2nd Street Festival Rocks Before The Rain - Part 1
While it got rained out about halfway through, there was still a lot of music to be heard this past Sunday in Northern Liberties. The 4th annual 2nd Street Festival, with the help of the Philadelphia Folksong Society, brought together a wide range of local talent.
The first and only band I caught at the Germantown stage was indie rock band Auctioneer. I knew frontman Craig Hendrix looked familiar, as he’s the keyboardist for Birdie Busch, who we caught last year at WHYY’s Connection Festival. I’m not convinced that an outside festival is the right way to listen to these guys, but I definitely want to hear more. You can download some free music here.
The long walk, exaggerated by the heat, back to the Poplar stage literally had something for everybody. Second Street was filled with food, clothing, art, bongos, and even wrestling.
Once cooled off and hydrated, I caught Norman Taylor, John Francis, and Brooke Shive and the 45s at the Poplar stage. Taylor, a singer/songwriter from the Philadelphia/South Jersey Area, brought the blues and his infectious smile to the stage. Following suit, singer/songwriter Francis played some more laid back tunes, perfectly complementing the heat exhausted crowd and passerby’s. Next up was Shive, who successfully snapped everyone out of their heat coma with her soulful vocals and energetic stage presence.
Kicking things off at the Piazza was rapper Raj Haldar, better known by his stage name, Lushlife. Though the crowd was still hesitant to leave their shady hideouts throughout the Piazza, his sound and rhymes slowly began to bring people closer to the stage.
The Great Unknown, who were up next, know how to do folk/rock/americana well. Overhearing a passerby say, “I feel like I’m listening to Fleet Foxes,” I still struggle to see where the problem with that is. Their set was great, and it seemed like the crowd thought so too. What I love is that they take indie to a whole new level. For their first record release show, “they decorated the venue with leaves they’d collected, stocked the bar with their own home-brewed beer, and served the audience food they’d baked.” [from their bio] You can download their album, So Strange and Loud, here.
Headlining the Piazza stage were experimental rockers Man Man. I’d heard their music before, but never had the chance to see them live. I had no idea what to expect. I really had no idea how crazy they are live. Not only were they good, they take their live set to a whole other level of weird. From the face paint to the eclectic props, Man Man put on one hell of a set, and the crowd loved every single second of it. My favorite part was massive amount of red feathers spread all over the stage. You can download their latest album, Life is Fantastic, here.
Closing out my day at the Poplar stage was Secret Mountains, a psych rock band from Baltimore, MD. I only managed to catch the last couple of songs before the torrential downpour and lightning put an end to the festival. I knew these guys (and girl) would be good after seeing them for the first time over a year ago at Johnny Brenda’s. Kelly Laughlin’s vocals are nothing short of beautiful. I just wish I could have heard more before the storm!
Overall, it was a great day for local music. I was looking forward to seeing Kalob Griffin Band and The Spinning Leaves. But hey, there’s always next time, right?