockets were the final local act to take the stage. All I knew about these guys was that they won some contest to open up for Bon Jovi a couple of months ago. They hit the stage with a sense of power and seemed to really get the growing crowd ready for the onslaught of touring acts that was to come.
The first touring act to take the stage was The Unlikely Candidates. These guys had the most “rock” feel to them and had a super high energy live show that had me falling in love with this group with every note. Singer Kyle Morris jumped into the small gap between the stage and crowd and sang directly to the crowd while his band continued playing on stage without missing a beat. With a couple of hit songs and only two EP’s out there, I am more than excited to see what this band’s future holds.
MUNA and The Naked & Famous followed The Unlikely Candidates with their radio-friendly female fronted pop songs. Both groups had a sense of energy about them that seemed to run through the audience like electricity. The crowd sang along to the songs that they had heard on the radio and seemed to truly enjoy hearing other songs from each of these groups. The crowd seemed to be in a daze while watching MUNA power through their set with a sense of almost aggression and their punk attitude. This attitude was juxtaposed by the calming beauty of The Naked & Famous but together they made a great pairing for the mid-day selection of Go Fest.
The Naked & Famous
Following up The Naked & Famous was Mutemath, a band that I was super excited to finally see live. I knew it was going to be good as I watched drummer Darren King literally duct tape his headphones around his head. Darren seemed to steal the spotlight throughout the majority of the set with the sheer power he had behind the drumset. That being said, there was really no way to ignore the rest of what was going on on stage. Singer Paul Meany stole the spotlight while he danced around with his keytar in hand. Their music wasn’t quite what I remembered it being back when I first heard of these guys. Instead of the rock sound that I had fallen in love with, their music leaned way further to the pop side of things than I was anticipating. Even though the vocals, guitars, and keys screamed pop music, Darren was behind that drum set acting like he was in a heavy-hitting rock band and that truly made this band stand out in a long day of great music.
Finishing off the night was Bleachers. This group is fronted by Jack Antonoff of Fun. and Steel Train. To say I’m in love with these guys would be an understatement. With catchy singles and down-to-earth lyrics, these guys are definitely one of my favorites. As soon as Bleachers started their set, the crowd started singing along to every single word and didn’t let up until the very final note rang out. With upbeat music that makes you want to dance and lyrics that are easy to sing along to, Bleachers was the perfect ending it a truly beautiful day. Unfortunately, Bleachers’ set seemed far too short and they were only able to play through a handful of songs. They did a great job of mixing up both old and new songs and picking the ones the crowd clearly wanted to hear.
Yesterday was a beautiful day for an outdoor music festival. Thank you Go Fest ’17 for bringing some truly amazing musicians to the Twin Cities for such a great event. Hope Go Fest returns next year!