Disco Biscuits, Slightly Stoopid, Allen Stone, Dispatch, Black Bottom Lighters, and More - McDowell Mountain Music Festival - 3/29/14
Melissa Fossum Jon Gutwillig of Disco Biscuits performs at McDowell Mountain Music Festival on Saturday. See more photos via our slideshow.
Disco Biscuits, Slightly Stoopid, Allen Stone, Dispatch, Black Bottom Lighters, and More
McDowell Mountain Music Festival 2014
Saturday proved to be the day for jam bands galore at McDowell Mountain Music Festival, offering up what was arguably the most cohesive and sensible lineup of any of its three-day run.
Despite some early birds, the grounds were exceptionally quiet when we arrived at 11:15 a.m. to get a jump on our third-degree sunburns. Students from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences were on hand early, prepping live video feeds and acting as stagehands -- a smart move on behalf of the organizers, cutting costs and giving students hands-on experience in a festival format that's not quite as demanding as some can be.
You'd never know there was a campground attached the festival at this hour, which is why placing Jared and the Mill in a morning slot felt like nothing but an injustice given the band's recent profiling and South By Southwest presence. Even with the sun beating down on them and sleepy campers setting up shop on the grass, the local darlings put on a tight performance as the only Arizona act to take the main stage all day.
They're just as appealing on the main stage as they are in a club setting, though the room to spread out onstage played well in their favor. Guitarist Larry Gast, with his Telecaster a little more in the front of the mix than I've heard before, put more of an alt-country bent on the band's songs, keying into that cross-genre appeal that's become a hallmark of the young band.
"Confessions Of An Outlaw" stood out as one of Jared and the Mill's most technically sound songs, from songwriting to stage performance. My only gripe was the CRAS students loading gear in behind the band as they played -- having an 11:30 slot is rough enough, but detracting from a stage performance because road cases need to be moved around seems like a slap in the face.