Aggiefest is one of the best traditions Manhattan has to offer. It provides an opportunity to hear great emerging artists from across the country in every style of music from Americana to death metal and literally everything in between. This is an event intended to not only promote great music, but the community as a whole. Local artists, volunteers and sponsors like KROCK 101.5 and Tallgrass Brewery combined to make the event run seamlessly. Located across Aggieville, with eight bars hosting local talent, this festival showcased more than 60 artists over the span of two days, providing Manhattan a weekend packed with talent. None of Aggiefest festivities would have been possible without the hard work of the Manhattan Music Coalition and the Hype weekly, who were major players in putting on the event.
Family Bed is a dynamic force. he two-man band played at Mojo’s Beach Bar, which could barely contain their personalities. They take the best elements from bands like Brand New and Finch, but with a bit more screaming and personal touches. The two switched off between vocals, guitar and drums with every song, showing that it doesn’t take a full band to be able to do it all. Family Bed doesn’t take themselves too seriously, which makes for great lyrics and laughable song titles. They keep their focus on being good musicians.
The Carney Encore
The Carney Encore is a must see show, if they ever return to Manhattan. They will soon become leaders of the Manhattan music scene and it’s no surprise why. Carney Encore is raw with their performance, and the honesty with their song choices and playing is impressive. Their desire to create and play music overpowers a lust for success, which makes them a sensation on stage. Whether it’s a cover or a original, their rock based alternative roots is where their power lies. Expect a combination of My Morning Jacket with a kick of Manchester Orchestra from this group.
Tulips & Timebombs
The amount of skill on the back patio of O’Malley’s was mind-blowing. Tulips & Timebombs is a love letter to ’90s alternative rock music and style. Shredding, hair flipping and guitar riffs that are hard to keep up with dominated the night. It was impossible for anyone to leave the back patio of O’Malley’s after the show without a kick of energy. Tulips & Timebombs are a great alternative rock group with sounds much like that of Blink 182 and Green Day, which can’t be beat.
The locally loved band took to Auntie Mae’s and mixed it up between songs from their debut EP “Other Girls.” They also performed some covers that were surprising crowd pleasers, such as Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Although the venue isn’t ideal for a full band, Vineyard still did what they could to kick off Aggiefest. As they pick up followers and speed so does their sound, making each show better than the last. For those looking to see a full on show, Vineyard is a must. Their alternative style brings a twist of down to earth folk, which provides the perfect getaway.
SHEL is forging the path for indie grass and enchanting audiences along the way. Watching SHEL was a breath of fresh air with a stellar show to accompany it. These sisters can do it all, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Their music, their personalities and their sound is spellbinding. Those who were not at this show missed one of the best performances of the entire weekend. They combine grass elements, like mandolin, with alternative elements and beautiful vocals. The air was light, the venue was packed and the band was entrancing. These folk powerhouses have an effervescent sound.
Andy Frasco is the best time you’ll ever have in Manhattan. The mutual love between the city and Frasco is apparent in his off-the-wall show that feels more like a party. In fact, Andy Frasco isn’t a show – it’s an experience. The musician and his eclectic sound range all the way from rock to blues and the influences of legends like Tom Waits and Van Morrison are evident. An energetic band that included Ernie Chang on the saxophone, a modern jazz star, accompanied Andy. The entire show was full of dancing, partying and the best that modern blues has to offer.
Get Busy Living
Get Busy Living was a fantastic representation of today’s power pop genre. Their sound took the audience back to days when bands like Four Years Strong and Mayday Parade ruled the scene. Their high energy stage presence and electrified ballads perked up Aggie Central Station. They took their normal set and played it by ear. It really isn’t a musical festival until at least one artist covers Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” and Get Busy Living were happy to oblige. Their breakdowns were honest and well placed, holding true to the pop punk formula.
Chris Aytes & The Good Ambition
The style of Costello and the influence of Bono are what embodies the stage when Chris Aytes & The Good Ambition take the stage. Chris Aytes’ sound is smart, strong and self-aware. The group compliments one another well by playing on each other’s strengths. As a band and sound, they are one cohesive stylish example of a modern day mashup of greats like Buddy Holly and Weezer. They put on a laid back show, which was a nice break from the chaos, that allowed the audience to take a break and enjoy a blend of indie rock with a twist of pop.
Not A Planet
Not A Planet is a classic indie rock band that put on a memorable show at Aggie Central Station. The house was packed, and filled with tunes reminiscent of bands like The Fratellis and The Black Keys. They worked the stage with their own unique flair and brought a different feeling to Aggiefest, being the best indie rock and roll band all weekend. Not A Planet had original lyrics and a great chemistry with the audience. Their joy for playing music only revved up their lively show that had fans awe struck at their formula for a unique take on a popular and growing genre.
Tyler Gregory was a staple of Aggiefest. He drew in as many people as SHEL and Andy Frasco, both having almost hit maximum capacity of their respective performance spaces. He is also a bit of a hometown hero and works a completely different genre than others. Gregory has the voice of an Americana god. This is the type of sound that many try and achieve, but the smooth folk undertones in Gregory’s voice are a rarity and something that lessons or pure ambition can’t buy. Gregory took over Auntie Mae’s with his down to earth original tunes and got the entire audience, in a crowded room, to dance.
Aaron Woods Band
Aaron Woods Band was the headlining country act at Aggiefest and brought out the fans to prove it. The Oklahoma based group got the crowd two-stepping and rocking to classic country beats. They tried their original tracks, that sounded like a mix between Kyle Park and Casey Donahew Band, out on the crowd. The group paid homage to their rock slant with a Tom Petty cover that showed off a different side to the red dirt originals. They clearly strive to be a Texas red dirt group, but their Oklahoma roots add a special hometown sound.
The Kansas City based trio, The Monarchs, provided a show that was tight knit and had influences from all over the map. Vintage tones with strong vocals are what led the band through their set, each moment pushing one another to make for the best result. The audience got to sat back, relax and appreciate the slight psychedelic themes in their original tracks.
Eddy Green is a perfect showcase of what local talent looks like in Manhattan. He is a part of the Americana revival. His voice commands a space and takes listeners on a journey into the life of his lyrics to connect with his experiences as a person. He takes the time to speak to his crowd, which makes the difference between watching and experiencing. There’s almost a pinch of blues in his work, which only makes it all the more down-home and earthy.
This hip-hop artist came out of retirement yet again to put on a show at Mojo’s. He created a personal connection with the crowd when he shared his challenges and experiences with the audience and even brought a little humor to his performance as he would call audience members out for leaving. His beats were original and his movements played towards his friend recording the performance. It’s clear the reason Anthemous is drawn back to his art time and time again is his original and true talent in lyrics and sound.
DJ Spauhn put on a much needed dance party at Mojo’s towards the end of Aggiefest. It was a welcomed change in style, as he was a palette cleanser between doses of various forms of rock, indie and Americana. He knows what the people want to hear, and inspires them to get involved and be a part of the set. He took popular tracks and added just the right amount of personal touches and warps. DJ Spauhn can really make a party at any venue.
Aggiefest 2013 was an experience to remember, and already has people wondering what’s in store for next year. The talent only keeps growing when it comes to artists, as Aggiefest has a reputation for catching bands on the rise. This is an event that doesn’t stick to any genre specific acts and has something to offer music lovers of all tastes. It’s a shame to miss out on a great festival that’s right in our own backyard. Aggiefest 2013 proves that there is great music in the Little Apple, you just have to look in the right places.