Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More Wakarusa reviews: Dirtfoot, Edward Sharpe and Balkan Beat Box

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:17 AM


waka_pic.jpgGrav Weldon

On Thursday night, Dirtfoot put on a heckuva performancein the Outpost Tent. The Shreveport band calls their musical style "Gypsy Punk Country Grumble Boogie." With six members on guitar, banjo, saxophone, upright and electric bass, drums and various percussion instruments, Dirtfoot is known for its awesome shows with an eclectic sound and raucous stage presence.

The audience seemed plenty familiar with the band, and loved every minute of the late night, let's-get-rowdy set. The fans also seemed pretty excited about Dirtfoot's announcement that they're playing two sets at Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Music Festival at Mulberry Mountain, scheduled for Oct. 11-13.

Indie pop band Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros was a sight to behold, performing on the Main Stage Friday evening. I hadn't heard much about this band, so I had no idea what to expect, but I loved it. The band offers showmanship at its finest, a complete musical experience with a broad range of instruments (everything from several guitars to piano, accordion, trumpet, keyboards, fiddle, banjo, lap steel and tenor ukelele), several backup vocalists, and as many as 15 members at a time in some cases.

The male and a female lead vocalists, both of whom are incredibly gifted, sounded at times powerful and raw and then gentle and soulful. It really was just awesome. I could easily see why their songs have been used on so many television shows both in the U.S. and abroad, and why this group's popularity has been catching like wildfire the last year or two. The experience was almost a little cult-like, really. With the ragtime piano-heavy melody, heavy trumpeting and shining backup vocals, it felt just a little like a charismatic church service during some songs.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros — the jam-band fans' cross between Michael Franti and The Polyphonic Spree? Yes, I think so.

Balkan Beat Box provided Saturday's funkiest beats of the afternoon, performing from the Main Stage on what was the first sunny day of the festival thus far. Festival-goers were ready for some upbeat, celebratory tunes, and the band gave them just that, playing a sort of Mediterranean combination of hip-hop, funk and reggae beats. It was a great performance, with a half-dozen or more musicians dancing around actively on stage, infusing their music with tons of energy that the ready-to-party audience ate up.

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