Music Festival

Photos: Full Moon Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, November 1st 2015

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On August 1 the Brooklyn Mirage was turned into a beach scene ready to celebrate electronic music for the fifth annual Full Moon Festival. This was the festival’s first time in Bushwick, after previously been held at Governors Island for four years.

Photographer Leah Runyon was on hand that day capturing some of the sweaty electronic action on our behalf. Find some belated photos from the festival posted below.

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Recap: Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 27th 2015

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After years of wondering what I was missing, I finally decided to make the trip to the Newport Folk Festival this year. Man, am I kicking myself for missing out on this great festival all these years. I’ve been to almost all of the major festivals in the East Coast, and I have to say, Newport Folk Festival is as good as they get. There’s just something so different about it. It doesn’t feel like a giant event or major festival, but rather a large community coming together to enjoy music.

I mean, really, what other festivals can you see people enjoying music while sitting on folding chairs? There’s just a positive energy to be found at Newport, one of the only festivals I’ve attended that truly only seems to be about the music. The entire weekend I was there I didn’t see any go pros, selfie sticks, flower crowns, or vintage NBA jerseys. Now that’s saying something.

All jokes aside, the environment is basically a music festival heaven, full of positive energy and love from every corner. The lineup, carefully curated with respect to the well beloved genre of folk rock, was pitch perfect at every point of the weekend, with special guests such as My Morning Jacket and James Taylor keeping us on the toes. Anything can happen at Newport Folk Festival, which is why I will make sure I find myself there every weekend at the end of the July from now on (as long as they’ll have us back).

Below, I’ve posted a list of all the performances we saw over the weekend, which you can click through to find the individual recap and photo galleries of. You can also find some of our favorites photos from the weekend, along with a list of the top 10 sets we saw at the festival, as tough as that was to make.
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’65 Revisited at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015

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Walking the grounds of Newport Folk Festival, there was much speculation from fellow media members, fans, as well as artists/industry folk about who the special guests could be for grand finale of the festival,’65 Revisited. The performance served as a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s legendary 1965 set at the festival where he went electric. After getting special sets from My Morning Jacket (who also served as Roger Waters’ backing band) and James Taylor, expectations were pretty damn high.

I won’t go through the countless number of now hysterical predictions that I heard throughout the weekend from (Neil Young to Pete Townshend to even freaking Bono), but it turns out that there really wasn’t any huge spectacle to be found, but rather a collection of refined special guests, along with various artists who played previously that day at the festival.

One by one we got a variety of special guests sharing covers of classic Dylan tunes, sometimes alone, sometimes joined by each others company. The list is long an extensive, and wholly impressive on the whole. Guests included: Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Deer Tick, Dawes, Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit, Blake Mills, Hozier, Willie Watson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Al Kooper, and Robyn Hitchcock.

It was an unforgettable set of collaboration and celebration, one that we will never see in the same way ever again. It may not have had the “giant star power” that people were anticipating, but it was a perfect combination of talent, both old and new, that served as a pitch perfect tribute to not only Dylan, but the festival.

Find a gallery of photos of all the artists that participated in ’65 Revisited, posted below, along with the detailed setlist:

1. Mr. Tamborine Man (with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings)
2. All I Really Want to Do (with Willie Watson)
3. Love Minus Zero (Willie Watson,Gillian Welch & David Rawlings)
4. It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings)
5. Maggie’s Farm (with Dawes)
6. Takes a Train to Cry (Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Welch, Dawes, Al Kooper)
7. Tom’s Thumbs Blues (Pres Hall, Welch, Dawes, Rawlings, Kooper, Hozier and First Aid Kit)
8. Outlaw Blues (Deer Tick, Dawes, Al Kooper)
9. Just Like a Woman (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Kooper and Blake Mills)
10. Visions of Johanna (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Al Kooper and Robyn Hitchcock)
11. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Al Kooper)
12. Like a Rolling Stone (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Kooper)
13. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Everybody)
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Shakey Graves at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015 — with 1 comment

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I’m far from perfect, sometimes I just never catch on to an act even though good sense and countless recommendations from others have warned me that I probably should reconsider. Time to Shakey Graves, the Austin-based project of Alejandro Rose-Garcia, to that list.

