Wakarusa 2014, Saturday (and Sunday)

Saturday was a great day for Love Hope Strength! We broke the goal of 300 people signed up. By the time we put things up, we were at 317, with a day to add to that. From what I hear, this has been the best year at Wakarusa.

We had a lot of on-and-off rain most of the day. The last of it hit toward the of Walk Off The Earth‘s set. They were on my list of sets I wanted to catch, but I didn’t know if it would be possible.  We had a lot of people come by around that time at the LHS table, so I was only able to get close to the stage when they were already half into their set. They are totally my cup of tea. Thanks for the recommendation, @DocMurda! I knew they did a cover of “Somebody I Used To Know,” but what I didn’t know, is that they do so with just one guitar… for all 5 of them. This is basically what happened at Waka:

The only other two sets I wanted to catch that day were The Mowgli’s and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. And they happened to have back-to-back sets on different stages. The Mowgli’s set was such a party. The guys and gal sand a couple of new songs, which made me super excited to think of their second album coming together soon! There were great favorites, starting with “Emily.” After the first couple of songs, the band commented on how lame it was the fact that there were just about five folks in the huge VIP area at the Revival Tent. Usually, comments like that make it OK for people to start jumping the fence from the general to VIP areas, but Wakarusa security has been getting more agresive in the last 3 years, so people were discouraged to do so this time. But then it happened, security opened up a part of the fence and everyone went to the VIP area, closer to the stage, and the party started! Some of the other favorites were  “Say It, Just Say It,” “Slowly, Slowly,” “Waiting for the Dawn,” “The Great Divide,” “Love is Easy,” “Clean Light,” “Time” (which totally made me miss Mike in the band), and most likely, they ended their set with “San Francisco.” I couldn’t tell you for sure, because I took off about 10 minutes before the end of their set, so that I could get to the Edward Sharpe set and get a good spot.

I should’ve stayed at The Mowgli’s longer. After all, I didn’t get super close at Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.. at least not as close as others that got to hang out with Alex Ebert, as he came down to sing among the crowd for several of the songs. These guys from Fayettechill totally got a great shot of it HERE.

When ESMO’s set started, there was an awkward mood, the first minute or so of the song, Alex was a bit off the music. As we would say in my homeland, no le hayaba la tonada. But the band caught up with him quickly and the mood got easy. Jade, who had been voted out of the band just days before that show, was definitely missed, but the show went on and it was awesome even in her absence. When it came time to sing “Home” (because they had to, we were in Arkansas, so you have to sing it, you know!), Alex invited the crowd to sing Jade’s part, and that was the only mention of her during the show.

I was alone at the ESM0s show. Like the first time I saw them, at the same Waka stage two years ago. And the same thing happened. My soul got lost in the songs, specially with Om Nashi Me, which was the very last one of the set. For me, the was smiling, dancing, singing along, and a few tears. I cannot explain it, but that’s what ESM0s shows do to me. I left that Main Stage a happier woman than when I made it there, which was hard to do because I was coming from dancing with The Mowgli’s.

I stayed at the LHS table the rest of the evening and into the night. I watched my first String Cheese Incident show from there, next to a new friend who told me all about their history and how she followed them around some in the 90’s. I enjoyed the show a lot more than I could have ever imagined. I thought I would like The Flaming Lips over String Cheese and, to my surprise, it was the opposite.

The String Cheese show was made up of two sets of two hours each. I had thought it’d be one song for a whole three hours… because, jambands. But I was so wrong. Their second included a lot of their early material, so a lot of bluegrass. The light show was amazing. I really enjoyed watching this show from far, next to a super fan.

Sunday was a wash. I woke up early to get my tent packed, grab breakfast, and move my car out of the vendor area. This was the best thing I could have done, because as soon as I got my car close to the gate, the rain started falling hard. By the time I made it to the LHS tent, there was mud everywhere, my car wouldn’t have made it out of that mess.

