Musikfest, Day 1: An Interstate Showcase

After getting out of the day job right around 5 p.m., and after checking in at SteelStacks and picking up our photo passes for the next 10 days, I darted up and over the Minsi Trail Bridge, parked at home, and hoofed it down to Musikfest with the goal of getting there in time for the festival’s opening ceremonies at 6 p.m.

Not only did I succeed but, as I was walking down Main Street, I even had a few minutes to stop and see Tim Harakal, whom you may recognize as one of the performers at this Monday’s LVMA Musikfest Country Roots Showcase at Plaza Tropical. Tim and his killer voice got me looking forward to Monday even more than I already was, and it was great to get a preview of what’s to come later in the festival.

After a brief pause from the music to attend opening ceremonies, and to find some food and drink — Karl Ehmer bratwurst, how I’ve missed you — I popped back up to Main Street for the indie rock stylings of Philly’s Cold Fronts. Their punk edge — I sensed a hint of Ramones in their sound — was highlighted by the band’s apparent chemistry and the charisma of frontman Craig Almquist.

After that, I noticed that LVU Contributor Noah Reichard and his band Supermac were set to open the brand-new Yuengling Lagerplatz stage for the first time in Musikfest history. So, I hurried down there to catch most of their half-hour set, but not before stopping for a slice of pizza…

Anywho, I then happened upon Supermac performing an acoustic set of their original material on Martin Guitars, which are loaned to anyone playing this brand-new, acoustic jam stage. The guys and their stripped-down versions of garage rock originals sounded very tight and got me really excited about this band. Also, I wonder if they know the guys from January Noon, because that would be one heck of an acoustic twin bill.

After a quick mug refilling at The Wooden Match, I then ventured back up to Main Street, where I could hear the funky basslines of Traverse City, Michigan’s The Accidentals from a mile away. Fronted by the best friend duo of Katie Larson and Savannah Buist, the band blends folk and indie rock with blues, R&B and, as mentioned, a little bit of funk — and does it well — to provide a sound that is as unique as it is noteworthy.

And then, at Volksplatz, it was time to get rowdy…

I found LVU Contributor Lisa Robinson down there, front and center, for a set from Pittsburgh’s The Bastard Bearded Irishmen. They’re a ‘Fest favorite every year, and for good reason. Their loud, intense Celtic rock is matched in its fervor by the band’s uncontainable energy, which spreads to the audience and creates a party atmosphere. This made them a perfect fit to conclude our first night of Musikfest, and got us looking forward to more fun on Day 2.


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