Mid West Music Fest 2013 Day Three: Neon, the Ultrasounds, Reina del Cid, and more
MWMF Day Three
Photo by Erik Thompson Reina del Cid
With Hang 'Em High, the Ultrasounds, Neon, Reina del Cid & the Cidizens, Eli Glor, Stereo Confession, and Riflebird
Saturday, April 20, 2013
After spending much of Friday night at Mid West Music Fest pleasantly cooped up at Ed's seeing a strong cadre of established Twin Cities talent, I was determined to spend my Saturday seeing as many local (Winona/La Crosse) and unheralded bands as I could to close out MWMF. And that decision turned out to be a wise one, as the evening quickly unfolded as one of the more gratifying, enjoyable experiences I've been a part of in quite some time, with plenty of young, upstart bands and artists seizing their moment while also finding a prominent place on my musical radar.
The day started at the intimate Winona Arts Center with an endearing performance by Winona quartet Riflebird, who were lead by Lindsay Krage on keys/vocals/French Horn. Her sister Brianna joined her on backing vocals, with Zach Krage driving the delicate arrangements forward on guitar. Their vibrant sound contained echoes of Stevie Jackson's bouncy songs with Belle and Sebastian, just with Isobel Campbell on vocals instead of the goofy Scotsman.
Photo by Erik Thompson Riflebird
The group laid a few of their influences bare with some choice covers during their lovely set, one by Rilo Kiley along with "Optimist vs. the Silent Alarm" by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (which both worked well), and the other, "Bryn" by Vampire Weekend, needs some more refinement and rehearsing. Their originals, like the moody and moving "Touch Me," showed plenty of promise, and certainly as the group becomes more seasoned and develops a more assured stage presence, their songs will only grow richer and more affecting.
Next up over at Dibs was the young Minneapolis trio Stereo Confession, who delivered a tight, spirited set of rock numbers reminiscent of early Green Day, with more modern garage rock influences layered within their lively sound. The group of teenagers just recorded their debut EP, and their well-rehearsed set drew mainly from those forthcoming songs. "Forest For The Trees," "Got Me Going," and a raucous number called "Origins" were a few highlights of the performance, as well as a doomy number called "Radioactive Nightmare" which was inspired by the 2011 Japanese earthquake.
They closed the set with a medley of "Jimmy the Exploder" and "Black Math," by one of their favorite bands (and mine too), the White Stripes, and while their versions had the riffs down somewhat, their renditions lacked the raw fury and untamed energy of the originals, something that the fledgling band has plenty of time to work on in their promising future.
Down the street at Broken World Records, Winona's Eli Glor delivered a gritty, bluesy set for those drinking and playing pool in the front bar. His guitar work was deft and impassioned, even if his vocals were occasionally drowned out by the gradually swelling Saturday night crowd. In addition to his stomping originals, Glor also threw down some choice covers, including a moving take on Mark Lanegan's "Pendulum," which has long been one of my favorite solo songs from the former Screaming Trees frontman. Glor's set was certainly a good one, and continued the strong string of solo acts who played the front room at Broken World Records all weekend, all under the impressive array of 44 Captain Beefheart LP's that awesomely line one wall of the bar.