My original plan was to stay until the end of John Butler Trio’s set (which was scheduled to end at 12:30am Monday) and drive home. But the rain got me out of there around 2pm. I had a full list of reggae-rock bands I wanted to catch on Sunday, but alas, it didn’t happen. My heart was so hurt and full of regret for not braving the rain and staying for John Butler Trio. They are one of my favorite bands, I love their new album, and there is nowhere else in the States where I can catch them before they finish their tour. But I’ve moved on. And I can only hope I can see them live again in the coming years (Someone needs to make this happen!)

My real photos will come tomorrow. I took my sweat time editing them, but I’m done. Also, who wants to buy me a Canon 5D III? Just kidding. No one has to do that. I’m already saving my monies for it. I hope to have it by Red Rocks. That is the goal!

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Love & Music

On Thursday a simple post on Facebook sparked a bit of sadness for at least two of the authors here on Sandy Beats. It was announced that one of the members of The Mowgli’s, Michael V was leaving the band. While the entire band is involved in the music making process, Michael was one of the founders of the band, and had writing credits on most if not all of their songs. @Begt and I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Michael and LouFest. He was such a super positive and down to earth guy. He was just hanging out alone watching the same band we were watching. When we approached him, he was shocked that we even recognized him for the Mowgli’s performance earlier that day (how could you not, that performance was incredible). I am not one for assuming why people leave bands or bands break up. Fortunately, I think Michael made it very clear with his video and statement posted to The Collective CA.

“I wish you all an incredible journey and I pray that in moving forward we will always remember ‘why we came here’ and apply that wisdom to every aspect of our existence.

For me, it’s not enough to just say it, or sing it.  I need to live it and breathe it, and be it    . . . and in the beautiful irony of this tale, the only way I can take the proper steps toward making such drastic life improvements, is to actually follow the advice and mantra in our songs.”

You can watch the video below:

I hope that he goes on to make music that spreads the love. I hope that he shares the music with the world, and I know I’d really enjoy seeing him again.

And here is my favorite song by Michael during his tenure with the Mowgli’s… “Time”.

WALK THE MOON w/The Mowgli’s @ Cain’s Ballroom 10/10


On their way to Austin City Limits, WALK THE MOON made a stop at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa last week, for what turned out to be the best show I’ve attended this year (so far). And let’s keep in mind, I’ve been to some great shows/festivals this year. The energy was high from the start. I really dig the face paint that WTM fans have adopted (this practice has its roots in the “Anna Sun” video, as told by the band here). So, apart from Nicholas Petricca (lead vocals, keys), Kevin Ray (bass, vocals), Sean Waugaman (drums, vocals), and Eli Maiman (guitar, vocals), there were lots of painted faces that Thursday night in Tulsa.

Cain’s was about two thirds full, but the energy of the crowd really filled the place. There was a really great vibe going the whole night. Most of the people got there early to catch opening band, The Mowgli’s. I know this because a whole bunch of people started chanting the band’s name about 10 minutes before they came on stage. Their set was happy and fun. Just like I expected. All the members of this band (all 8 of them) just look so happy all the time. They started off with their album title track “Waiting For The Dawn.” And as soon as they started, everyone started dancing and the people up front started singing along. There were some dedicated music lovers there that night, which I loved. The Mowgli’s went through all their best songs. From my personal favorite, “Emily,” to “Hi, Hey There, Hello,” to “San Francisco” and “Say It Just Say It,” to the intense “Carry Your Will,” which featured the burning of some sage. The security guys were watching closely as this happened, but let the band go with it. I hope this band keeps touring around, and I hope that I don’t have to travel too far next time I see them. I love that they always introduce themselves by saying they believe they can change the world. They definitely set the tone for the night, as WTM would come to continue blowing our minds.

And they did.

By the time WALK THE MOON came out on stage, we were all pumped. The Cincinnati band delivered an out-of-this-world-fun show. And it all started with “Next In Line,” a song that starts slow and climaxes at the chorus, and that is where the jumping started. I took a friend with me, and she had never before listened to WTM; well, the first time was on our way to Tulsa, but before that day she didn’t know who they were. Needless to say, by the end of the show, she had become a fan. We had a mini-concert during the 2-hour drive back to Arkansas.

