Weekend on the Waterfront (Saturday at Sunfest)
Well Sunfest comes around every year and this year I was excitined because they put the Stone Temple Pilots and Pixies on the bill. This year’s festival lineup was good but it wasn’t amazing like some of the years past. However they do still run five nights of music and basically cater to any genre and artist, as long as the artist will get people in the door. The festival made some money this weekend and many of the bands were packed. This festival has three stages and is right on the water, so its got the gorgious scenery factor going for it aas well.
Saturday: Saturday was probably the better day in terms of music because the lineup contained genres of folk/amicanna, as well as some rock. I headed over to the FPL stage to hear this duo named Johnnyswim. The duo consisted of a girl and a guy and they sort of reminded me a little of The Civil Wars, except the guitar ddin’t have a twangyness to it and it was much more folk than it was rootsy country. I was all right with these guys. The woman in the act is a girl by the name of Amanda Sudano, who is Donna Summer’s daughter, and wow can she sing. Sudano’s husband, Abner Ramirez, plays guitar and sings as well. Theses two really have written some dark romance songs, as well as songs about being angry at people who wronged them. Though in the midst of all these sad songs Ramirez got on mic and said “i’d like to do a song that I wrote for my mom, since she’s here in the audience today.” There was a great big awe that flew across the crowd. The name of his gorgious song was “Adelina”. This tune, like many of their others that they performed was very low tempo. This seemed to be all rihgt with the audience, since all of their songs were romanctic numbers. These guys were a great way to start off the day, but things certainly picked up when it came time for the next set.
One of the big names of the day followed Johnnyswim on the same stage. This big name was none other than Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I really enjoyed these guys. They had tons of flavor and Sharpe is a great lead man because he really pays attention to his fans, as well as the rest of the audience. His entire set seemed like it was led by people hollering out request to him. If there wasn’t a request being yelled or he didn’t feel like doing a requested song he’d turn to his band and ask what they wanted to do. The Magnetic Zeros are quite a large band not only with guitars, piano, bass and drums, but it also contains horns. The band’s piano player has this really great honky tonk sound to his playing. As I listened to the set I came to the conclusion that while Sharpe is a good front man the Magnetic Zeros is really what makes the band interesting. To me Sharpe has his place, but he cannot add as much great diversity and flavor like his many band mates can. While I say this, Sharpe has a good voice. When it came time for them to do their hit “Home” the set turned into a total sing-along and everyone in the audience got really ramped up and excited.
After Sharpe was done it came time for me to go and wait for the Stone Temple Pilots. Luckily there was art to look at, as well as a few interesting acts over on the north end of the festival. I found this musician from Nashvile by the name of Elliot Root. He had some interesting music and a bit of a crowd, which I like seeeing for unknown muscians. The most interesting and weirdest thing about his set was when he pulled out the “Pure Imagination” song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He told the audience that it was one of his favorite songs as a kid. I’ve never in my life heard that song covered until Saturday. I also would have never thought to have heard it at music festival like Sunfest, where the crowds want to hear originals, or if a band does do a cover they expect it to be a huge hit. I really applaud root for choosing to do this song at Sunfest. Doing unique covers I have always had much more of a respect for, than an artist doing some common cover that I’ve heard a hundred times.
Day turned into night, and night turned up the Stone Temple Pilots. These guys are a cool punk-rock band from the 90s and I’ve just recently strated listening to them. When I found out they were playing Sunfest I decided they were worth seeing. Although they don’t have their original singer anymore due to crimal issues, they’ve got Chester Bennington instead. Bennington is the lead singer of Linken Park, another rather famous rock band, but Saturday night it was all about honoring the Pilots’s material. He did a fantastic job and has a really great voice as well as a fantastic stage presence. The original players in the band all sounded fantastic. Their bass player, Robert DeLeo, is the main reason for why I think this band is so unique and talented. His bass lines give them such a Led Zepplin sound, which is cool because these guys are a relatively modern band. Besides the Zepplin feel DeLeo really emphsizes the band’s punk element within his playing. These guys are so totally worth seeing regardless of the fact that they no longer have, Scott Weiland, their original lead singer. Besides they now have somebody as a lead that they know won’t get thrown in jail and screw up their rock star sucsess.
I’m really glad that these guys did not allow their prior issues to stop their playing. In fact they are working on a new album with Bennington, so the fans will be getting some new music soom. All in all these guys were a great way to end the day at Sunfest. I’m really happy that the booking agents for the festival decided to put these guys on the bill. Part two, Sunday, will be in my article archive.