- tyler Kohlhoff
- Don't miss STRFKR's set on Friday!
If there is one festival around the country this year deserving of the posi-vibes of thousands of music enthusiasts in waves it’s Summer Meltdown. After the recent tragedies of the Oso mudslide, the area could use some loving attention and economic support to boot. Just as northwest rap god Sir-Mix-A-Lot rose from ashes in a coat of fiery faux fur (as the legend goes), so shall the sun rise on Darrington, Washington for the 14th annual Summer Meltdown August 7-10.
Here are some recommendations to enhance your festival going experience!
STRFKR: Seattle has been fkng with STRFKR for real since that Champagne Champagne split 7-inch, but they were synth-popping and disco-ing during years when that wasn't even considered "cool." They's also pretty well known for exceeding a crowds expectations with laser/light shows/mind expanding audio/visuals. I asked them if they had anything cooked up for Summer Meltdown: "We always try to make each show special, something besides just us playing our songs. It depends on the show what can do, or whether we fly in or can drive with all our stuff. So far all our light-show stuff is homemade and super DIY. But, unfortunately, for Summer Meltdown we can't fly that all in. We've still got some surprises though that'll make for a good time!" When I asked them who they were excited to see at the festival, they said: "Easy answer. Sir Mix-A-Lot!"(Fri, 11:15pm)
The Flavr Blue: Separately Hollis, Parker, and Lace were already three important players in the Seattle hip hop sound. Together they set their sights on synth pop, then built their sound into an icy fortress and recorded the deep bass, and swooning tones that massive ice crystals ring out. Heavy, danceable beats, and gorgeous vocals abound. I asked Hollis what they're excited to see at the Meltdown: "We hella wanna see Zion I, Ill-Esha, Black Joe Lewis, STRFKR, and obvi our main man Allen Stone." (Sun, 5:20pm)
House of Tarab: Seattle-area Arab Music ensemble plays Egyptian traditional music and the music of it’s seductive cousin Raqs Sharqi – bellydancer tunes. This has festival fair all over it. Roots music you can shake your hips to.
Br’er Rabbit: Even those who don’t read this will be drawn to the sound of Br’er Rabbit’s Americana Stringband thanks mostly to the seraphic vocals of string player Miranda Zickler. Her voice, bookended by the Hamer brothers on uke and mandolin, plus cello will have you giddy and glad to be alive. (Fri, 4:35pm)
Cuff Lynx: There is a huge representation of both electronic and funk genres at this years festival, but my bet is that this Bellingham DJ duo isn’t going to let anyone come into their backyard and push their record crates around. Cuff Lynx has also remixed –to rump shaking effect—songs by other acts on the bill like STRFKR and The Flavr Blue, so be there when they break those tunes out.
Medium Troy: Electronic music considerate of an analog world, this amorphous ensemble puts bangin beats up front and combines them with live dance, instrumentation and mind expanding visuals. Obtuse, glitchy dance music you’ll feel smarter for listening to. (Fri, Midnight)
The Grizzled Mighty: Nothing beats the De Stijl design effect of elements working together in threes. The drums, vox, and guitar combination here is perfect festival music. Stand under the mountain and stomp out your worldly blues to their mythologically good rock. (Sat, 12:50am)
Zion I: While people complain en masse about the state of hip hop, making lists of their top five golden era rappers true MCs Zumbi and AmpLive have been running with the baton since 1997. With two new EPs Libations and Masters of Ceremony out expect to go dumb to their Oakland sound. (Sat, 2:20am)
Black Joe Lewis: READ AND HEED: You will not miss Black Joe Lewis’ set. You will not drink too much or do drugs that impede your motion through the cosmos towards the reality shattering fuzz and funk of Black Joe Lewis’ music. Swear upon all that is holy about music festivals that you will be present for this, the funkiest of all parties. Note: you may drink too much and do all the drugs once there. (Fri, 8:30pm)
Nahko and Medicine For The People: Hopeful campfire folk. While dancing barefoot you’ll also be learning how to talk about accountability and responsibility with culture. (Thur, 10pm)
Allen Stone: Somewhere between impersonating soul singers in his mom’s living room and playing every TV spot and festival over the last three years Allen Stone became a real deal soul icon. Be there to hear the sound of looking for your heart while singing from your gut. (Sat, 11pm)
Joseph: These three Oregon sisters are bringing the sounds they grew up singing in their mountains, to ours. Like wind whispering in the pines, accompanied by perfect guitar. (Thur, 7:10pm)
Polyrhythmics: Tight, funky afro beat. Lay in the grass, or shake your ass: feel cool either way. (Fri, 7pm)