It’s never easy leaving a four day music festival, but if there is a silver lining, besides the much needed sobriety, it’s I’ve just added 20+ bands to my brain that I had never heard of 96 hours earlier. The real prize of that is over the next ten months, these bands will be playing small venues across ‘Merica relativity still unheard of to the Top 40 loving masses and dickhead scalpers.
In 2015, for me, it was the Bleachers, Elle King, Tove Lo, Brownout, Odesza, Jungle, Shakey Graves, Twenty One Pilots, and Childish Gambino. Sure, all of these acts are playing sold out shows now, but over a year ago, not so much. So…what about 2016? Here are my new additions. My recommendation is just letting each band’s YouTube playlist roll while you multitask with whatever else it is you do. Red Bull TV streamed a lot of the shows, which you can still stream via AppleTV, Roku, or your browser. The shows, along with interviews, are still available and are very high quality.
THE LONDON SOULS
My favorite of them all. What an incredible sound for a two man band. If Gary Clark Jr. and Lenny Kravitz had a love child, it’d be lead singer and guitarist, Tash Neal. Drummer, Chris St. Hilaire, has great pipes as well to help bring the power when the song requires extra vocal heights. This band hails from NYC and have been playing together since their teens, and it shows. They cite as influences, Sly and the Family Stone, Ray Charles, the Beatles, Sam Cooke, Traffic, and Carole King. They’re in Europe now but will be hitting small venues in USA after that.
These Australian EDM specialists are a rare breed. DJs that don’t just push a Play button?!?! Wait what? That’s a thing? Luke Dubber (aka Luke Dubs) and Angus Stuart (aka El Gusto) have been playing in bands since their early teens and mix their instruments into their live shows…one on the keys, one on electric drums. Add this band to your live show list as they’re coming to a small venue near you. Here’s their upcoming tour.
The secret is already out on this Texan, but if you like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke…give it a listen (YouTube mix). His live performances are a must see. If for some reason you find yourself in a late night situation with a lovely lady, throw his album on. You’re guaranteed an extra base from whatever one you thought you were getting to. Here’s video of his Bonnaroo set. Anywhere you jump ahead to will be great, great music.
This San Francisco band is what I think of if Marvin Gaye was 20 years old in our current times and dropping his first albums. Con Brio gave an incredibly energetic performance at Bonnaroo, which included lead singer, Ziek McCarter, channeling his inner Steven Tyler and James Brown leading the raucous crowd on an incredible journey. Their upcoming album, Paradise, will be released on 7/15/16. and tt was produced by legendary producer Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys and Beck).
Vulfpeck hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the band members attended music school together. As they mentioned on stage, they were heavily influenced by the chemistry and quality of the Muscle Shoals house band, which cranked out a ton of hits for Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and Percy Sledge to name a (very) few. What evolved was Jack Stratton’s idea, “The idea was, we were his rhythm section, doing some kind of German version of Motown, and we’d channel that era of the live rhythm section.” Vulpeck, which you’ve likely heard, found an ingenious loophole with Spotify’s payment model to raise $20,000 in streams to fund their Sleepify Tour. In short, they posted an album of all 30 second silent tracks titled called “Zzz” that they asked people to run before they went to bed. It was a huge success.
- Kamasi Washington – This jazz legend dominates the stage which his large frame and colorful dashiki. The vibe of their set is that of the PFunk with the band looking to have more fun than the crowd. An electric cello solo? Check.
- Jason Mraz – We’ve all heard his “I’m Yours” song at every wedding ad nauseam, as evident with his 271 million views, but his entire set was like riding a cloud. His lyrics, voice, and strumming are a perfect combination melody when you’re in a rare mood for soft music that’s not Bob Marley.