As expected, Friday night at the Underground Music Showcase saw growing crowds as things began to get into full swing. While the Main Stage opened up with acts like Mancub, Signal Path and Big Freedia & the Divas, the numerous other venues up and down Broadway saw some great shows, including late performances by The Photo Atlas and The Epilogues at the Hi-Dive, and Churchill at 3 Kings Tavern. Here are just a few personal highlights from Day Two.
I showed up early (by “early” I mean 6pm) to Gary Lee’s Motor Pub & Grub to catch former Meese (and current Centennial) guitarist Nate Meese do a mellow set of songs under his solo moniker Lips & Teeth. Churchill’s Bethany Kelly stepped up to help with vocals on a couple of the tunes. A great way to start the evening.
Thanks to my trusty scooter (lessons learned from the last two UMS festivals), I spent the seven-o’clock hour making the rounds down Broadway to catch a few minutes each of Swing Hero at Moe’s BBQ, Roniit at Compound Basix, and Signal Path on the Main Stage–I liked all of them.
The Raven and the Writing Desk took over South Broadway Christian Church a few minutes after 8pm, and a near-capacity crowd piled into the church to hear them play. I mentioned in the preview piece that this band sounds really good in live acoustic environments, and this set was even better than last year’s. As an added flash of creativity, they projected their video backdrop against the array of organ pipes, turning it into a makeshift screen. Very effective.
Next up at South Broadway Christian was indie rock outfit FaceMan; they started about 20 minutes late due in part to technical difficulties, but they were the final act on the stage that evening, and the crowd didn’t seem to mind. They turned in a powerful performance that was well worth the wait.
I finished up my rounds with an 11pm show at Moe’s BBQ with John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light–a great way to end the evening. I’m always struck not just by John’s songwriting, but by the impeccable musicianship of the band–and tonight was no exception. In fact, John played the whole set on electric guitar, which added a fresh vibe to his material–and keyboardist Jon Wirtz wowed the crowd multiple times with incredible solos on the Fender Rhodes.
Tonight I’m a little torn, because on more than one occasion I’ll have to be in two places at once to catch bands I want to see. Oh, well, it comes with the territory. On the short list are Varlet, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, The Swayback, Patrick Dehthlefs, Kentucky Street Parlour Pickers and Jessica Sonner…