The set included lots of favorites from the self-released album I Want I Want and from the self-titled Walk The Moon. Some of those favorites were “Quesadilla,” “Tightrope,” and “Shiver Shiver,” as well as a couple of new songs. One of the new songs may or may not be called “Do You Have A Boyfriend?” and another one that may or may not be called “Down In The Dumps.” That last one was so catchy! I got you a whole 32 seconds worth of it right here for you:

The set also included two of the songs that were released in the Tightrope EP earlier this year. The songs from the EP and the new songs have a very 80’s electronic feel to them. There aren’t any official announcements yet, but it’s evident that their third album will be an exciting one. Front-man Nicholas said the band spent the summer writing new songs, so we could expect it 2014.

The highlight of the show, at least for me, was definitely “Anna Sun.” I think there wasn’t one person standing still inside the venue. It was amazing. Paint melting off faces, jumping, hands in the air, smiles, and singing along. Great vibes overflowing, yo!

This show was so awesome that it made me wish WALK THE MOON would release a live album. Not every band out there has what it takes to pull off a live album, but these guys do. I want it. Can we start a petition somewhere, please? As I told you before, this show was one for the books. Next time, I’m painting my face.

SETLIST: Next In Line, Quesadilla, Lisa Baby, Down In The Dumps (new song), Tightrope, Anywayican, Tete-A-Tete, Do You Have a Boyfriend? (new song), Shiver Shiver, Me & All My Friends, Iscariot, Fixin’, I Can Lift A Car, Anna Sun ENCORE: Jenny

Photo post to come. Stay tuned.

Show Preview: WALK THE MOON w/ The Mowgli’s @ Cain’s Ballroom

WALK THE MOON is on a headlining tour and they are making a stop in Tulsa, OK tonight. So, I’m making the 2-hour drive, because this show is not to be missed. The four-piece Cincinnati band has been busy making stops at several music festivals this summer and touring Europe, as well as supporting P!nk. These guys have lots of fun on stage, so this show is going to be a dance party.


Opening act, The Mowgli’s, have their roots in California, and very much sound like it. What else can you say when you can define their music as “breeze” and “sunshiny.” Just listen to some tunes:


I was able to catch both bands at LouFest this year. So I already know that the show is going to be great. Both bands are high energy and have a lot of catchy songs.  I expect Cain’s Ballroom to be quite full, because WTM has a loyal following. But there are tickets still available, so if you are in the area you need to get yours now. Or if you are in Northwest Arkansas and want to come along with me, then do! Tickets are $22 at the door and the show starts at 7pm.

I’ll bring back photos and a write-up, so keep posted.

A Film Photo Set: LouFest 2013

I got my film back from the lab! I’m so excited to show you the photos from LouFest. @DocMurda has done a wonderful job at reviewing the sets we were able to catch, so I won’t go into so much detail. I already told you why I fell in love with this festival, so now I’ll let you see what I caught on camera. I took my LC-A+ camera (film) because having a DSLR was on the list of prohibited items for the fest. I wanted to bring my DSLR, but I didn’t want to deal with any kind of rejection at the gate, so I opted for film.

I attempted to do several multiple exposures to capture the awesomeness of the fest. Some worked, some didn’t. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. Click on the photos for the large version and captions.

