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Columbia loving life on Summerfest days

Another fabulous Summerfest weekend kicked off last Friday night with perfect weather for a concert on the streets of downtown Columbia. Though a hot and stuffy 90-degree day, the crowd, both young and old, showed up early to see local band Murphy’s Ford get the country party started. By the time LOCASH was ready to hit the stage, the crowd was humming with excitement.

It’s easy to see why LOCASH is steadily rising in the country world — they know how to work a crowd and put on a phenomenal show. Chris Lucas and Preston Brust have a talent for singing and songwriting — the Country Music Association has taken note of this, as LOCASH have been nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year!

The show began with strobe lighting and loud bass, as fans eagerly awaited the bands’ arrival. Columbia did not disappoint LOCASH and sang the chorus of their first hit, “I Know Somebody,” word for word back to them with little help. Looking around seeing the lights wave energetically back and forth in the street made your heart beat fast and appreciate the moment you were in.

Before ending the show, the band invited a young fan on stage who is front row to every show they play in Missouri. Nick got to show off his dance moves and sing the final verse of “I Love This Life” with Chris and Preston.

Last to come on stage on Friday was Eli Young Band. A group of five young boys moved their way closer to the front row, beaming with eagerness for their first concert. The headliner’s start time approached, and as the lights went darker, the band came on stage singing the title track from their new album “Fingerprints.”

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Fast forward to Saturday night. It had been another long, hot summer day, but country music fans came out to kick up their boots for a good time with Turnpike Troubadours. Boots and ball caps that have been worn enough to get that “just right” fit were the dress code for the evening.

Though the end of opener Charley Crockett’s set saw a sprinkling of rain, the rain died down and the crowed was buzzed with excitement (and a few beers) ready for a great show. The stage crew raised Turnpike Troubadour’s logo banner, and the crowd hollered, begging the band to come out and show them a good time.

With little warning, the five men walked out on stage in jeans, boots, button down shirts and cowboy hats, and started right in performing “Every Girl” with the crowd singing along right away. Complete with an accordion, the red-dirt country band does not disappoint their audience. The band may not have engaged much with banter in between songs, but it certainly wasn’t needed. The music alone, with lyrics about blue-collar folks and life, was enough to connect with their audience. Even the light rain couldn’t bring down this Summerfest crowd!

To sum up the weekend, Chris from LOCASH said it best. “Y’all are crazy,” he said into his mic. Columbia isn’t crazy — we just know how to have a good time!

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Michael Franti & Spearhead bring the love to Rose Summerfest

The near 100-degree weather yesterday didn’t phase Michael Franti when he and his band, Spearhead, took to the outdoor stage at Rose Park. If anything, the weather couldn’t have provided a better atmosphere for Franti’s positive reggae pop jammin’. The park was packed with a crowd that bounced multi-colored beach balls and danced throughout the entire show.

It probably helped that Franti had a chance to adjust to the heat before the show too. A couple of weeks ago, he posted in the Facebook event page and asked his fans to join him in some pre-show yoga. Franti says he does this before almost every show and we wanted to make it happen, so we teamed up with our friends at Logboat for some yoga in the park. About twenty fans showed up, many with gifts and stories to share with Franti after the final namaste. Hugs were given, pictures were taken and babies were kissed. (Yes, there was a baby that sat quietly through the entire session and was a fucking trooper.)

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Franti and his fans get their dancing muscles warm before the show at Logboat! 

 

Yoga sessions give the band a chance to meet fans and connect with them over a practice based on positive thinking and peace, something that Franti preaches and practices. For each ticket, a dollar went to Do It For The Love, a charity that Franti and his wife founded, which brings together various artists and uses music to “provide empowering moments for people living with life-threatening illnesses, children surviving severe challenges, and wounded veterans.” The foundation’s summer campaign has a goal of granting 1,000 wishes by the end of August. At the show, Franti said they have already reached over 900.

As for the show, it was one of the cooler experiences that Rose Park has seen. People from all ages joined to dance. Literally, at one point in the show when Franti asked the crowd to pair up with seven or eight people around them, hold their hands and dance in a circle. For his hit “Life is Better With You,” Franti brought his wife, Sara, up on stage to sing with him. As if it couldn’t get more adorable, he brought up a group of kids from the audience to dance and sing along toward the end of the show. He talked between songs about peace, loving your neighbor and listening to those around you. When he wasn’t spreading the message from the stage, he joined the audience to sing among the crowd. After the show, the audience trickled out. Among them, were some already wearing shirts they picked up at the merch booth that said “Stay Human” across the chest.

 

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Clutch guitarist Tim Sult talks spacegrass, guitars and touring

Hunched over his guitar and dressed in jeans, a plaid shirt and tennis shoes, Tim Sult could not look more unassuming for a member of a band that tours the world. Sult is the lead guitarist in Clutch, a rock band that played at The Blue Note this past October.

Clutch‘s sound lies somewhere in between rock, hard rock and alternative and funk metal. I hadn’t seen them live before but after having friends rave about their show last May at The Pageant in St. Louis, I couldn’t wait for them to come to town, and when I came across the chance to interview the band’s guitarist Tim Sult, I couldn’t pass it up.

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Despite the placement on The Blue Note’s chalkboard bathroom wall, the show was not shitty.

The band is on tour for their latest album, Psychic Warfare. The band has been together since 1991 and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

Sult says songwriting is something that is shared among all members of the band. “It keeps everyone so interested in being in the band. That we’re all artistically and creatively involved in every song from the ground up. That’s what makes it Clutch, the fact that there’s four cooks in the pot,” he says. 

“We’ve always tried to remain creative and move forward and just try to write new songs and try to work on a new album… We never really felt like artistically, we were limited. We always felt like we were allowed to do whatever we want,” Sult says.

The show opened with Don’t Mind Dying, a local rock band with a similar sound to Clutch, as well as Kyng. The bands were a perfect match and Clutch lead singer, Neil Fallon, even gave Don’t Mind Dying a shout out during the show.

Clutch took the stage and kept the energy high throughout their performance. I’ve seen my fair share of concerts that start off strong and die down until the encore, but not this one. If anything, I’d say they started off with some of their more mellow music, amped it up throughout the show, and then came back down a little toward the end.

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Clutch guitarist Tim Sult doing what he does best.

Sult strummed in a concentrated focus, rarely looking up from his guitar. Meanwhile, the audience (who sported more leather jackets than I’ve possibly ever seen in a room) kept security on their feet in a constant effort to mosh.

A fan favorite, “Spacegrass,” was the first song of the encore. “I honestly don’t know 100% what the song is about,” Sult says. “I think we had the title and we were just playing it instrumentally. When we were jamming and playing it, we thought it sounded totally trippy. That was like the early days of stoner rock and that kind of music. Niel always says it’s about driving a car through outer space.”

Overall, the show rocked. Their lyrics drew me in and led me to make a playlist of Clutch essentials. At first, I felt a little out of my element, but by the end of the show I had joined everyone in jamming out in pure rock fury.