M3F: Local Line-Up
By Jason Shoff
We’re two days away from the awesomeness that is the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, and while many people are probably focused on the national headliners (like BECK OMG HE’S ACTUALLY PLAYING IN AZ!!!), there’s plenty of great local talent to check out, as well. But that’s really no surprise, as they’ve always been on point when it comes to booking Phoenix-based bands, and this year is no exception. In fact, it might be one of their best yet.
In addition to Kanye’s Grammy rival, Friday’s main stage line-up will kick-off with the acclaimed CooBee Coo, who I’m really looking forward to hearing (especially to see if they’re expertly produced records translate well to a live setting). They’ll be followed by the unclassifiable and unpredictable force that is Captain Squeegee, who will certainly be a tough act for MS MR, or most anyone, to follow (I’m also hoping they play some of the material they’re currently working on with Bob Hoag, as well). The second stage Friday bill is no slouch either, though, as the two-man bluegrass duo or Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold and up and coming singer songwriter Taylor Upshal will be playing their tunes to a hopefully packed festival crowd.
Saturday’s line-up is just as strong, starting with the 1-2-3 punch on the main stage. Glam rockers Harper and the Moths kick things off mid-afternoon, before being followed by the self-proclaimed “punkgrass for the people” of The Haymarket Squares, who are fresh off of the release of their brand new album, Light it Up. The final act of this local trio, electronica artist Luna Aura, should bridge the gap perfectly between the local acts and English new wave act Bloc Party with her upbeat style that should get the crowd dancing. As for the other stages, scene faves Sister Lip will be playing their unique brand of jazz rock at the Freezone stage, while the second stage will feature the epic glam punk rock of Fairy Bones (who recently appeared on 3TV to promote the occasion) and the roots blues of Carlos Arzate and the Kind Souls (who I highly recommend after seeing them blow the roof off of Valley Bar a few months back).
Sunday’s bill features a great mix of roots and blues artists, and those styles filter down to the local line-up, as well. Seventeen year old blues guitar prodigy Gus Campbell opens up the main stage, followed by the pastoral folk rock of The Senators, who should grab the attention of everyone who’s there for The Avett Brothers. As for the festival’s other stages, they’ll almost exclusively feature local acts, as well, starting with the psychedelic jam stylings of Endoplasmic at the Freezone stage. If you’re hoping to hear some good ol’ blooze rock, stay at the Freezone stage and catch WYVES as they’ll surely rip through cuts from their album Spoils of War. If you’re looking for something mellower, the festival-ready alt-country sound of Huckleberry is a can’t miss in this writer’s eyes (especially after hearing their great new EP, Shasta City, Bad News Ricky). Add the reggae soul of singer-songwriter Ruca and another dose of The Haymarket Squares, and you’ve got a pretty great sampling of some of the best music the scene has to offer.
All in all, that’s not a shabby line-up of local talent. If you want to see the full schedule, complete with set times, head to http://mmmf.com/line-up/.