review by Michelle Parks
Editor’s note: This is the second of four stories in the “Seven to See (72C)” series highlighting the acts appearing at the 2014 Wakarusa Music Festival (June 5-8). Link here for an overall story about this year’s festival, and link here for the first story in the 72C series. Get regular festival updates by following us on Twitter: @CityWireWaka.
Your agenda on Day 2 of Wakarusa could begin with Rusty Shackle and end with The Flaming Lips. And if you’re smart, you may also catch some Lettuce and Treetop Flyers.
The 11th annual Wakarusa Music Festival will offer some 130 confirmed acts appearing on six stages over four days at Mulberry Mountain, north of Ozark. Admittedly, that’s a lot of bands and a lot of music, and deciding exactly who to hear can present a serious challenge.
This series of stories, called “Seven to See,” offers daily recommendations for music. Sometimes these include the major, can’t-miss acts. But they also offer suggestions for intriguing acts with the potential to put on a great live show. (Programming note: In assembling these daily lists, attention was paid to performance times, though a quick turnaround might be required to travel between stages.)
72C on FRIDAY(June 6)
• Rusty Shackle (Revival Tent – noon to 12:30 p.m.)
Start off your Friday with Rusty Shackle, a high-energy alternative folk group playing in the Revival Tent. Members of this group, coming all the way from Wales, play a variety of instruments: guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, drums, Cajon, trumpet and bass, all mixed with lovely harmonies. They released their second album, “The Bones,” last year.
• Orgone (Main Stage – 1:15 to 2 p.m.)
Make your way over to the Main Stage for Orgone, an eight-member, Los Angeles-based band. They started more than a decade ago as a four-piece instrumental band. Now with more members, including a horn section, the band melds the sounds of funk and soul, and spends much of its time touring. Members have performed with the likes of Al Green, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, and Thievery Corporation.
• Treetop Flyers (Backwoods Stage – 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.)
Wind your way to the Backwoods Stage to hang out with Treetop Flyers for a while. The band’s five members hail from London but have relocated to Malibu, Calif. The result is a wonderful west Coast sound – reminiscent of the band America, but also very modern – driven by two guitars and beautiful harmonies. This is a perfect choice for an outdoor summer festival.
• Lettuce (Main Stage – 4 to 5:15 p.m.)
Get back to the Main Stage for the old-school funk sounds of Lettuce. This seven-piece, Brooklyn-based band has been together for two decades, and that shows in their tight sound. Their music is layered with a rich mix of vibrant horn lines, drums and a Hammond B-3 organ. This will be the perfect way to groove into the evening.
• Dr. Dog (Main Stage – 5:45 to 7:15 p.m.)
Take a break to grab some food, but don’t stray very far. Next on the Main Stage is Dr. Dog, a six-member, indie rock group based in Philadelphia – among the grooviest assemblies you’ll hear at the festival. After they first started playing music together in the eighth grade, Toby Leaman (bass guitar) and Scott McMicken (lead guitar) now share lead vocals in this band. Their show leads right into the costume contest and parade for festival fans.
• STS9 (Main Stage – 7:45 to 9:30 p.m.)
Stay settled at the Main Stage for some chill sounds from STS9, an Atlanta-based instrumental band formed in the late 1990s that has played Wakarusa several times. They offer a flowing, electronic sound even as they draw from a range of music – jazz, funk and rock – resulting in a mellow, ever-changing jam. But the music isn’t everything; the sounds are literally illuminated and enhanced by a light show. (This will be their second show during the festival; the first happens from 10:30 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. on Thursday night.)
• The Flaming Lips (Main Stage – 10 p.m. to midnight)
Maybe you grabbed dinner already, or maybe you’re having a late one. Either way, don’t wander too far from the Main Stage, as you’ll want to catch this group, The Flaming Lips. Formed in Norman, Okla., more than 30 years ago, this band presents rock music with a layered, psychedelic instrumental sound and lyrics that include elements of space rock. The group is known for theatrics in live shows, using costumes, balloons, puppets, video projections and complex light configurations.