New West Fest 2012: Day 1 (Friday)

At the start of the summer when I began writing about the great live local music in Fort Collins I wondered how I could find enough bands to write about without finding a job to supplement all the door-charges and tickets. After this past weekend I wonder if I can finish writing all that I want to write about this free music festival just past before the next one comes along. I saw absolutely none of the acts on Friday night, despite being at the festival the whole evening, because I was a volunteer selling tickets in a booth instead. Actually I got enough of a break to wander over and see Michael Franti on the big screen, but otherwise I only heard, never saw the bands that night. My feet were sore, my nerves were frazzled, and the only musicians I saw were the ones buying tickets.

There were quite a lot of musicians buying tickets, though, and some of them who are in bands I’ve seen earlier this summer smiled as if they recognized me, which was nice. I am apparently quite good at high-paced, high stress festival ticket sales, and had no angry customers all night despite our credit card machine quitting hours before the end of the night. Still, a lot of the folks who were at the festival as musicians were among the nicest people I interacted with that night. I’d have loved to have had real conversations with some of them, which was quite impossible even without the rather loud music of Catch Bees, You Me & Apollo, and Fierce Bad Rabbit. Actually I really enjoyed Catch Bees– their music was really catchy. The crowds got much bigger and our booth got more frantic by the hour so that by the time Fierce Bad Rabbit started, their much louder sound was still proportional to the chaos of the area where I was working.

I probably liked all three of these bands equally, if I had time to stop any think about them much that night to rate them. You Me & Apollo has a very frustrating webpage, for anyone wanting to know much about the band, but they will be appearing next on the Boulder FM1190 radio station, at 2pm, and no doubt they will be far more informative there. Their music, which is the stuff they would no doubt hope folks are more interested in, sounds very cool live, and the songs the feature on their website sound equally good. Their facebook page is far more useful and informative, for whatever reason, so if you want to know more about them, I’d start with facebook.

Do check out their website, though- it has cool animation and shows off the album art on their new, apparently soon-to-be released EP. I wish they had artist bios and a photo gallery on their website, because it would make their webpage more interesting, but I’d imagine once their EP is out they will be revisiting their web presence anyway. And, hopefully they will be performing somewhere I can walk to, another free show maybe? (though I would not complain about the Universe sending me a job with which to buy concert tix either). I’d love to hear and see them properly, so I can put some faces to their sound and get some pictures.

I distinctly recall commenting on my liking the second band which played the Linden stage, near my ticket station. Catch Bees has an album out, called Newman’s Open Choir. They also have an EP available to download free. Again, I wish I had been able to grab a few minutes to take pictures Friday night, but sadly that night was just too busy. (We were maintaining 6 lines at one point just at our little booth to try to keep the line moving. Thankfully it was never this busy later on in the festival.) So, hopefully these guys will come back around when I can take pictures of them in action. Of the three acts, this one was by far my favorite, and one I’m already adding in to my regular spotify playlists.

If these guys put their album art on a t-shirt, it would be well worth buying too. (Merch request, if anyone from this band ever reads this, btw: I’d love a ladies-style t-shirt, gray, black or yellow, with the album art from Newman’s Open Choir on the front and maybe with the cute row of houses repeated on the back. 🙂 I’m sure they would sell well at live shows.)

Fierce Bad Rabbit had the misfortune of not only playing on Friday night when I was not free to get pictures, but they also played late enough that I was starting to lose my voice. I liked that you could feel their percussion and bass reverberating through the ground- I do like sitting right up front at concerts, after all, but I was glad when their set was over and I no longer had to talk over their music as well as the general crowd noise. That said, this is also a very cool band, well worth seeing again. In fact, if I can con my friend into driving, I’d love to see them at the Boulder bandshell in a few weeks. They’re the sort of band I always associate that bandshell with anyway, but I have actually never seen a non-classical musical act on that stage despite having lived in Boulder for over a decade.

I’ve no idea if I’ll make it down to that show, but one way or another there will likely be another post on each of these three bands later when I have seen them properly and have pictures. Their facebook site, again, seems a great place to start, if you want more info on them. They have t-shirts for sale, nothing terribly artsy, but with their band name they don’t really need much art. They have a lot of music up on spotify (which I will be listening to this week, along with most of the rest of the New West Fest artists’ albums), and they have various albums and EP releases available for sale.

I would end with a comment or two on the headliner show, Michael Franti & Spearhead, but I must admit I am still figuring out who this guy Michael Franti is. Just as some of the people I was selling tickets to this weekend had somehow never heard of Alison Krauss, I had no clue who Michael Franti is, and even after hearing his concert I am still rather clueless about him. I was exhausted, and still working the ticket booth, and I was about 2 blocks away from the stage, so I heard the louder parts of the show, but couldn’t hear any of what he said or any of the quieter bits. Sad, I know, but I made up for it by being in the front row for Alison Krauss’s show the following night. But that’s a tale for another night and another post. I saw/heard 11 different artists/acts Saturday, spanning several genres, and I saw/heard an additional 8 acts on Sunday, so there’ll be quite a few posts left to write before the week’s over. Those two days I had my camera out and took ~300 non-blurry pictures, too. But, I am off for some birding in about 7 hours, and must sleep. Happy Listening!

About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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