Val Du Lakes Resort
I find myself waking up at the crack of dawn this Friday morning, excited for what is to come. Soundfest, over 60 bands in two days, showcasing some amazing talent from the state of Michigan and beyond. It’s a mad dash out the door after many hours into the morning trying to get ready (remember 60 bands!). It’s a nice hour and a half drive up from Grand Rapids when pull into the festival grounds. First thought is how beautiful the area and grounds are. I get myself setup for camping and then I am ready to explore. The walk up from the camping area gives me my first real look of the main stage and all I have to say is damn. I want some of this action and am looking forward to seeing Glassjaw on it later tonight. I find myself a little lost with nothing to do then I hear something coming from the pavilion; the show is starting.
The first act on Friday is Ty Beat, a drummer from Grand Rapids. As I wonder what it is I have in store for me, I am blasted with furious drumming over what I thought was just some heavy samples. Playing funky and controlled beats over addictive hooks, this act has a feel almost of some 80’s funk fusion. This is when I notice there is not anyone else up there running a sampler. No, this guy is doing all and he is killing it. Ty Beat really set a good vibe in my heart to start Soundfest off.
The next act I catch is Project Grizzly, a four piece funk/hip hop band. Tight drums set the stage for this MC and his equally tight flows. Throw in an organ and bass so smooth it just stole your woman and you get something to move to. This set stays true to where it started, yet still bobbing and weaving through story and music. I stay for a bit and enjoy this set, and I mean ENJOY!
So after a nice Scooby Snack, I find myself back at the campsite for a little food. Since leaving from the campsite earlier, I find I am locked in between some bands that not only look like they like to party, but plan on it. So I introduce myself around and find that I did not follow “camping” protocol, ugh. Long story short, get a pass, lose ID, PBR PBR PBR, found ID and I’m spent. I need to go see some bands.
Aubrey, this band comes out with everything that was 2000’s pop/punkish/rock stuffs and then kicks into something I haven’t heard since the last time Gin Blossoms got play on a Buzz Tracks TV CD ad (not talking crap, that’s what it sounded like). I am actually pretty sure that somewhere a stack of 16 year old girls just Beibered in their pants. I will give Aubrey this, they play with passion. That is more than I can say for many bands.
Another trip to the bar for a tasty beverage and I come out just as Bill Crosby comes out on stage in a blast, bringing the few around to attention. Like a sudden storm at the beach, a crowd just appears. Obviously the people know something good is about to go down. I gotta say without even knowing who this is, the beats drop and get me excited. I like this; he stalks the stage giving the fans energy and passion, some real crowd pleasing stuff. The next song, I hear Bill Crosby is joined on stage by Bif. The man holds it up, bringing the already stacked energy up to some Icelandic Volcano type flows. Mothra better run and hide cause Godzilla sized hip hop is on stage.
Man I need a second after that, no really. Back to the grind as I make my way back to the stage to catch this understand band from Muskegon called Kids On Fire. Getting over the fact that they are not on fire, I was treated to a good show. They bring a nice warm vibe to coat the crowd in tasty jams, reminding me of some pop fueled 80’s genre owned by the likes of the Smiths. Not saying these guys are doing that, but that genre is owned by them.
Lief Kolt……..who is Leif Kolt? Hot beats, energy and plenty of it. He has that college rapper feel that is part Asher Roth meets Kayne West (before he went bat shit crazy). I cannot get over how cool these beats are. After finding out this is a self-produced project, I see that Leif Kolt has taken his game to the next level and invites the crowd to join him on this performance. Hitting into the next song where I find myself transported back home to the Dirt South. This act is giving it all; his flow is great with stage presence to back it up.
Now to switch it up with some rock to help you with the taking off of your socks. With the band Stockton it is really easy for me to let you know what they are about in one sentence. This band is what modern rock you SHOULD be hearing on the radio, except radio is too busy with sucking balls. With every angle covered by quality musicians, Stockton has no faults. The band comes through on both ranges of vocals and the band is always there with proper and serious music.
So finally I get to see some action on the main stage; action that is pretty packed when Paucity is doing it. It all starts off like some sort of lovers tryst, building into what could just be magic, maybe heartbreak. This three piece sets the mood for whatever it is you want to do, short of insane measure that is. Their second song screams of adventure for what it is you want to do. You can feel the people in attendance moving toward some eruption of dance. This band is just fantastic. Melodic and funky grooves set over vocals pushing out far into the evening’s farthest reaches. It’s funny as their name means the presence of something in only small and insignificant amounts. This is surely not the case.
Again, the young journalist finds himself lost in a daze of what to do and where to go….wait, where is my beer? Ahhhh, now all is well. Having found my comfort zone and center of peace this evening, I somehow stumble into what seems to be a Glassjaw show. A Glassjaw show? Yes, this is happening and I like it. Right off all I can say is, damn, what a powerful band. They command this stage and put it out as if there were tens of thousands here. That is class. This band does for post hardcore music what Ron Jeremy does for porn, gives it to you hard and right. So if you may have noticed, I stopped writing and started enjoying the hell out of myself. The set goes into the night as the folks at Val Du Lakes gets a chance to show off this fully functional Deathstar…I mean stage. Overall, great show with amazing energy. Glassjaw has earned my ticket anytime.
Night has come on strong and this day was ever so long, but I am strong as I make it to the Bring it Back Barn……to get the friction on. I come in on 61SYX TEKNIQUE a dance crew out of Grand Rapids. You may have seen them downtown Grand Rapids at Blues on the Mall. If you haven’t, look at the included pictures. I am sure Breakin’3: Turbo Cuts A Bitch could have been filmed this night. On stage, is one of the organizers of this event, Phillmeeh. I have caught this guy’s act before and needless to say I am a fan and you should be too. Go on, I’ll wait………..Good? Good! Now this is the time of the night where I start to get feeling real good. So good in fact that my handwriting from the evening has gone to hell and in hell, for some odd reason, legible writing has been outlawed. Either way, this I can tell, Phillmeeh has got his shit together. Great tracks, better raps, and being a tall dude running game on stage, hits home for me. You can tell his and in fact all of these organizer/musician’s pure love for the performance. They do this for you.
For those of you privy to who headlined the Barn this night, it was none other than Del The Funky Homosapien. Now this is the part where I tell you my failures as a journalist, the man was too good to write about, as in I couldn’t focus on this writing thing, no way. The man is just plain sick though, without taking notes I can tell you this, he is good, better than most. Del just worked that stage and damn near capacity if not jammed packed crowd. He did, we loved it. Good night and see y’all on the morrow.