June 2nd, 2012 at 2:33 pm
Photos from the Friday (June 1) performances at Wakarusa. All photos by KEVIN KINDER, NWA Media.
An uncharacteristically cool and rainy day did not stop thousands of fans from cruising the Wakarusa grounds and seeing shows, although it did stop me a bit for fear of getting my camera equipment wet.
However, the mood remained pleasant the entire day, and many found refuge and music under the tents as rain dropped overhead.
We saw several shows on the festival’s second day, and will see some more today (June 2) and Sunday (June 3), as the annual festivals continues through those dates here on Mulberry Mountain, north of Ozark on Arkansas 23. I’ve got plenty to see today, including Jason Isbell, The Lumineers and more.
Read my review of the shows below.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, 8:15 p.m. (published time; didn’t start until closer to 9 p.m.), Main Stage
Edward Sharpe played about 30 seconds of the song “40 Day Dream” before front man Alex Ebert called off the proceedings. Feedback echoed through the speakers, and he made a call for something else. The band launched into a new song, Ebert launched himself into the crowd and the proceedings went in a similar fashion for most of the night.
The band, fresh off the release of a new album, “Here,” performed several new songs but also played plenty from their debut release, “Up From Below.” There are 12 band members, and they sure made a racket.
Ebert leads this collective, and his stopping, starting and racing around gave the show a bit of a herky jerky feel — it never gained traction until the end of the set. But few false starts can get in the way of the massive folk/pop hit “Home,” which the band delivered with fervor. The crowd responded with a wild singalong.
The Avett Brothers, 10:15 p.m., Main Stage
The Avett Brothers were running late to the stage, with Edward Sharpe running past their allotted time. However, no one seemed to mind after The Avetts got rolling with their blend of family harmony and old time string music updated with rock sensibilities. The band moved between their catalog with ease, blending older songs such as “Colorshow” with newer material such as “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” and those in between, such as the stomping love song “Will You Return.”
The Avett Brothers, led by real-life brother duo Seth and Scott Avett, call North Carolina home and have roots in roots music. They played four songs in tribute to the recently departed bluegrass guitar legend Doc Watson.
When the Avetts harmonize, their earnestness and brotherly bonds create a truly transfixing brand of music.
Girl Talk, 1 a.m., Main Stage
Girl Talk’s sets are always wild affairs, and the producer (real name Gregg Gillis) mixes dance-specific soundscapes for highly responsive crowds. He takes hundreds of song bits, layering them over the top of each other until they are sometimes unrecognizable but also providing nuggets of recognition as each new song begins.
To add the the show, confetti is blown toward the crowd from onstage cannons.
I’ve watched Girl Talk three times now in the past year or so, and of the three shows, this was by far the most elaborate affair. The light boards flanked behind him were far superior to those he’s used in the past, although that may be because he had more room to work with on the Wakarusa stage. The crowd was ballistic.
However, I must say that my first Girl Talk show was my favorite. Some of the charm has been lost when you’ve seen the same antics several times in a row, and his only interactions with the crowd are wild (often shirtless) dancing and screaming at the crowd to dance harder. They do, especially if it’s their first time to see him.