Usually when a legion of flag waving, brat grilling rowdy revelers amasses near the Dover International Speedway there’s a NASCAR event circling the turns of the legendary racetrack. That will not be the case this weekend, however, as crowds of upwards of 30-40,000 will gather to see The Killers, The Black Keys, and Jack White hold court over The Woodlands over the course of three days. So how does one fill out the rest of their day leading up to those hard rock headlining heavyweights? Put down the body paint and hold off on that extreme frisbee game because Firefly organizers have provided a showcase for some of the best up and coming acts in the world for the aurally curious. Here’s five rising acts that are not to be missed this weekend. Batman will still be in the theaters when you get back.
Walk the Moon (Friday – The Porch – 6:45-7:45)
Coming out of a burgeoning DIY scene in Cincinnati, the power-pop-rock outfit Walk the Moon, named after The Police song of a similar title, have hit the ground running after a slew of high energy festival appearances and the release of their debut, eponymous full length. Perhaps you’re already familiar with the band from their runaway hit “Anna Sun” or SIMGE’s interview with guitarist Eli Maiman, but after catching them earlier this year at the Governors Ball it can be gathered rather quickly through your own perceptions this weekend that Walk the Moon is on the verge of something big. Firefly organizers have already done so, placing the band in a highly coveted evening slot right before Silversun Pickups and Bassnectar. The painted faces and exuberant stage presence will be on full display in conjunction with an ideal smile inducing, ass shaking, summer festival set that ranks Walk the Moon among our must sees this weekend.
Moon Taxi (Saturday – The Porch – 11:15-11:45)
If you’re a devout follower of this site, then you already know we’re big fans of the prog-roots-rock Moon Taxi. Their king-making Bonnaroo Thursday set only drove heart shaped arrows further into my chest cavity, and if Firefly made any missteps in their lineup sorting it was only in giving Moon Taxi a too short thirty minutes with which to operate. Scoundrels! Regardless, their utterly infectious grooves and Followill-esque wail of singer Trevor Terndrup will serve as an excellent jumping off point for Firefly Saturday. Can’t make it this weekend? Moon Taxi will follow up their Firefly appearance with an opening slot for Matisyahu on the Stone Pony Summerstage on Sunday. So now you have no excuse.
Polica (Saturday – The Lawn – 1:30-2:30)
After teaming up with the fabulous and short lived soft rock supergroup Gayngs, Minneapolis musicians Ryan Olson and Channy Leaneagh moved on to form the electro-indie Polica. After the release of their first record back on Valentine’s Day of this year, Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon was prompted to say of Polica;
“”They’re the best band I’ve ever heard.”
High praise indeed. Polica takes a blues inspired lyrical approach mixing it with a progressive synth/bass/percussion all sitting behind Leaneagh’s dreamy auto tune croon. I’ll be curious to see how their dark tones strike in broad daylight, but such is the nature and intrigue of the festival beast.
Grouplove (Saturday – The Lawn – 3:30-4:30)
It would be an absolute undermining of Grouplove’s fantastic dance-rock leanings and self titled formal debut to remind you that you likely know the band from their track “Tongue Tied” which was featured in one of those silhouetted iPod commercials last year. But any attention that I, or any multi-national computer conglomerate, can send Grouplove’s way is worthy of exploration. Beyond their aforementioned breakthrough hit are tunes that don’t seem too many degrees off of fellow Fireflier Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, namely “Itchin’ On A Photograph” and “Colours”. Maybe if Brock lived a little closer to the beach, as Grouplove hails from Los Angeles, than his native Issaquah, Washington. If their Bonnaroo set was a primer then it stands to reason that Hannah Hooper, Christian Zucconi, Sean Gadd, Andrew Wessen and Ryan Rabin will bring a momentum backed main course to their mid-day performance come Saturday.
Reptar (Sunday – The Porch – 1:10-2:10)
Not to be confused with the fictional cartoon dinosaur of the same name, Reptar was borne from the fertile grounds of Athens, Georgia that gave us R.E.M., The B-52s, Widespread Panic, and Drive-By Truckers. Featuring a notoriously hard to pin down list of genres and an equally as notorious, raucous live show; Reptar is serving their forebears well as they strike out into the national consciousness. The Animal Collective comparisons are apt as their latest recorded output Body Faucet was produced by Ben Allen who worked the dials on Merriweather Post Pavilion. From there the quirks of Reptar’s influences and direction are all their own which should make for a unique and exciting show on Firefly’s final day.