Saturday at LouFest was hot and awesome. We didn’t stay until late that day (that is correct, we missed Wilco, but we have no regrets). This day we started out with Jukebox The Ghost, which was an amazing set to start out the weekend. I’ve been listening to these guys in the weeks that have followed the festival and I can tell you that I am a fan now. Next up was Modoc at the BMI Stage, but I sincerely don’t remember these guys. I feel a little bad about that, but I think I was just really hungry and dehydrated. The only thing I remember happening between this set and Trampled by Turtles was some carne asada tacos from the Mission Taco Joint stand. I didn’t even go to the main stage for TbT, but listened to them from the shaded spot under one of the trees at the BMI Stage, where we caught up with Space Capone. I think I had higher expectations for these guys, because their set at LouFest didn’t make a huge impression. We left their set early to get up close during the Fitz And The Tantrums set, which was amazing. They never let down, they have great chemistry on stage and that spills over to the crowd. The first time I saw them was a couple of years ago at Wakarusa, after @DocMurda suggested I checked them out. They recently released their sophomore album, More Than Just a Dream. They played a great mixed of songs from both of their albums, but “Money Grabber” from Picking Up The Pieces was my favorite from the set. The last full set we caught on Saturday was Desert Noises, which had been recommended by @DocMurda. Those guys have great music, but they got a lot to grow when it comes to stage presence. This was specially evident after coming from the Fitz And The Tantrums set. We walked around the festival grounds while The National was playing and left a little before they finished the set.

Sunday at LouFest started out rainy, but it cleared out just in time for the music. We were ready to see The Mowgli’s, which delivered and amazing set that just set the tone for the whole day. This day was really all about the music. The second set of the day for us was Youngblood Hawke, which kept up with the SoCal sound we had going with The Mowgli’s. There was SO MUCH DANCING, and it was still early in the day so there weren’t huge crowds at the stages. That would very soon change, as we found out.  By the time we got to the stage for WALK THE MOON (which was 45 min early) there was already a large amount of folks up front. The set was worth the wait, as the dancing and singing along continued. I am definitely driving 2 hours to Tulsa to catch them in October (and I’m so excited that I will get to see The Mowgli’s again, as they are opening that night!) We listened to Local Natives from under a tree at the BMI stage. My favorite “Airplanes” came toward the end of their set, which sounded awesome. Wild Cub followed at the BMI stage. I find their sound very mature, and I like that about them. It’s refreshing. We danced our way to the main stage to the sound of “I Love It” by Icona Pop, which was finishing their set on the other side of the festival. At the main stage we caught Alabama Shakes, which are even more awesome live than I had imagined. Brittany Howard has a voice that makes you go “DAMN, WOMAN!” We left shortly after they played their hit “Hold On” to find a good spot for Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros. But it looked like about a third of the folks at the main stage had the same idea. So many people. And so many of them smoking. That, however, didn’t come in between us and our inner hippie dancing. But then again, we had to leave the set early to get to the main stage for the final act of the night and the highlight of the festival: The Killers. It was my first time at one of their concerts, and I think it could have been a lot better than it was. You see, it wasn’t the music. That part was amazing. The Killers really killed it. But by that time of the night there were just so many drunk jerks around, that I had to get further from the stage or I would have gotten Salvadoran-aggressive on a tall DB that was in front of me when the set started. I am looking forward to a much better experience with The Killers at Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas in a month.

I will leave you with this Icona Pop video. Just because I want to. That song got in my head the nano-second I mentioned it on this post. So now, I will get it in your head. I don’t care, I love it. I hope you enjoyed the photos. I think I will make it a tradition to take a film camera to any music festival, even if I also take my digital if I get a photo pass.

LouFest Spotlight: The Mowgli’s

Meet The Mowgli’s. One of the bands I have discovered thanks to LouFest‘s awesomeness. Learning about the band is giving me flashbacks to @DocMurda’s description of a hipster band, although I wouldn’t call them that. The Mowgli’s are an eight-piece alternative rock band from southern California. Their sound is easy and the harmonies remind me a lot of Family of the Year.

They have only one album, Waiting For The Dawn, which is very much worth the listen. They play LouFest on Sunday at the same time that The Lonely Biscuits do. Oh, schedule conflicts, what would we do without them. Oh yeah, enjoy all the awesome music! I’m going to try to see these guys and gal.

The will be touring with WALK THE MOON this Fall.

Other songs to check out are “Emily,” “Love is Easy,” “Say It, Just Say It,” and the title track “Waiting For The Dawn.”