In a matter of seconds of his set, the energy of him and his three-piece band has summoned everyone out of their seats and up on their feet. The blues-inspired music from Shakey Graves has folk-rock in its spirit, but done so with a dirty garage stomp. The amount of energy that they unleashed on the crowd was one of the best surprises of my entire Newport Folk Festival weekend, the sort of thing that I will never forget.

I hope to catch an even longer set from them when they come to New York for a performance at Terminal 5 on November 11.
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J Mascis at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015

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When not keeping busy making ear drums ring with Dinosaur Jr., frontman J Mascis keeps busy with solo records of his own.

Last year he released his most recent solo album Tied to a Star via Sub Pop. Even with the solo material, his short but efficient set featured Dinosaur Jr. songs such as “Little Fury Things,” as well as special covers such as Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You,” and The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

Find some more photos from his Newport performance posted below.
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Hozier at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015 — with 1 comment

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All it takes is one song, and you’re career as a musical artist can change completely. Just ask Hozier, whose mega-hit single “Take Me To Church” took him from a rising Irish artist to one of the biggest names in the industry, seemingly overnight.

Truth be told, I never heard anything from Hozier aside of the single prior to seeing him at Newport Folk Festival, where he played just the year before, but at a much smaller stage. This time around he took the main stage, and based on the feverish reactions of young fans hanging over the front row, it was the right move, even if he only has one album under his belt.

I only caught a few songs from Hozier’s set (wasn’t around for “the song”) and although he’s not quite my thing, I was pleasantly surprised by his ability as a performer. He came to play and delivered all the goods that fans expected. Like it or not, Hozier is a name we will be hearing plenty of in the not too distant future.
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Laura Marling at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015

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Earlier in the year English folk darling Laura Marling released her great new record Short Movie, which was released via Ribbon Music.

I caught Marling for the first time ever (it was long overdue) in March at Warsaw. Aside from the outdoor setting, Marling delivered an equally winning and lovely performance at Newport Folk Festival that reminded me of what a pure and unique talent she is.

Find some more photos from her Newport performance posted below.
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Blake Mills at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015

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Blake Mills has become one of the more respected guitarists/songwriters on the indie rock scene, and for good reason. The man is doing some great things, which was perfectly on display on his somewhat underappreciated 2014 album Heigh Ho, which was released via Verve Records.

I last saw Mills last October at LPR, one of the more impressive guitar rock displays I’d see all year. I caught a bit of his performance and was immediately reminded of his talent not only as a guitarist but as a songwriter, with a natural talent perfect for a showing like Newport Folk Festival.

Find some more photos from his performance posted below.
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First Aid Kit at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015 — with 1 comment

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First Aid Kit, the Swedish folk duo (and sisters) of Klara and Johanna Söderberg, are as appropriate as any for a set at Newport Folk Festival. Unfortunately, Johanna was unable to contribute her vocals due to voice problems, leaving Klara to carry the full vocal load.

Although disappointing not to get the full Söderberg sister effect, First Aid Kit powered through the set and still delivered a beautiful performance.

Find some more photos from their performance posted below.
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The Felice Brothers at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015

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Upstate New York Folk outfit The Felice Brothers are no strangers to Newport Folk Festival, making several appearances at the Rhode Island festival over the years. They returned this year, tapping into the heart of the festival with a memorable set of the stomping American-themed folk tunes that they’ve built their following on.

The performance came on the heels of their album Favorite Waitress, which was released last year via Dualtone Records. Unfortunately I was only able to stick around for a bit of the performance, but their memorable presence as performers left a notable impression. It’s about time I caught a full set of theres already. Next time, they’re in the area, I’m there.
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