Here in Lancaster, the LAUNCH Music Conference and Festival is going full steam ahead, and below, are a few more shows and pics that were a whole lot of fun to be at.
Here’s another Venue Shot, This time of the Convention Center lobby (where a lot of the quiter gigs took place):
Who: Darling Parade
Where: Lancaster Co. Convention Center
When: 5:30 PM
Darling Parade does power pop very, very well. A strong female vocal lead was this band’s strong point. I couldn’t get over how catchy their songs were. Power chords everywhere, rolling bass lines and big time drum beats made this performance everything you wanted it to be, and nothing you didn’t want it to be. Lead singer Kristin Kearns, a small blonde woman from Nashville Tennessee has a freakin’ HUGE voice. It was incredible to see someone so small rock so hard with such power. It was badass. It was awesome. The most interesting part of the performance was when they sampled Trent Reznor’s heart-wrenching lament “Hand Covers Bruise” that came from The Social Network soundtrack. What was cool is that Darling Parade turned this solemn piano accentuated piece into a wonderfully upbeat pop song with all the catchiness to boot. It was so cool. They’ve got a hell of a lot of potential to make it big on a national scale
Who: Angela Sheik
Where: Lancaster County Convention Center Lobby
When: 6:00 PM
One of the more impressive acts that I’ve seen so far at the LAUNCH Music Conference and Festival was Angela Sheik. She came with a flute, an autoharp, and some loop pedals. She mixed her tracks live during the performance, and I really can’t think of a better word than “awesome” to describe the performance. At times she would mix in four different pitches to actually harmonize with herself! It wasn’t just two and three parts, either. At times she’d record and loop in five different vocal parts, on top of autoharp loops and then do a flute solo. Her vocal range was so, so impressive as she incorporated multiple octaves and different beaty, poetic lyrical delivery. She even played a version of “Amazing Grace” that sounded more like an upbeat celebration than a down-tempo lament. I was blown away by Angela Sheik, and I’m still recovering.
Who: Dana Alexandra
Where: Marion Court
When: 7:00 PM
If there’s a true pop star at the LAUNCH Music Conference and Festival, it’s Dana Alexandra. Bouncing around the stage, Dana has swagger for days. Her voice really stands out amongst the music. While the band really provided a great background for the singing, it’s easy to tell that the voice is key. At times, she would bring it down to almost a whisper, at other times, she’d belt out a high note. She was all over the place, but in the best way possible. A veteran of the LAUNCH Conference, Dana Alexandra gave a great performance of catchy, accessible songs that everyone could enjoy.
Where: Marion Court
When: 8:30 PM
There are some bands that explore different genres of music in order to find something completely new and experimental. There are other bands that are just really good at what they do. Kingsfoil is one of the bands that is really good at what they do. There was nothing groundbreaking about the performance, but that’s ok because their songs worked. Oh, and did I mention that Frankie Muniz is their drummer? Well he is. And he’s good, too. Kinsfoil is just a group of dudes rockin’ out on stage to some great songs they’ve written. The earnest delivery and conviction that these songs emerge from makes them pop. In this way the crowd gets to enjoy some high-quality power pop music as they hung out at one of Lancaster’s best outdoor venues.
When: 8:30 PM
Lunic is Kaitee Page, Megan Berson, and Masha Mayer from New York City. Their act consists of atmospheric electropop music that takes its influences from bands like The XX and Portishead. Their performance was a phychedelic display of lyric poetry in the form of an understated, powerful show. The songs were subtly brilliant, as no parts were overdone, and the overall sound fit the dark and smoky stage on which they played. Page’s voice, hypnotizing and melodic lulled the audience into a somber contemplation. The music, electrically inspired and down-right trippy was a great way to introduce a genre that’s not fully figured out at this point. It wasn’t hard enough to be straight rock. It wasn’t synthed-out enough to be too poppy, either. It was in between these genres, but the whole time the performance was sultry and captivating. Lunic is great, and I’m glad to have seen the show. Keep your eyes peeled for a video interview, as well, as we caught up with the band in the TSI band lounge.
Who: Adam Taylor
Where: Lancaster County Convention Center
When: 10:00 PM
Adam Taylor, accompanied by Kate York, started off his performance by saying “We’re gonna’ rock your socks on.” This type of humor and charisma popped up time and time again throughout the performance. The acoustic duo brought some great harmonies and sing-alongs to the table. His folky chord progressions and subtle Americana draw made his performance great. The jokes and smiles really reflect how relaxed both Adam and Kate were when they were singin’ away their folky singer/songwriter tunes. At one point, the tongue-and-cheek nature of the performance took flight as Taylor played an acoustic version of “No Diggity” that was equally hilarious and sonically pleasing. It makes sense to play it for the fun factor, but when done in such melodic and hi-fi way, it sounds fantastic. Adam Taylor’s set was so much fun as he truly put his talent and charisma on display.
Where: Tellus 360
Canyon, a two piece guy/girl band hails from Connecticut and knows how to swoon an audience in an intimate setting. The duo had a certain coffee shop charm that is matched by few artists around these days. Tellus 360, a reclaimed wood shop certainly provided an excellent venue for this band as well. As the rich smell of wood lingered in the noses of the audience, Canyon played songs with a certain warmth and depth that matched the venue perfectly. The set of heart-wrenching acoustic gems ranged from sultry brooding laments to more beaty lyrical songs. In the end, the two-part harmonies set the performance apart from similar coffeehouse performances. What made Canyon so amazing was the richness of each and every song. Though the instrumentation wasn’t necessarily game-changing, the venue and show worked together to create an unforgettable show.