Hoxeyville Music Festival: Sunday
Words By Greg Molitor
Photos By Greg Molitor & Tim Ramierez
Sunday, August 22st – “Without love in the dream it will never come true.”
The final day at a music festival is always bittersweet. I never want to leave the beautiful people I enjoyed such wonderful moments with during the event, but in the end, home is truly where the heart is. Sunday at Hoxeyville, I held a gained perspective on life, love, and friendship close to my heart. The previous night had opened my conscience to new levels of understanding…an awakening to the new world around me. Life is a certainly a playground for us all, but we must also remember that with play comes an equal amount of responsibility. I am again proud to say that Hoxeyville 2010 was the cleanest festival I’ve ever attended. Keep posted for the upcoming feature on Rachel Wells and her Greening Efforts at the festival…the program deserves much praise for its amazing work throughout the weekend. Thanks again for reading. You are all loved!
Interviews with Karl Denson and Rachel Wells (Thank you!) took some time away from seeing shows on Sunday, but the shows I saw were thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. Here are some of the shows I saw…
Ultraviolet Hippopotamus (the band I missed)
Ultraviolet Hippopotamus Live at Hoxeyville Music Festival on August 22, 2010.
Over the past year, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus has become my favorite local act to see. Although I see the band on a regular basis, I had to miss all but ten minutes of its performance because the Karl Denson interview took much longer than expected. When I got to the Cadillac Stage, UV Hippo already had the crowd goin’ bananas. I was able to snap a few shots, but I only caught one song of its set. The crowd gave UV the biggest ovation of the festival after its set which helped ease any pain I was feeling. Go see Ultraviolet Hippopotamus…I’ll probably be there!
Steppin’ In It
Steppin' In It Live at Hoxeyville Music Festival on August 22, 2010.
The first full set I caught on Sunday was Steppin’ In It. Performing at the Main Stage, Steppin’ In It played a solid set of tunes that ranged stylistically throughout, and although the songs were performed with a sufficient amount of technicality, the songs came off as a bit forced. For a band whose songs contain so many elements of roots-based musicality, I expected more soul and raw energy from the six-piece. I want to check out the band at a different venue as I’ve heard great things about the band’s residency performances at The Green Door in Lansing; the songs were certainly strong enough to warrant another opportunity to impress me with a better performance.
Strange Arrangement Live at Hoxeyville Music Festival on August 22, 2010.
Strange Arrangement was highly recommended to me by a number of folks whose musical opinions I respect. After seeing its Hoxeyville set at the Cadillac Stage, I could see why. The band laid down a funky trance beat from the start and didn’t take its foot of the pedal for the set’s entirety. Jim Conry’s nasty, Zappa-inspired guitar lines were some of the most unique licks of the weekend, but what set the band apart from others was seven-stringed bassist Kevin Barry’s playing. He tore up the bass with a relentless fury, and as the set progressed, I was completely drawn into his playing; his technical virtuosity was truly awe-inspiring!
The vocals were mediocre but the band’s instrumental sections more than made up for any lacking element in its music. Most impressive was the band’s ability to listen to each other and feel out the jams being played…it was both fun to watch and pleasing to hear Strange Arrangement enjoy its own music as much as it did during the performance. When all is said and done, finding enjoyment what you do is really what life is about.
Four Finger Five
A power trio from Muskegon, Michigan, Four Finger Five brought the heat at Hoxeyville like I had never seen it do before. Mike Phillips’ thumping bass lines have always been impressive, but the band’s Sunday set at the Cadillac stage offered something entirely new. Four Finger Five (or Four Finger Give as it was humorous listed in the schedule) channeled old-school funk and soul throughout its set, feeding off the Hoxeyville faithful as they begged for more. It was also surprising to see the band focus on improvising as much as it did. The shows I’d seen previously were more about the songs than the extended jams. Not this one…there was a point during the set where I couldn’t remember the last time I had heard vocals. With regards to jambands, time spent not singing often signals success.
Before checking out Moonalice at the Cadillac Stage, I had some reservations about the set. There were some solid players in the band, for sure, but everything I had heard from the band previously had let me down. Well…I learned two important things from this set. First, don’t hold your friends opinions as your own regarding musical taste. Second, never judge a band by recordings, for they never truly show what a band is capable of doing live…
Moonalice dominated. It was almost as if it was a completely different band than I heard prior to Hoxeyville. Some of its songs were cheesy, but when Moonalice jammed, the songs faded into a distant memory. Moonalice’s set contained some of the most psychedelic jamming of the weekend, all powered by THE drummer of the weekend, John Molo. This dude was out of control! His powerful playing drove the music to peaks of ridiculous insanity throughout the set, and his facial expressions were wacky, wild, and completely in the moment. He was my favorite musician to watch all weekend…a real treat for anyone who got to see him play. I also have to take my hat off to bassist Pete Sears as his locked-in rhythms and thunderous lines complemented Molo’s playing perfectly.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe Live at Hoxeyville Music Festival on August 22, 2010.
Karl Denson certainly knows how to get the hips movin’ and the booties shakin’, and those who stayed for the last set of the festival were treated to Sunday’s funkiest dance party. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe played a fantastic show, and no matter what song the band was playing, the emphasis was always about keeping the groove going. The crowd worked some serious moves throughout the set; every time I turned to watch the crowd, I noticed someone different workin’ their limbs loose as if he or she needed to squeeze every bit of funk out of Hoxeyville as possible. The highlight of the set for me was “Brother’s Keeper”, the title track off the latest Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe album. The tune literally had me spinning in space like only the best grooves can!
After the set, Tim and I said our goodbyes and hit the road back towards Lansing. Unfortunately, I had to be at work the next morning at 8:00 A.M…back to reality. Although I had to get back to the ol’ 8:00 to 5:00 job the very next day, I felt the positive energy from the weekend for the next few days. It was an amazing experience, and no matter what the future brings, I will be back next year for Hoxeyville 2011. I had too much fun and met too many awesome people to deny it, and I have a feeling it will welcome me back with open arms…thank you Hoxeyville : - )