Bluebird Music and Arts Festival 2009
What a better way to spend the weekend than bouncing around The District to catch shows from more than 70 bands and see art shows at six venues? Stay connected by following our coverage of the 2009 Bluebird Music and Arts Festival.
October 18, 2009 at 6:09 p.m.
Permalink: More photos from Bluebird
John Henry [in white] and Tom Schraeder [in black] perform on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, at Top Ten Wines as part of the Bluebird Music and Arts Festival. Henry performed with his band John Henry and The Engine on Friday night at The Blue Fugue. Schraeder, who hails from Chicago and Austin, also performed on Friday at Top Ten Wines/CHRIS DUNN
Pat Kay, lead singer of the Columbia band The Hipnecks performs at the second annual Bluebird Music and Arts Festival at The Blue Note on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009. Featuring old-time instruments like the mandolin, banjo and harmonica, the Hipnecks' music provided an up-tempo beat for the crowd./CHRIS DUNN
October 18, 2009 at 3:48 p.m.
Bluebird goes clubbing
As I walked down Ninth St., jangling rhythms spilled through the open door of the Blue Fugue, and the excited hum of the crowd promised a solid set by the Leafy Greens. Yet I was intrigued by the presence of Tonic and Tonic Lounge on the night's roster. The Blue Fugue is a consistent backdrop for local talent, but I was less certain of what Tonic had to offer. The main entrance to Tonic's long dance hall was blocked by the stage, so patrons entered on the top floor and wound their way down to the main event. DJ/producer FSTZ was spinning progressive electronic dub while local artists collaborated on a canvas that featured a white face on a psychedelic background. Given the infectious beat, it was surprising how empty the dance floor was. About 20 concert-goers floated between the electronica at the adjacent Tonic Lounge and the beats at Tonic. I couldn't help but think that, had the typical Tonic crowd been there, they would have been pleasantly surprised by the club's different vibe.
Revved and rockin'
Local band The Doxies perform for a small crowd on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, at The Blue Note as one of the last acts in the second annual Bluebird Music and Arts Festival. The Bluebird Festival brought more than 30 midwestern bands to Columbia for a two-day celebration of the Midwest/CHRIS DUNN
Lead singer of The Doxies, Tim Lloyd, also a convergence editor at The Missourian, jams with guitarist, Brent Maness, for a small crowd on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, at The Blue Note/CHRIS DUNN
Members of the audience dance as local band The Doxies perform on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, at The Blue Note as one of the last acts in the second annual Bluebird Music and Arts Festival/CHRIS DUNN
At the Blue Note, Columbia band The Doxies reunited to shake the stage with '70s-style guitar rock. A loose, relaxed crowd chatted at the bar and boogied a bit on the dance floor. The Blue Note was an appropriate venue for their straight-up rock and roll.
My last stop for the night was Mojo's. The Chicago-based band Death Ships was a less-than-sinister closing act that combined bouncy keyboard riffs with two lead guitars, a bass and drums. Their blend of Midwestern rock incorporated more indie-rock reflection than the other acts I had seen, and a lively cover from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust
brought audience members to the floor. A zealous fan in a Mizzou sweatshirt bought the band a round of shots and beer, which complemented their mildly drunken melodies and appropriately concluded an intimate, quintessentially Midwestern night of music.
Permalink: Tuning in on Saturday night
October 17, 2009 at 10:39 p.m.
The Blue Note
At 8:40 p.m., Cindy Woolf and her two musicians took the stage at The Blue Note. Her sweet, almost childish, twang warmed up the venue, and within fifteen minutes the crowd on the floor had swelled from three to rougly 25. Backed up by banjo, upright bass and dobro guitar, her first several songs hit most of the criteria for folksy, charming Midwestern music. But I was feeling restless and headed over to Eastside Tavern.
At Eastside, Darling Disarm was mid-set when I walked in. Driven by the strong vocals of their female singer, this Champaign-Urbana band was at its best when the guitar and drums took a step forward and added a little more rock to the vocals' smooth roll. Although the band lamented their bass player's absence, they were able to pull off a complete sound without him. Had the band played later, the floor would have likely been filled with lighter-waving, swaying festival attendees. But when I chatted with the band after the show, they were excited to get an early start on checking out the rest of the night's lineup.
I headed over to the Broadway Brewery to catch the tail end of Cincinnati-based Serenity Fisher's set. Her keyboard and vocals combination called to mind Regina Spektor, but her melodic tunes jarred with the MU football game on the screen behind her (MU was behind at the half). She took it in stride, however, even though the shouts of enthusiastic fans occasionally interrupted her whimsical numbers.
Permalink: Music About Town
October 17, 2009 at 10:41 a.m.
Noah Earle performs at Underground Cafe at the night of October 16, 2009/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
The well-known and much anticipated Noah Earle was well worth the wait as the last act to take the stage at The Underground Café. The best voice of the night brought back a crowd after it had dwindled during the previous acts.
Mixing creative sounds and whistles with both Spanish and English lyrics kept the audience interested and nodding along.
