Our partners across the Delaware at American Spirits Roadhouse are heading back to The Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton, NJ — and this time, their plan is to Rock the Wall.
Artist: Church Girls
Released: Sept. 15, 2017
Philadelphia indie rock quartet Church Girls have been looking forward to the release of their album, “Hidalgo,” for quite a while. Upon a first listen, it’s easy to hear why. These 11 tracks of dreamy, new wave-fused alt-rock comprise a strong effort, complete with the shimmering ambiance that gives this band its unique place in the indie landscape.
Artist: Three Strands
Album: Letters to the Light
Released: July 7, 2017
This year, LVU is seeing contributions from members of our music community who are out on the scene at Musikfest to catch the action. One of those people, WLVU Station Manager John Paul DeBard, caught up with Philadelphia indie rockers June Divided (who we saw at another festival earlier this year) and shared his thoughts on their set.
We have another beautiful day on tap as we creep slowly toward the second weekend of Musikfest. This was another day where it was hard to narrow our list down to five acts. Trust us when we tell you, there is a lot worth seeing and hearing tonight.
Musikfest Five Point Preview: Wednesday, August 9
Overnight rainfall Friday into Saturday meant that temperatures cooled off from opening night, setting up for an absolutely perfect Saturday afternoon with a breeze and temperatures in the upper 70s. Now that, my friends, is great ‘Festing weather.
I didn’t get out until a bit later in the afternoon but, by 5:30, I found myself squarely in front of New York alt-Americana band Evening Darling, who I was looking forward to seeing after doing a little Q&A with them last week. They were as good as I expected, with folk sensibilities and heartfelt lyrics that shine through their music’s well-crafted pop rock exterior.
From there, I started down from Liederplatz toward Plaza Tropical, where I was looking forward to hearing the R&B-infused stylings of JuTaun. However, I encountered The Tillers, a bluegrass band from Cincinnati, on the way down. They looked like they were having a ball, so I stopped by for a few photos.
Then, it was on to JuTaun who, as expected, blew the roof off of Plaza Tropical. Their technical mastery, versatility, soul, and harmonies blend into a sound that is just as much Motown as it is alt-rock, and it earned this group of talented young men a well-deserved standing ovation.
Afterwards, it was back to the new Yuengling Lagerplatz, where an acoustic rendition of Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem” let me know that I was within earshot of Philly pop punks, Above the Mendoza, who were playing to a full tent who had gathered around to hear their stripped-down, but high-energy set.
It was at this point that I realized that our coverage so far was missing a very important, long-standing Musikfest tradition: polka. Fortunately, the Austrian Boys Band was over at Festplatz to the delight of ‘Festers young and old. What was particularly interesting was the band’s willingness to step outside of the box; briefly venturing away from traditional polka to break into genre-friendly covers of everything from Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme.
After that, I found myself in need of two things: food and a phone charge. So, I quickly marched to get myself a Mexican sundae cup and went over to the Wells Fargo charging station to give my phone enough juice. Once I was done, I ventured briefly off the official festival grounds to The Wooden Match, where Another Day Dawns was rocking the place as only they can. Frontman Dakota McGeehan seemed to love every minute of the performance, during which it seemed as though he shared a pulse with the venue’s high octane crowd.
Before heading home to edit photos and prepare for Sunday — and by that, I mean “succumb to sleep before I could do any of that,” I stopped by Plaza Tropical once more for a glimpse of world-renowned Bulgarian violinist, Svet. Svet played electric violin interpretations alongside popular music hits of today and yesterday, mixed in with a message of positivity (while I was there, he dedicated a rendition of “I Will Survive” to the cancer survivors in the audience which, on a personal note, won me over).
Now, it’s on to Day 3. As always, keep an eye on LVU, because there is much, much more in store from Musikfest!
New York City alt-Americana band Evening Darling has a unique sound that has gained a lot of steam beyond the confines of the Big Apple. Their debut, self-titled album (which you can hear at the bottom of this article) is an exciting blend of influences that range from new wave to the folk and Americana of their previous incarnation, The Hunting Party.
We checked in with the band in advance of its performance this Saturday, August 5 at the Red Stag Pub Liederplatz stage at Musikfest to hear all about what makes them tick, and what we have to look forward to when they come to town this weekend.
Before taking the plunge into full Musikfest mode, we had one final stop on the road to the nation’s largest free outdoor music festival — and that stop took us to American Spirits Roadhouse in Asbury, NJ for a show that was months in the making.
In addition to old favorites who perform at Musikfest every year, the festival boasts a healthy offering of first-time performers each year. Whether they are local, or they come to us from afar, ‘Festgoers have a guaranteed opportunity to discover something new for ten days in August in downtown Bethlehem.
We reached out to a few ‘Fest rookies to get their thoughts on their upcoming debut at the nation’s largest free outdoor music festival. They are…
Neil Grover, local singer-songwriter, performing Wednesday, August 9 at 7 p.m. at Martin Guitar Lyrikplatz, and Thursday, August 10 at 8 p.m. at Yuengling Lagerplatz (amid the Festplatz site).
Kara Hartzell, singer-songwriter and bassist for Alex Mery & The Townsmen, performing at Fegley’s Bethlehem Brew Works on Friday, August 4 at 9 p.m. (unofficial Musikfest performance); Wednesday, August 9 at 9 p.m. at Martin Guitar Lyrikplatz (w/ Alex Mery & The Townsmen); and Thursday, August 10 at 2:30 p.m. at the Provident Bank Main Street Stage.
Jim Rea of Springfield, MO-based bluegrass quintet, The HillBenders, performing Monday, August 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Americaplatz, and Tuesday, August 8 at 7 p.m. at Volksplatz.
Zach Russack, Hackettstown, NJ-based singer-songwriter, performing a full-band set Thursday, August 10 at 3:30 p.m. on the Provident Bank Main Street Stage, and a solo set at Red Stag Pub Liederplatz on Sunday, August 13 at 2 p.m.