By: Kendra Lynn Portwood (@mmmKeedar)
Stepping out of our vehicle, the first sound I heard echoing throughout Masterson Station Park was Johnny Conqueroo’s vintage valor and the accompanying band. Close parking, speedy bag checks, and no lines at the entry made for a smooth check-in process. Our best defense against the blazing sun was a canopy and cold beer. The two stages sat side-by-side which provided any enthusiast with the opportunity to pick a spot, throw down your chair, and enjoy the variety from almost any location without the hassle of moving to and fro. This festival had a remarkable lineup and each musician brought their A game giving Lexington a run for its money. Of all the talented musicians, three shows in particular made my MoonTower experience more exhilarating than anticipated.
Tyler Davis was the driving force behind leaving the sanctity of shade to stand in the sun and fangirl my inner fun girl. Since my stumble down the Audiotree rabbit hole, Chrome Pony has been on an ever-growing list of bands to see live.
They have created a truly unique concoction of electric garage rock that is unlike anything a fellow music lover could hope to experience. Gripping a guardrail was the only chance to keep myself grounded as Davis’ ginger locks shuffled in the breeze, carrying his voice over the screaming audience. The high energy performance lifted more and more from their seats with vocals that demanded to be felt and understood. Despite this being a one set show it is safe to say Chrome Pony made it to my Top 3 Summer Shows of 2016 (right behind Josh Ritter’s performance at Master Musicians Festival and Everclear at Fourth Street Live). Don’t miss out on this awesome band twice! Catch them again at Al’s Bar of Lexington on October 12th with That’s My Kid!
I had not planted myself in the shade for very long when something stirred within me that could not rest until I had successfully shaken every limb in my body vigorously and in a large group of sweaty strangers. It seems unlikely two brothers from Lawrence, Kansas could use their mystical electronic funk magic to unleash the caged beast of dance inside of me yet The Floozies did just that.
Purely electronic music rarely peaks any interest from this avid obsessor but denying the need that drove me to somehow create a combination of the lawnmower and the sprinkler was impossible. Matt and Mark Hill are capable of reading the crowd to deliver precisely what they want and captivating men and women alike with matching heart melting smiles. For those of you like myself with little understanding of the electro craze please do yourself the favor of letting The Floozies change that perspective .
The sun had snuck away from us and my beer well was running dry. The thought of leaving crossed my mind as sweat, sunburn, and gyrations of the day began to take their toll on my body. Sore and drained, growing applause focused all remaining attention to the festival headliner. I looked to Jason and said “I’m sorry, I have to” then ran to get lost where the evening crowd had gathered with the stage lights as beacons to guide me in.
Manchester Orchestra was only brought to my attention the night we sat down to record a MoonTower pop-up podcast and how I managed to live so long without Andy Hull’s charisma and lyrical prowess is a mystery. Manchester Orchestra has graced our lives with cutting edge, point driven music for over a decade. Drooling now over each album is not comparable to the thought provoking and internally retching live experience, screaming lyrics back to the stage with a crowd equally as enamored as me.
The talented lineup provided by MoonTower was a gratifying way to end an impressive summer festival season in the Bluegrass! The option to bring a canopy made the heat tolerable, as did the succulence of Crank & Boom ice cream, and a place to fill up your water bottle for free to prevent all of us crazy festival screamers from dehydrating.
As with any newer festival there are a few kinks that I hope are addressed to make for an even better experience next year such as the beer situation in its entirety (I thought about you all day, Cougar Bait) and the excess of remaining space to bring in more food truck options or statewide vendors to make this event more locally encompassed than it already appears to be. All in all, this was one hell of day!
As always, remember to listen local!