Earle is originally from Topeka, Kansas and has chosen touring solo throughout the Midwest over a Hollywood lifestyle where he feels his was forced to produce synthesized and “pop single material.” It is clear that he made the right choice because he needs nothing more than a guitar, a drum and his sweet voice to make great music.
Not My Cup of Tea
After many acts at The Underground Café, I headed over to The Blue Note to check out Starlight Mints. I heard several good things about the group throughout the night, but I won’t be jumping on their bandwagon anytime soon.
It would be hard for me to describe this band’s sound or compare them to something else I have heard because they are incredibly distinct. Starlight Mints sounded like pop, techno and rock all at once with random screams and whiny lyrics. They even chanted all together, saying things such as, “Can we take it? NO!”
Although they didn’t win me over, they clearly have a following because they kept drawing more and more people to the front of the stage. The crowd of about 50 grew by at least 15 people as the show went on and the neon light sticks changed colors with the beat. The audience was drinking, dancing and rocking to the band that spontaneously jumped around and shook their heads.
I slipped out about halfway through to catch the Kansas City band, Pomeroy, at Mojo’s, and I am incredible glad that I did.
Starlight Mints perform at the Blue Note at the night of October 16, 2009/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
Marian Love Nunez of Startlight Mints plays the keyboard/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
Lois Bennett dances with hula hoop during Starlight Mints' performance at the Blue Note on October 16, 2009/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
This group of five guys exploded from Mojo’s small stage rapping, singing and bouncing to their addictive beats. All fun, and even inspirational lyrics, made this group a favorite to the younger crowd that gathered in the bar late Friday night. Slightly old school sounding and extremely talented, this group looked like they were having a garage jam session. They connected with and complimented each other and worked together to keep the audience enticed. Part of their unique onstage camaraderie is credited to the ten years they have been together and working free of a record label.
With radio hits and a new record coming out soon, Pomeroy is a band to watch out for. They certainly found a new fan in me.
Pomeroy performs at Mojo's on October 16, 2009. Micah Burdick plays the guitar/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
Pomeroy performs at Mojo's on October 16, 2009. David Fairbanks, vocal, thanks the audience for coming/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
Permalink: Well Worth the Wait
October 17, 2009 at 10:09 a.m.
Casey Reeves, right, performs at Top Ten Wines on October 16, 2009. More than 70 bands are performing this weekend as part of the Bluebird Music and Arts Festival/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
Permalink: All About the Midwest - Bluebird bands kick off the festival
Gentleman Auction House performs at The Blue Note Friday on the night October 16, 2009. Kiley Lewis plays the keyboard/PHOTO BY DAISUKE NAKAMURA
For those who take advantage of it, Columbia’s Bluebird Music and Arts Festival is an incredible opportunity to explore The District and discover new tunes. A mere $25 gives music-lovers two full nights of live performances, with more than 70 bands to please a variety of ear buds. Or, individuals can opt for a one-night or one-venue ticket for ridiculously cheap prices.
Centered around Midwest music, Bluebird brought together several states and several artists at the kickoff on Friday night.
Wes Wingate, a co-director of the festival, and the lovely Hillary Scott did not disappoint in musical talent or on-stage chemistry when they started the night off for Bluebird attendees at The Underground Café. With covers of musicians like Alison Krauss and John Hyde and original work, they kept a comfortable audience tapping to the smooth and catchy rhythms.
A group of about 35 people, including some of Wingate’s family, settled into the cozy coffee shop at Ninth and Cherry. Most were middle-agers dressed for a cold night in jeans, sweaters and scarves, but there were a few who opted for fancier attire.
The crowd cleared out a bit when Scott and Wingate finished their set, but about 20 people still lingered for Truck Stop Souvenir, a husband a wife duet who altered the buzzing atmosphere in the wake of the first act. Their somber songs were an abrupt change, but they enticed me to stay with the promise of ending with some of their happier songs.
The couple definitely looked capable of having a good time on stage, so I stayed put and suffered through some of their bland songs about dewy grass and highway driving.
Dennis James and Lauryn Shapter traveled from Fairfield, Iowa for their first time attending the Bluebird Festival. Now in the midst of their third album, they started it all with a recording session in their attic.
“We’re a very happy couple and we’re very cheerful people, but you wouldn’t know it by our songs,” Shapter says with a laugh.
Time constrictions enhanced my disappointment, as I was only able to hear one “happy” song from the duo. “My baby is gonna buy me a car,” a song about James’ promise to buy his wife a 1962 sky-blue Ford Falcon when they sell 100,000 albums, was their last song and the highlight of their performance. It showed how much fun they could have performing together, and I really wish they had spent more time captivating the audience with their jovial melodies.
Unfortunately, many audience members trickled out during and after Truck Stop Souvenirs, so the upcoming Chris Koza and his band didn’t get much recognition for livening up the room once again.
All the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Koza’s band filled the space with great sound. Slightly more mainstream and without country undertones like the previous performers, Koza and his three band mates played fun songs that were easy to relate to. Their creative lyrics reminded me somewhat of the band Rise Against.