Mid West Music Fest, Day Three: Kimya Dawson, the Melismatics, BNLX, and My Private Eye
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Mid West Music Fest Day One with Tapes 'n Tapes
Mid West Music Fest, Day Two: the 4onthefloor, Rogue Valley
The final day of the Mid West Music Fest found the gray skies holding off from any substantial rain for much of the day, but the rocking line-ups all over Winona would have won out in the end, no matter how threatening the weather. It was certainly a noisy Saturday night line-up across much of the city, with performances scheduled from plenty of Twin City rock veterans and fledgling Winona acts, as well as the festival headliner Kimya Dawson.
Winona indie-rock quartet Wake Up Bedhead had it in gear early on at Dibs Cafe, a nice upstairs venue with good sound and plenty of space to move (which also featured a sweet pop-up record shop to celebrate Record Store Day). Their guitar-heavy, melodic sound really set the scene well for Dibs, which would play host to plenty of loud acts throughout the rest of the night. Wake Up Bedhead really picked up steam as their energetic set rolled on, and closed with the guitarist flailing about on the stage as he lost himself in the strident discord of the band's final number.
Minneapolis trio BNLX were up next, and they surely were the only band at MWMF who brought their own light show, which certainly complimented their fiery, tempestuous rock 'n' roll. The group is getting set to release their seventh EP this upcoming weekend, and this show featured plenty of new material (though sadly not their awesome Lana Del Rey cover). Ed and Ashley Ackerson are now joined by drummer David Jarnstrom, who really adds a steady, pounding beat over their churning sound.
The group started their set with their propulsive new single, "See What I See," and followed that up with an boisterous version of "Frogger (Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler)." "Burn The Boats" proved to be such an incendiary version that Ed broke a string, but proceeded to play with 5-strings during the rest of their breakneck set, churning through "LMAO CMEO," brand-new track "110 dB's (Until Death Do We Party)," and "Meet Me At The Barricades," a moody, New Order-esque track that the band claimed to have only played live once before.
The set concluded with a strong flurry of the group's best early material, as they tore through thunderous renditions of "Do Without," the blissful, JAMC-sounding "Blue and Gold," "Where Is the Love," and a celebratory "BNLX Today," which brought their raucous performance to a spirited conclusion, leaving everyone's ears ringing in the process.
Winona three-piece My Private Eye were up next, and they drew the largest local crowd that I witnessed at the festival, as their friends and hardcore fans all bunched up close to the stage to witness their set. The indie-rock outfit certainly didn't disappoint, either, as their crunchy, distortion-heavy riffs blended nicely with the sugary vocal harmonies of frontman/guitarist Todd Hanson and bassist Megan Hanson (who actually took over lead vocals and guitar for a song later in the set).
The group was the most accomplished and original Winona group of the festival, and even a mid-set hiccup where Todd played a minute or so of a different song than the rest of the band before he realized his mistake couldn't derail the band's momentum or diminish their charm and appeal. They are still quite a young band, but their infectious songs have clearly found an audience already, and with enough seasoning and exposure, My Private Eye could certainly make some waves outside of Winona in the Twin Cities music scene and beyond.